Women in the middle east

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Women in Middle East- Exam Answers- 2 &4

2. "Despite the obstacles that classic patriarchy puts in women's way, women often resist the process of transition because they see the old normative order slipping away from them, leaving them without any empowering alternatives."

Explain why women in the ME are often the most insisting guardians of tradition. Provide examples from Middle Easternwomen's lives.

Despite the obstacles that classical patriarchs put in women's way, women often resist the process of transition because they see the old normative order slipping away from them leaving them without any empowering alternatives.

Patriarchy was as first defined by the radical feminists is the concept that all the structures and institutions of society were created by man inorder to benefit man. In addition, radical feminists say that in order to achieve equality, all the institutions and norms must be uprooted because they were built with patriarch (male dominated) values.

Classical patriarchy in Middle Eastern societies is demonstrated by the male dominated society that exists there. The job of the women is to produce (male) children and to protect the family'shonor by being faithful and modest and by transmitting the tradition to her children. In these societies, when a women gets married, she moves into the home of her new husband "as effectively disposed individual", who can establish their place in the patriliny only by producing male offspring". In her new home, she is controlled not only by her husband and the other men in the house, but also by hisparents, especially by her mother in law. In these societies, the women's key to power is via her sons, therefore mothers will grow at great length to cultivate and keep the relationships with their sons going. Many times, they would interfere with the marriages and even try to limit the romance between the couple, to make sure that they secured the loyalty and alliance with their sons. The way theyoung woman start to gain power and authority is by motherhood and having her own sons. As her sons get older and get married, she begins to assume power and control over their wives and the process continues.

More on classic patriarchy:

• Under classic patriarchy, women frequently have no claim on their father's patrimony (inheritance of the father), whether the prevalent marriagepayment is bridge price or dowry.

• The class or caste impact on classic patriarchy produces additional complexities. Among the wealthier strata, the withdrawal of women from nondomestic work is frequently a mark of status, as is veiling.

Following the 20th century, with urbanization and modernization and the resulting in diminished prestige of the man (who's power many times was based onhis possession of land and animals), the men and the mother-in law began to lose their authority. Deniz Kandiyoti, when discussing patriarchal bargaining, (which discusses how women tried to make the best out of the patriarchal society), says how many women have chosen to hold on to the patriarchal system. Several reasons for this were because:

• Many women who were dominated for most oftheir lives, wanted to get the chance to have respect and command authority, and if the system were t change then they will never get that chance. In addition, the women also gained respect when they reached an older age and can no longer have children because the men no longer has fear that she will produce "bastard" children.

• They saw no viable alternatives in their male dominated society,and this patriarchal system seems for them to be the only way for them to be able to get respect and have authority.

Other factors that have limited liberal influence in the region were: the cultural gap between the "westernized" feminist elite and the commoners of Middle Eastern Society, which led them to distrust their views, thinking of them as mere instruments of the west, the growth of...
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