Two Sided Veils

by

The divisions between the genders seems to be one of the West’s biggest  criticisms of  Islamic culture. Being a Westerner, I can confess that I often see pictures of Muslim women covering either part of their head or even their entire body. To most of us, this seems like a strict, male-dominated society, however after submerging myself in Islamic culture on this trip I understand that women are not seen as “lower than men” but actually as clever and in some cases, even tricky. One of the articles we read on this trip focused on gender and magic. Women would often practice magic in order to control and manipulate their husbands or lovers which caused men to fear the intelligence and power of women. Also, Mernissi makes the claim in her book, Scheherazade Goes West, that women were looked up to for their intellect more than their physical beauty. Men saw women as an uncontrollable force who could mess with the lives of men. Scheherazade had a balance of physical beauty and intellect, or wasat. With a culture rooted with ideas of a powerful female figure, it is easy to see why there is a division among men and women. It is not about dominance and submissive, but it is about fear of power.

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