Scheherazade Goes West: Different Cultures, Different Harems

Scheherazade Goes West: Different Cultures, Different Harems

by Fatema Mernissi

Fatema Mernissi, the world-renowned Islamic feminist, has shed unprecedented light on the lives of women in the Middle East, in works hailed as "enchanting" (The New York Times Book Review), "exuberant" (Elle), and "remarkable" (The Washington Post Book World).

  • Language: English
  • Category: Nonfiction
  • Rating: 3.83
  • Pages: 240
  • Publish Date: March 1st 2002 by Washington Square Press
  • Isbn10: 0743412435
  • Isbn13: 9780743412438

Read the Book "Scheherazade Goes West: Different Cultures, Different Harems" Online

Fatema begins her book by narrating the story of The Lady with the Feather Dress mentioned in the The Arabian Nights .she tells it from her grandmother's perspective who changed the end, that instead of living happily ever after , that lady left her husband and went back to her island home , as she was deprived from her wings,the main message is that a woman should lead her life ,. She should be ready to move, the tale teaches, that love can engulf and imprison you She is impressed by the wisdom of her grandmother,who has always encouraged her to leave her country,and try to learn from other cultures,she uses her Sufi heritage to help her be patient and open to learn With the knowledge of other cultures we can compare ourselves to others, and came to gain better understanding of ourselves. in Fatema's journey of searching,Jack her friend, was guiding her and advised her to read Kant's books,she was shocked to know that he sees that the knowledge decrease women charm and attractiveness,he thinks that a learned woman "might as well even have a beard. she accompanied Jack on a walking tour of his favorite odalisques, from Ingres to Matisse, she wanted to know why Ingres was portraying them so nude and powerless although they actually dressed like men ,and was very powerful and have a great authority and control over men,and that that place was a scene of many conspiraciesand a dangerous site for struggle....... She also differentiate between different Islamic cultures,saying that Turkish women were having control over their men, and gave examples of famous powerful women in different cultures,like Empress of the Mughal Empire , Nur Jahan who was the best tiger haunter......

Women in Islam, she writes, are controlled spatially--- confined within physical borders (the harem, the veil) established by men. Women in the West are confined by something else, by the ability of men to value them only for beauty.

She returned to work at the Mohammed V University and taught at the Faculté des Lettres between 1974 and 1981 on subjects such as methodology, family sociology and psycho-sociology. In the late 1970s and in the 1980s Mernissi contributed articles to periodicals and other publications on women in Morocco and women and Islam from a contemporary as well as from a historical perspective.