Nine Parts of Desire Essay
There are many political, religious, and cultural factors that shape the lives of Islamic women many of them are completely different than factors in the lives of American women. Islam is one of the world’s fastest growing religions; however, Brooks argues that “Islam’s holiest texts have been misused to justify the repression of women, and how male pride and power have warped the original message of this once liberating faith. ” The book also shows these factors have slowly been taking away women’s rights, rather than furthering them.
The specific topic of this book is the oppression of women. Its overall purpose is to understand the women behind the veils and why the Muslim women take up the hijab. The purpose is also to show how political, religious, and cultural factors shape the women’s lives. It is written for the average westerner because they have been exposed to more negative and one-sided views about the religion, however they are clueless about what really goes on in the religion of Islam, which concludes that there are many stereotypes and judgments on the subject.
Brooks is probably used to this because she was raised in Australia as a Jew. Knowing about the Jewish background and how they were discriminated against could have been an important factor in the writing of Nine Parts of Desire: The Hidden World of Islamic Women. It also contributes to the concept of gender identification. This book suggests that Islam is a patriarchal religion where the women have no status and the men rule over all.
For example; a married woman cannot divorce her husband only under the circumstance of Talaq, which is divorce by repudiation.The husband has to repeat the words “I divorce you” three times, and then they can carry out the divorce, and that still gives the husband all of the power. The Koran states that women lower their gaze and be modest, display their adornment to only that which is apparent, and cover their bosoms. Nine Parts of Desire presents many types of material and sources.
With the most being primary sources and biographical or historical accounts, Brooks digs deeper into the way the male figures misuse the holy texts and goes into more detail about how Islamic women are losing their rights.The major primary source she uses is the Koran that was transmitted by God through the prophet Muhammad. Brooks also uses the story of Khomeini and the story of the queen as biographical and historical accounts. An important biographical account is the one about Faezeh Hashemi and what she did for the women’s Olympics and sporting events. Brooks uses the sources to bring the thesis together and to help get her point across about the oppression of Islamic women and the pride and power of their male figures.
An Islamic law states that women are not to commit adultery, but their husband can have more than one wife. When Brooks learned the story of Rehab and Mohamed and how Mohamed left Rehab for Fatima, it really opened her eyes on how different the treatment of married women of the Islamic world. She also learned how a woman was confined to the house unless escorted by a male figure, but a man could go about what he does every day. As Brooks was trying to check into the hotel, the clerk said she couldn’t because she was not with a male figure and so she was kicked out of the hotel.Brooks’ tone was different at many points in the book.
When she found out that she saw how the women had to be covered up all of the time, I could sense a little rage in her voice. When she was listening to the story of Rehab and Mohamed she had a certain calmness in her tone. Female genital mutilation (FGM) to reduce sexual desire is another difference that Brooks frequently mentions. The practice of FGM is a sub-Saharan African custom that predates Islam and by no means has anything to do with Islam.
It is a cultural practice in some primitive communities, which is gradually diminishing, thanks to the efforts of Muslims in educating the people and applying Islamic law rather than clinging to cultural practices with no foundation in Islam. Something like this would never and has never been a practice in Western societies and the fact that Muslims are doing something to end this practice shows that not all Islamic women are subjected to this. There are many alternative ways of arguing from the same material. I think that Brooks showed great awareness for them and that is why she got her point across clearly.This is because she saw the opposite side and used her sources to still back up her thesis and the way she felt about the subject. She agrees or disagrees in a respect of asking more questions or finding out more about the situation.
She just doesn’t lash out at the people in an arrogant fashion. She stays in her place and I believe that is another reason why her sources backed up her thesis and how she got her point across clearly. However I think Brooks left out the more realistic view of the Westerners. She just went there and adapted to their way of life by wearing the veil and not stepping out of her lace as a woman, except on certain occasions. Many people are not like that, I think the average westerner would have probably lashed out at the fact that she could not check into a hotel because she was a woman.
Even though the details of the Saudis not allowing a women traveling alone to have a hotel room sound harsh, yet Brooks neglects to explain how she got as far as that hotel lobby — traveling with a male family member is a requirement of Saudi law and necessary to prove even to get a visa to enter the country.Many people would have asserted their independence and stood up for what they thought was right. I don’t think she expressed herself as a person of a different religion. Other religious people that are not of Islam would have probably came and tried to bring new customs to the religion or reason with them.
She just accepted the way she was being treated but again, she was a journalist wanting to learn more about the religion, so she needed to fit in as much as possible.But I do feel that Brooks appears to set out on a self-designated mission to advocate the rights of the supposedly oppressed. For the author, that’s why some are allegedly oppressed and secluded. The Islamic code of attire doesn’t keep women from education or entering the work force.
If Brooks is indeed on women’s side, she should rejoice in the fact that Muslim women enjoy such freedom. Not all the Islamic countries that were mentioned in the book had the same status for the women citizens.In many of the countries women are allowed to go to school, work, serve in the military, and hold public positions I feel that this work was well done. Brooks went in there and found out what she needed to know about the religion She went in as a journalist, who’s descriptions of things Islamic are filled with inflammatory adjectives and terms carefully chosen to elicit a negative response in the reader, and came out as a person who was welcoming to the religion, didn’t cause a bunch of chaos, and now is sharing her knowledge with other people who are clueless about what goes on in Islam.
In conclusion, this work was well written and it gave me a lot of insight on the hidden world of Islamic women. I think that it was a very entertaining yet valid account of the way of the lives of Islamic women. In the long-run I believe that this book will change the way a lot of westerners think about the religion and it could change the way the oppression of women in Islam is brought about from now on.