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Male Domination in Samarkand

In 11th century Samarkand, powerful male figureheads controlled regions. Politically, these strong male leaders controlled all aspects of daily living within the region of their domination and molded society to ways that they saw fit. Culturally, women were unable to show their faces and were forced to cover with their faces with veils and cover the rest of their bodies with long dresses so as not to show themselves to any men. Generally in this region, the suppression of women and allowing them to think and act on their own free will has been part of Samarkand culture for generations. Samarkand by Amin Maalouf accurately shows how during this time, women such as Jahan, Shireen and even the
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Males in the orient also dominate Shireen; even though she exists in the 19th century the orient is still extremely suppressive of women’s thoughts and ideas and still embraces the sense that women are lesser than men. Shireen is the image of the orient and represents the culture and people who occupy it. Upon studying the orient, Ben meets Shireen and begins to study her and her people. Shireen is used as an inside source to the orient for been. Shireen experiences male domination indirectly. Shireen’s grandfather held the position of Shah in Samarkand. When he was assassinated, Shireen was forced to flee Samarkand to Ben and start a new life. This shows that because men wanted her grandfather dead to obtain power and rule of Samarkand, Shireen was forced to leave her homeland against her will because she was female and unable to regain power after the assassination. Another underlying factor in the domination of women is the religion which is practiced in Samarkand; Islam. We have seen how the political structure and cultural pressures allow women no mobility in class and confine them to a life of service. The religion of Islam in itself stresses the suppression of women’s rights. For example, women must always be covered, never to show any flesh to another man outside her marriage. Some sects of Islam also participate in widow burnings, or the act


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