Chapter 4 of Veiled Sentiments

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Chapter four of Veiled Sentiments showed why sexual modesty is essential to a women’s honor. The Bedouins are much more enthusiastic with the birth of a boy over a birth of a girl. These people would rejoice for a boy and mourn for a girl. I understand this is their way of life and this is within their culture but if girls were never born, then who would give birth to any boys later on in life? Men are very important to a tribe because its strength measured by its number of men. As a whole, women and men share this preference for the birth of a son, but women are very much so emotionally connected with their daughters and rely on them to help with housework. There are various symbols for both women and men. Women are linked with modesty, dependency, rain, life, etc. Men are linked to honor, strength, and even death. They are linked to death because males are the only ones allowed to slaughter an animal. If a woman finds an animal she wishes to have slaughtered, she must hold it and run to find a man.

Women are also seen as very unclean after they reach menarche. They begin to exaggerate this idea of being unclean by not brushing their hair or showering while menstruating. Women have many restrictions while being “unclean” such as they cannot pray and any fasting doesn’t count during this period and they must make it up after menstruation ends. Women and men cannot even wash their clothes together until postmenopausal when they are not known as being unclean anymore.

The Bedouins have symbolism everywhere including the way men and women dress. Married women are to wear a black veil and a red belt. The red belt symbolizes fertility and the black veil with the shameful act of incest. It is not necessary for women to wear a red belt before menarche, but shameful if not worn after this period of time. The book went into great detail on why the veils are black and it was because of what Muhammad’s mother had done in the story. Muhammad lived...
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