Iranian Women

Topics: Middle East, Ottoman Empire, Iran Pages: 3 (911 words) Published: July 21, 2011
Sofhia Samimi
History 41
Essay #1
Prompt 2
Every American girl has the opportunity and ability to become someone successful in our ever-growing society here in the United States. As they grow older, young ladies have dreams of becoming a doctor, astronaut, or even President racing through their minds. Especially now, girls can vision becoming anything, whether it be a construction worker or CEO of an international corporation; the opportunities are endless. For the most part, women in America are now set at ease with laws that protect their rights from being violated and discriminated against just for being female. However, not every place in the world is as lucky as the women here in the United States. Women of Middle Eastern descent from the ninetieth and twentieth century had it fairly different than their contemporary American counterparts. The lives of two Middle Eastern woman, Shemsigul, a Circassian slave and Bibi Maryam, a Bakhtiyari tribal woman exemplify the differences of growing up in the Middle East. Both women were born of complete opposite statures as well as living through different political and economical change.       Shemsigul was born into a poor Circassian family, which led her family to sell her to slave dealers in hope of obtaining a better life and gain access into the Ottoman elite social structure. Although Shemsigul family’s intentions were favorable, “female slaves in an Ottoman-Egyptian elite harem were restricted in their freedom of movement, association and choice of partners” (Burke, 61).  Shemsigul had no particular stature or known family to which her name was known from, but was better known as a “woman with a healthy sense of her own worth and a remarkable ability to utilize the system to her advantage” (Burke, 49). Even though Shemsigul was a slave and of lower status, she was able to work through the legal system and prevail against her slave dealer who raped and impregnated her.  Bibi Maryam on the other hand was born...
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