How are women protrayed in regards to sexuality and marriage in The Arabian Nights?

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literaturenerd | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

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The treatment of women in The Arabian Nights is depicted as horrifying and oppressive. One could assume that women were hated given the misogyny which appears in the text.

When a married women fails to stay true to her husband, she is subjected to both violent beatings and death. It seems that sex is used to denote both power and failings within the patriarchal society depicted within the text.

While men are allowed to have multiple sexual encounters with women other than their wives, the wives must remain loyal. This hypocritical life is meant to both show the power of men and the oppression of women. Sex for women must be only with their husbands, this includes any sexual acts at all (one woman is beaten by her husband for allowing a man to simply kiss her).


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