illustration of two women standing in burkas with two overlapping circles between them and the title A Thousand Splendid Suns written above them

A Thousand Splendid Suns

by Khaled Hosseini
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What kind of feminism is applicable to A Thousand Splendid Suns? 

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I think that cultural feminism can be applicable to Hosseini's A Thousand Splendid Suns.

In cultural feminism, there is a stress on the differences between men and women.  This brand of feminism does not seek to make women like men.  It seeks to validate how both genders are distinct...

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I think that cultural feminism can be applicable to Hosseini's A Thousand Splendid Suns.

In cultural feminism, there is a stress on the differences between men and women.  This brand of feminism does not seek to make women like men.  It seeks to validate how both genders are distinct from one another.  In A Thousand Splendid Suns, Mariam learns this quickly when she is told that, "A man's heart is a wretched, wretched thing, Mariam. It isn't like a mother's womb. It won't bleed, it won't stretch to make room for you."  The emphasis on how a "mother's womb" makes women different from men is a part of the cultural feminism that defines Mariam's approach to the world.

As a result of the emphasis on differences between men and women, cultural feminism argues that women must develop their own social place.  It affirms the need to create spaces apart from the domains that men have established. The world that the Taliban in Afghanistan has created for women is vastly different than what men experience.  This can be seen in the way that Rasheed views his place and the place of women in Taliban society. When Mariam befriends Laila and when the two women establish a sisterhood, it is a striking example of cultural feminism.  The fact that Mariam willingly sacrifices herself for Mariam shows a culturally feminist response to male- dominated rule.

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