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Critical Review of Princess

Essay by review  •  January 10, 2011  •  Research Paper  •  1,274 Words (6 Pages)  •  1,482 Views

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In her book Princess, Jean Sasson conveys through the Princess Sultana's story of the many abuses of women in Saudi Arabia. For thousands of years, women in Saudi Arabia has earned no respect, given no identity (as if invisible), and were treated like sexual objects. Their only use is to produce male offspring, and to service their husbands sexually. This goes for all women. Although women of royalty are born free, they are just as insignificant as the lower class women. Through the eyes of Princess Sultana, Jean Sasson tells the cruel and unjust ways of the male society in Saudi Arabia.

Women in Saudi Arabia are given no identity, starting with their births and ending with their death. Both accounts are neither recorded nor written down. "Neither our births nor our deaths are made official in any public record. Although births of male children are documented in family or tribal records, none are maintained anywhere for females (pg.23)". Along with no recognition of two of the most important events in life, they are forced to cover their beautiful faces with cloth called veils and abacas, once their menstrual cycle begins. "Of course, at the time of each females menses and subsequent veiling, the cutoff from any males other than father and brothers was sudden and complete (pg.30)." Veils were also away of depriving Saudi women of the many beauties of life and nature. Once veiled, life became dark and some what gloomy. "The air tasted stale and dry as it filtered through the thin gauzy cloth. The sky was no longer blue, the glow of the sun had dimmed; my heart plunged to my stomach when I realized that from that moment outside my own home I would not experience life as it really is in all it's color. The world suddenly seemed a dull place (pg.95)". Unfortunately, Saudi men have changed the words of the great Prophet Mohammed to only cause women grief and despair.

Apart from being invisible to the world, Saudi men want them to be pure and untouched. In other words, they want young virgins. Once a girl has her menses, she is then put on the market to become a bride. Once wed, they immediately become their husbands sex slaves. If it is found that they are not virgins, they will be punished or put to death. "They could not risk losing

their virginity, for they realized the consequences they would face on their wedding night. Their husbands would return them to their homes and their fathers would turn them away as well. The mutawas would investigate. They might loose their lives (pg.99)". Once married, they had to endure their husbands every sexual desires. Some brides enjoyed sex, while others despised it so much that they kept their eyes closed. Then there were others who had to deal with their husbands cruel and unusual sexual brutalities. But they all had to pretend to enjoy their husbands sexual advances to keep them from marrying another wife. However, they all looked forward towards their monthly menses. The Koran strictly forbids sexual relations during a woman's menstrual cycle. It states, "They ask, concerning a women's courses, Respond: They are a hurt and a pollution, keep away from women in their courses, and do not approach them until they are clean. But when they have purified themselves, you may approach them in any manner, time, or place ordained for you, by God (pg. 256)". Women also look forward to the month of Ramadan, where every Muslim fasts and abstains from pleasures (such as sex) during the daylight hours. Although it is sad, women in Saudi Arabia are only seen as sexual objects who to endure men's unusual sexual desires, whether they like it or not.

Women of royalty are treated just as insignificant as lower class women. "I was born free, yet today I aim in chains. Invisible, they were loosely draped and passed unnoticed until the age of understanding reduced my life to a narrow segment of fear (pg.17)". Once they have their first menstrual cycle, they have to go through female circumcisions, which has been considered a ritual for thousands of years. The purpose is to cause unbearable pain and blood loss during their first night with their husbands to confirm their virginities. "One woman beat a drum, other women chanted. The oldest women gathered around the frightened child. The oldest of the women raised her hand in the air; with horror Nura saw that she had a razor- like instrument in her hand. She felt a sharp pain in her genital region (pg. 136)". Women of royalty are also expected to bare a male child for their first pregnancy. If a male child is born, the physician and his team will earn three months salary, jewels, and automobiles. However, if



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