Size Six: The Western Women’s Harem By Fatema Mernissi

1011 words - 4 pages

A lady is an object, one which men attempt to dominate. A man craves to get a hold of this being beneath his command, and forever have her at his disposal. In her piece “Size Six: The Western Women’s Harem,” published in 2002, Fatema Mernissi illustrates how Eastern and Western women are subjugated by the control of men. Mernissi argues that though she may have derived from a society where a woman has to cover her face, a Western woman has to face daily atrocities far worse then ones an Eastern woman will encounter. Moreover, Mernissi’s core dogma in “Size 6: The Western Women's Harem” is that Western women are not more fortunate than women raised into harems in other societies. Additionally, she asserts that though women in the Western world are given liberties, they coincide with the unattainable ideals of what is aesthetically pleasing. Furthermore, to strengthen her argument towards her wavering audience, Mernissi’s main approach in her paper is to get the reader to relate with her issue by means of an emotional appeal, while also utilizing both the ethical and logical appeal to support her thesis.
Mernissi applies the ethical appeal throughout her paper so she may appear credible and trustworthy to the reader. By doing so, she creates a “common ground” where it’s easier for her audience to identify with her problem. For example, Mernissi avows “it was the self-reliance that I had developed to protect myself against “beauty blackmail” that made me attractive to others” (Mernissi 253). By stating this, Mernissi crafts her sincerity by illuminating how she was unpretentious of her blemishes. Moreover, this diverges with the reference of her disbelief when she was told that she is too broad for American proportions. Furthermore, Mernissi continues to establish her credibility by way of mentioning how Western society (more specifically men) applies Immanuel Kant’s nineteenth-century philosophies. “To be beautiful, women have to appear childish and brainless. When a woman looks mature and self-assertive, or allows her hips to expand, she is condemned as ugly” (255). By utilizing the teachings of a well-known philosopher such as Kant, and relating them to Western men, Mernissi not only supports her core notion but also makes herself seem more knowledgeable about the subject of which is speaking of. Additionally, this plays into her credibility, by informing her wavering audience that Mernissi is both adept and reliable when concerning her topic.
Mernissi makes use of the logical appeal to draw deductions from evidence and/or good judgment. She starts by revealing the fact of how women are shown how they are meant to look from youth, thus forming an ideal image of beauty within one’s head. “The Western man uses images and spotlights to freeze female beauty within an idealized childhood, and forces women to perceive aging—that normal unfolding of years—as a shameful devaluation” (255). Moreover, the author supports her thesis by enlightening how an...

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