Article Review of Fatema Mernissi's 'Size Six: The Western Women's Harem'
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Size Six: The Western women's harem by Fatema Mernissi
The article "Size six: The Western women's harem" by Fatema Mernissi is a contemplative look at the difference in "harem" experienced by women from cultures highly distinct from each other. Mernissi analyzed the portrayal and subordination of women both in the eyes of a Muslim woman like her, and from the perspective of Western women. Interestingly, the author argued that the subordination and repression of Western women by their own society particularly men are harsher and worse than the general perception of Muslim women as the more repressed and considered subordinate because they wear the veil, among other restrictions implemented to women in Islam.
In establishing this thesis, Mernissi begins her comparison by narrating a personal experience about not being able to find a skirt that fits her size. She voiced her surprise in finding out that in the typical American department store, the "norm" is a size six, and any size beyond this can be found in "special stores." Two salient things were revealed to Mernissi during this encounter: (i) she did not fit the norm or the Western standard when it comes to women's size, and (ii) in Western society, it is important to know one's size, and how a woman's size compares to the "norm."
At first insulted and bewildered about these discoveries just because she is in search for a skirt her size, Mernissi eventually felt amused when she realized that she had just experienced a