1001 Nights: Gender Roles From Ancient To Present Time Character Analysis Essay Sample For College

Gender Roles From Ancient to Present Times

There is a natural relationship between men and women. They have their individual roles and position in the society. These roles and positions of men and women are not written in verbatim in any book of law. Instead they are manifested in the culture of the society with various external factors that can be influenced by society’s religion, political, geographical and others. These societal roles are passed on from generation to generation and reflected through literary works. The works of the writers collected from various stories are replica of the actual scenes that happen in the society. The men and women from the past are understood by the books written.

Throughout time, gender positions and roles have been changing. These changes can be seen through various works throughout history. One of the most famous literary works in the history is the “One Thousand and One Nights”. This is a vivid example that shows how men and women act in the ancient times. The roles of men and women are depicted in the various stories embedded in the book. There are also changes in their positions and how they treat each other. This book can be considered as one package to understand the Middle East kind of life, their religion which is Islam, and as well as the roles and positions of men and women.

One Thousand and One Nights

“One Thousand and One Nights”, Alf Layla wa Layla (in Arabic text) or Arabian Nights (in popular English) is a story with many stories. It is unusually lengthy, narrative in form, and with no definite version. It is hard to trace the origin of the stories. However, stories point out that events occurred in Middle East countries including Persia, India, Egypt, Syria, Iraq and other Arab nations. These stories are said to be passed down from generation to generation. Though the stories vary, but the common feature that relates them is the interactions relating to religion and trade that happened in Islamic medieval world (Samatar). The book has many versions. One thing common in all these versions is the story of Shahrazad, a smart and witty woman who married King Shahryar, a blood thirsty king who vowed himself to marry a virgin each night then kill her the next morning. Shahrazad outsmarts the king by telling him different stories with cliff hanging endings to make the king thrilled to hear the next part of the story.

Thus, she is spared for another day. This goes on for one thousand and one nights. Her stories commenced morals that gradually changed the perspective of the king to lay vengeance to the female population. The fruits of their nights together bore them three kids, which heightened the decision of the king not to kill the mother of his children. Instead, they became a family filled with harmony and love. The change that occurred to king Shahryar also influenced King Shazaman, his brother. They both share the same unfortunate stories with their first wives who were unfaithful to them. Their vow to avenge against infidelity of women dissolved through time due to the efforts of Shahrazad with the help of her younger sister Dunzayad (Fassler, J).

Men in the Ancient Times

Events in the past can be reviewed and understood through the literary works. One Thousand and One Nights are composed of stories which reflect how the men act, feel, and think in the ancient times. Through the stories, the roles, duties, and positions of men in different classes are also exemplified. Historically, men rule out politically and religiously. Sultans and Kings are the topmost position that the leaders hold. In One Thousand and One Nights, King Shahryar and King Shazamad hold the top position in their respective lands. Roles of men can be seen in what the King is doing daily. The lines “…then he went out and attend to the affairs of his kingdom…”(Mathers) has been repeatedly written to signify that men keeps the role in the upkeep of their kingdoms. They are the ones who do the trading and others to make sure business is on going. For lower men in position, they are in charge in the upkeep of their homes. In the ancient times, it is the men who do the hard work and labor to bring bread to the tables of their families. This can be seen in various stories in the book where merchants have to leave their homes to do business. Men in the past are generally dominant. As they are the bread winner, they are used to having the other members of the house especially their wives to succumb to their wishes. The kings give their orders and the rest of the kingdom shall obey. Men in their household dominate as well. This can be seen in the story “The Tale of the Merchant and His Wife”, where the husband castigated his wife for forcing him to reveal his secret that he can understand the language of animals.

Disclosing this secret can result to his death. After he beat his wife, the wife relented saying “No, no, I don’t want to know anything” (Mathers, 451). Husbands dealt with their wives to show that they can manage their homes. In the ancient times, men uses women in sexual advantage. They consider women as possessions that must not be shared with other men. They demand fidelity, loyalty and faithfulness from their women. This evident in the story where the two brother kings met the demon carrying a large glass chest with four locks. Inside the chest is his woman, who was able to have sex encounters with 100 men while the demon is sleeping. Also, the two king’s unfortunate experiences with their wives shows how they hate women that are unfaithful. After they witnessed their infidelity, they vowed to avenge against what happened to them. They vowed to marry virgin each night and have her killed the following day. Through this, they can be protected against cunning and deceitful women for they thought that “there is not a single chaste woman on this earth” (Mathers). Women in the Ancient Times

In the Islamic Medieval world, the role of women is inferior with that of man. They are supposed to be submissive and adhere to the wishes of their husbands – as their masters. Generally, the stories of in the book comprised of women struggling in the world of the men, where the women are the oppressed while the men are the oppressors. The main story of Shahrazad and the rest of the women that are put to death daily due to the angst of the king is one of the primary examples of this situation. In the Islamic world, indeed the position held by women in the society is that under the authority of men. Most of the stories show women as weak, with no authority and that they serve only as sex gadgets by men. Some women are beaten by their husbands while some are replaced by mistresses when they no longer suffice or satisfy their men. This inequality in the gender consideration made women feel oppressed. However, not all women succumbed to this kind of perspective. In fact, women from the past find ways to gain favor of the men or even outwit them. Shahrazad is considered as the hero in this story. She, belonging to the weaker gender, faced the most powerful men to stop him from annihilating their population.

Gender Roles in Comparison from the Ancient to the Present Times Gender role is one of the most controversial topics especially with the differences from the Middle East and the Western world (Billington). Due to the influences of the Western world, women stood up to their rights and fought these rights to keep them leveled with the rest of the world. The stories in the One Thousand and One Nights” happened in the Middle East where their women are considered weak, culturally backward, untrustworthy, biologically inferior , submissive, and can easily be silenced by religious extremists, dominant leaders, as well as oppressive government (Samatar). It can be deduced that the roles of men and women are greatly influenced by the their religion and political circumstances. The Middle East world is defined with their Islamic culture and upbringing. Thus, their culture dictates women to abide what Allah expects of them. On the other hand, the western world exercise democracy. This equality regardless of gender has made men and women have the same position in the society. The presence of both genders matters and their voices are heard. They are both significant in their society.

There are also laws and policies that go against oppression. The rights of the men are equal with that of women. What is granted for the men are also granted for women. Equality of men and women has been practiced by many countries nowadays. This practice has started to influence the Middle East and Islamic countries. One Thousand and One Nights is a reflection of the society of the Middle East in the 18th century. The men and women gender roles are being dictated primarily by Islam. Women are considered inferior from men. The story of Shahrzad is a depiction of women that silently wanted to gain significance in the society. Her wit had made her outsmart the king and her fate to be killed everyday of her life spent with the king. Her cunning ability to tell stories and to weave them magnificently to make them connected has greatly made the king enthralled. Her stories are mirrors of her predicaments. The characters in the stories are pleading for their lives in one way or another. She camouflaged her plea for her life through the stories. She subtly dictates the king to stop his brutality and be human again. She gradually brainwashed the king to be merciful and forgiving. Her efforts are fruitful. Because of her, the king stopped being a tyrant and turned into a wise and kind king (Fassler). The change in character of the king can represent the side of the whole male population. This shows that change is possible. A tyrant king can be ruthless, but can still be bended.

This can mean that although the Middle East world have their women inferior from men, but with gradual factors such as Western influence, education, global connection and others, change is a possibility. One day, the world can have equal rights regardless of gender, religion, geographical location and socio-political situation. Then the world would be a better place to live.

Works Cited

Billington,M. “One Thousand and One Nights Review”. The Guardian.. 22 Aug 2011. Web. Fassler, Joe. “The Humanist Message Hidden Amid the Violence of One Thousand and One Nights”. The Atlantic. 25 Jun 2013. Web.

Mathers, Powys. “The Book of One Thousand and One Nights”. Print. Samatar, Sofia. “Teaching The Arabian Nights In Wisconsin: a Resource Guide for Educators”. Center for Humanities University of Wisconsin-Madison. N.d. Web. 23 October 2013.

Movie Review Outsourced

Introduction

Cultural difference is an aspect of cultural dimensions. Cultural dimension can be looked at as structures of organization within a particular group of people. The structures constitute the framework for each individual in the group. Cultures can sometimes be very broad and can be looked at in terms of national identity: the Australians, the Indian, the Americans and so on. They can also be specific to the common interests that are shared by different participants in it. This is clearly seen in the case of a corporate culture, ethnic minority culture, and urban culture.

Culture and cultural dimensions can therefore be considered as the collective horizon used to represent a specific societal reality. They thus consist of consists of explicit and implicit patterns of behaviors acquired and transmitted by symbols. However, the essential core of culture consists of traditional ideas and their attached values.

According to Geert Hofstede, there are five primary cultural dimensions. these are: power distance, individualism versus collectivism, masculinity versus feminity, uncertainty avoidance and long term versus short term orientation.

Analysis of the cross-cultural differences in the movie and documentary using theories of cultural dimensions.

In an abstract, the movie Outsourced is about the effect of cultural differences on work, love and friendship, and the impacts of global economy on national and personal identity. The story revolves around a young man, Todd Anderson, who is the vice president of customer relations of a Seattle phone-order company. Part of Todd’s job is to keep his operators’ order-taking time down to as low as possible. However despite the fact that he is good at this task, the company outsource Todd’s entire department to a place India where customer calls can be fielded more cheaply. Todd is then sent to India to train his own replacement, this he does oblivious of the fact that he is training his replacement. He is however accosted by a sharp cultural shock and he has an allergic reaction (personified by the intestinal pain he suffers) towards the local food. He however realizes that the only way to live normally is to accept the Indian culture. This he does after meeting a fellow American, Larry Pine, in a local knockoff, McDonald, who tells him: “I was resisting India. Once I gave in, I did much better.” Meanwhile his job of improving his employees’ minutes-per-call rating starts to bore him and leaves him frustrated. He wonders at the way things work in the small town in Bombay when he sees wandering cows, too many family photos in cubicles, errant electricity, unfamiliar toilets, and being a cynic, he can’t believe that his best employee Asha has a crush on him. She helps him undo some of his assumptions about Indian culture.

Outsourced the documentary is a comparison between two call centers – Gecis in India and SalesForce in Australia. while SalesForce is strictly an outbound telemarketing company; Gecis is a customer inquiry call centre that provides all computer related jobs like legal document preparation, transcription, accounting, payroll. The documentary revolves around four women who work for GECIS, India’s largest Business Process Outsourcing Company, which has over 13,000 employees. The documentary profiles these young women in their demanding job that requires long hours, late-night shifts, and Westernized work habits and reveals the personal and cultural impact of this sweeping global trend of outsourcing. Through the stories of the four GECIS employees, Outsourcing reveals the evolving landscape of Indian cities and towns, the change in the Indian economy, and other changes in the lives of young Indians entering the new globalized work force. Pramod Bhasin, President and CEO of GECIS who is also a pioneer of the outsourcing industry in India remarks that “What I love about it is I think its given India confidence. Confidence is a huge thing,”

In the two instances portraying cultural dimensions in Australia, India and the USA, we find elements of cultural differences like power distance which can be looked at as the degree of inequality among people which is considered as normal by the normal population. This is seen in the movie by the fact that in Seattle Todd assumes a different dominance structure from the one he cuts out India. The inequalities in terms of income and levels of dependence vary from place to place. In the documentary, the lives of workers in SalesForce (in Australia) are different from the lives of those working in GECIS (in India).

There is also individualism versus collectivism difference in the cultures of the countries in both the movie and the documentary. While in Seattle, Todd (in the movie) lives a solitary life away from his parents and other relatives he is shocked by the closeness in family ties of his Indian workers when he sees the many photos of family members in cubicles and is also invited by Puro who seems to be about ‘ 40-ish’ but still lives with his parents he is surprised.

Masculinity versus femininity is also seen as a difference in the cultures. This difference in culture can be described as the extent to which a culture is conducive to dominance, acquisition of things and assertiveness. While one culture may more conducive to people, quality of life and the societal feelings another can be completely the opposite. In the documentary, the four ladies who work for GECIS go through what may be viewed as rough life with the tight schedule, late hours of work and long hours and so on is masculine in nature as compared to the workers in the Australian company of SalesForce.

Uncertainty avoidance, the degree to which people in a country prefer structured over unstructured situations,  as a cultural difference described by Hofstede is potrayed in the movie by the way Todd handles situations when he realizes that Asha has a crush on him and so on. .

How do these cultural differences affect the way business is conducted in the three countries?

Business practices being extensions of cultures, they vary from one country to country. They therefore can influences, and are instrumental in determination of policies, structure and style adopted.

The Indian culture can be described as polychromic. In this culture which is human relationship oriented, many things are done at the same time. Other characteristics of this culture include: need for little information and assumption that there is an infinite amount of knowledge through relations networks. Through the movie it can also be seen that members of this culture have respect for authority as well as displaying hierarchical organizational structure. This cultural difference has made India one of the most sought after outsourcing country in the world.

The American culture can be described as monochromic; this is due to the fact that things are basically done in sequential order, one after the other. Other characteristics of the American culture as depicted from the movie are that: work is taken seriously and a lot of information is needed to accomplish a task (this is because of the assumption that the inquirer knows nothing) this is a characteristic low power distance orientation of workers who will need continual guidance. This has led to more and more businesses in the US outsourcing from other countries where workers have high power distance: do not need constant monitoring.

Australians basically display a tendency towards monochromatic cultural trend. In fact according to a survey based on Hofstede analysis, Australia reflects a high level of individuality. The Individualism (IDV) index for Australia is estimated to be 90, the second highest score behind the United States’ ranking of 91. And it is often said that Australians live to work whereas, Indians work to live. These differences, though not exhaustive, make Australians loose a lot of jobs to overseas outsourcing.

Discuss the motivational and leadership differences between Todd, his American boss, and the Indian employees in the movie

Todd’s American boss employs limited supervision type of leadership. He allows Todd to manage the customer relations department at his own discretion. He can be said team motivated or partly self motivated. Todd on the on the other hand is displays a high level of supervision. His command and control of the Indian employee is motivated by fear of failure and can be said to be authority motivated. The Indian employees employ mixed styles of leadership with motivation type being goal motivated, recognition motivated and reward oriented. They perform well based on opportunity, social status and materialism.

Compare those differences to the motivational and leadership styles shown in the documentary.

Generally the leadership style in the documentary is that involving limited supervision, the four ladies are worker with decision making responsibility with their motivation being based on creativity. Their working long hours on tight night shifts is a proof of this.

References.

Holt, DH 1997, Management principles and practices, Prentice-Hall, Sydney.

Hofstede, GH 1984, Culture’s Consequences: International Differences in Work-related Values, SAGE, Carolina.

Scarborough J. 2000, The Origins of Cultural Differences and Their Impact on Management, Greenwood Publishing Group, Sydney.

Harris, PR & Moran, RT 1979, Managing Cultural Differences, Gulf Pub. Co. India.

 

Thunderheart: Movie Review

The movie is a great turnaround from a murder investigation to a tale conspiracy at the corridors of power, laced with blackmail. A corruption that is but fathomable due to its high level of organization. It was not easy to break because it involved the a government agency. Those that were charged with the security of the land became the worst law breakers. They were involved in a series of gruesome murders of innocent citizens who were dutifully fighting for the ownership of their land. Their rights have been trampled upon due to discrimination against them.

At the reservation lived two ethnic tribes that were intimately connected to the history of the United States. They were the native Indians and the Sioux. The movie was actually shot to depict real events happening in the country in the 1970’s when there were a series of unsolved murders and the government repeatedly turned a blind eye to the high-level corruption and naked violence that pervaded the reservation area. As a result of the injustice meted on the people, a civil right movement emerged to champion the cause of the people. It was in form of a militia. As the violence continued, the militia was accused of involvement in the murders by the FBI.

In consequence, a duo of FBI agents were sent to the reservation to conduct an investigation to the murders. The prime suspect was the militia leader. Ray Levoi and Frank Cutt were sent to the reservation to investigate the murder. Ray was chosen because of his connection to the people. He was a Sioux. The FBI was of the opinion that sending one of the natives to the area could douse the tension. Unknown to Ray, he was just a pawn in a larger chess game of power play between the people and the government. He soon found out, however, but with dire consequences – his life was in danger.

Roy is an acutured Sioux himself. He is embarrased by the way of life of his people because he does not understand them. However, he was soon shown a lot of things by the people whom he had loathed all his life. His understanding of their way of life grew tremendously and he began to see things their way. He was reconciled with his people. Along the line, another plot was unfolding in the investigation. The murder investigation he was assigned to had turned out to be just a smokescreen of a larger game of deceit. The FBI is involved in shady deals to exploit uranium in the land on the reservation. His initial resistance to his assignment to the murder case is confirmed with his discovery of the real reason for the series of murders.

Fred Ward play the role of Jack Milton. Jack was secretly trying to persuade the Indi ans to sell their land to him. He was secretly prospecting for the radioactive element – Uranium. He believed that there were large deposits of the element on their land and he was ready to get hold of them.  While Jack was still of the opinion that the Indians did not know his motive for his acquisition of the land, the Indians actually got wind of his secret plan to drill for Uranium on their land. Jack later got to know that his purported secret plan was actually in the open, that Levoi, and the other Indians knew about his plans. This led to his resolve to kill Levoi. The Indians came to his rescue and prevented Jack from executing his proposed plan of killing Levoi. Thus the real culprit was caught in the act.

References

  1. http://www.ahafilm.info/movies/moviereviews.phtml?fid=6693

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