Divide And Rule


The second step in patriarchy or androcentrism’s historical development is to divide and rule. (110-116) From harems and veiling to dorms and kitchens, women have been separated as well as commodified. ‘Why, we wonder, was such a division deemed necessary?’ Flinders (author of At The Root Of This Longing) wonders. She cites Moroccan sociologist Fatima Mernisi, who explains that in Arab cultures, to avoid disorder or chaos, ‘a man keeps his woman indoors, or veiled, not merely to protect her, but to protect the other men in his community from the threats her beauty might pose to their self-control.’ (116) However, that logic of divide and rule exists, if not legally, at least in practice, in all modern cultures.

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