The Stereotypes Of Orientalism

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The Western’s stereotype of the Arab Muslim woman has led to deleterious effects as it widens the gap between the Western and the Eastern worlds, and creates sensitivity and hostility between them. The real Arab Muslim woman, like any other woman in the world, has her own cultural and religious identity, which is undoubtedly different from that of the Western woman. However, these differences should be respected and not misrepresented or considered negatively. On the other hand, as the West stereotypes the Orient and its women in its literary works, the East, led by Edward said, stereotypes the Oriental literature, and perceives it only under the light of imperialism. Although these stereotypes can be true, as some Arab Muslim women in certain…show more content…
He defines Orientalism as, “a style of thought based upon an ontological and epistemological distinction made between 'the Orient' and 'the Occident'……. It is a distribution of geopolitical awareness into aesthetic, scholarly, economic, sociological, historical, and philological texts." (Said. 1995. P2-12). He explains that the relationship between the East and the West is based on, and reflects the colonial political view. According to him Orientalism is “a sign of European-Atlantic power over the Orient than it is as a veridical discourse about the Orient.” His theory of Orientalism might be right, but it cannot be generalized, as not every Oriental work denotes a support to imperialism or hatred to the Orient. One of those orientalists, who could not escape Said’s criticism, is William Beckford. Said emphasizes that the Western writers look at the Orient as mere images, –which they create –rather than a real entity. In his book Orientalism, he…show more content…
actual social and geographical existence of the Orient”(ottman). He accuses Beckford to be one of those who present “the imaginary European perception of the Orient” in his Oriental novels. However, through his presentation of the Arab Muslim woman as a real, flesh and blood example, his Western women should follow for a happier life, Beckford presents the ‘actual social and geographical existence of the Orient.’ He presents his Orient and its people as real, and authenticates it with real places and characters in order to convince his Western women with the Muslim women whom he wants her to follow. Besides, William Beckford does not present the West as the one which has “power over the Orient”. (saed) The only Western source in the novel, Carathis, is presented as the source of evil, and is not only punished in the end, but her punishment is done according to the Islamic teachings, and not the Christian ones. Rather, she is depicted as the source of threat to the Muslim community. A presentation that proves the West has neither power over the East nor provides protection to it. However, Beckford’s presentation of the Orient can be perceived as visionary, as according to Sharafuddin describes William Beckford and his contemporary orientalist writers as

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