Women in a Positive and Negative Perspective in Kurdish Culture - Part 2

Avin Taifour

Read the first part of this article here

In the previous part of this article, we talked about the positive and negative aspects of the old sayings of the Kurdish society about women in general, we also talked about these positive and negative aspects in a more specific way. In this part, we will try to clarify more negative perspectives in the past about women with some examples of those old sayings. In the future, we will discuss the positive aspects of this subject.

Figure: A woman from the East part of Kurdistan, 1989

In addition to the old sayings, the women's voice should not have been heard in most of the stories, tales, and songs. In those stories that were retailed for children in their homes, women were introduced as valueless, useless, and cheap creatures.

In the folklore stories that were narrated to the children sometimes, one would encounter some words that in fact would have impacted the children and the listeners' minds allowing them to have negative images in their minds. For example, here we can discuss our notes on "Tite and Pire, the old man and Seve, and Nisko". In Tite and Pire we can see: "They exchanged a bunch of thorns with seven sheep, seven sheep with a bride, a bride with a cane and … the cane broke." Let us focus on this sentence which says: "They exchanged a bride with a cane." It is true that we may have still remembered this story but here we can see the injustice that has been done to the woman which is considering her as a valueless object. How many women would seem valueless in the minds of the children or other listeners of such a story? Or what kind of imagination would be created in the mind of a child listening to this when s/he grows up? After one listens to such a story, how do they see their mothers, sisters, and the other girls around them? How would they treat these women?

 In the story of "The Old Man and Seve" we encounter the same subject. In the story, it is said: "One day an old man ties his daughter up and takes her to a cave and says to himself; if I have an apple, why should I give it to others while I can eat it myself? Thus, he marries his daughter and they have seven children." When this story is narrated or read to children and other listeners, what kind of pressure it may create over a woman's soul? Such a thing makes a person hate their own father or brothers and any other men.

In order to clarify this subject even better, we will include another part of the folklore opinions on women:

Neither all men are the same, nor all women.

The man is a river and the woman is the river bank.

A good husband has a strong wife.

A man who has two wives is insincere.

A woman's honor is her husband's weapon.

Not a humoristic woman, not a shy man.

To be continued…

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