The Complexities of Gender Relations in a Masculine State

By Khalili, Laleh | Women's Studies Quarterly, Fall 2014 | Go to article overview

The Complexities of Gender Relations in a Masculine State


Khalili, Laleh, Women's Studies Quarterly


The Complexities of Gender Relations in a Masculine State Madawi Al-Rasheed's A Most Masculine State: Gender, Politics, and Religion in Saudi Arabia, Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2013

A deep exasperation with banal clichés about women in Saudi Arabia opens Madawi Al-Rasheed s absorbing, thought-provoking, and lucid A Most Masculine State. Al-Rasheed has no truck with the two stereotypical images of Saudi women as "either excluded, heavily veiled victims of thenown religion and society, or wealthy, glamorous, cosmopolitan entrepreneurs benefiting from inherited wealth and state education" (l). So she sets out to tell her readers a deeply researched story about the trajectory of women as political subjects in Saudi Arabia since the end of the nineteenth century. Her central contention is that to understand Saudi Arabia, we need to analyze the peculiarities of Saudi "religious nationalism," as well as the power of the Saudi state to shape both the ideologies pertaining to the position of women in Saudi society and the material conditions of thenexistence. The instruments for this process of social and ideological engineering are, inter alia, notions of piety and public propriety, laws around marriage and employment, provision of education, and labor regulatory regimes that make housework a job best suited to migrant laborers. It is the genius of the book that it also provides a persuasive analysis of why so many Saudi women are themselves invested in the maintenance of the rigid system of control in which the women are embedded. She further argues that what ultimately counts-far beyond ideological attachments of the women themselves-is their class location where "wealthy Westernised elite women enjoy far more freedoms than young marginalised divorcees and mothers" (37).

What makes the book so rewarding and useful is, first, the thoughtful, richly detailed historical context it provides for understanding women's education, the regulations of womens bodies and sexuality, and the place of women in business relations in Saudi Arabia over the span of several decades. But Al-Rasheed is also very attentive to both the state-centered mythologizing and religious discourse-making that goes into the maintenance of gender relations, as well as the contestation over the boundaries of control. She provides an instructive chapter on "the new religious women" who are crucially engaged in the thoroughly modern "resort to an Islamic discourse in which they find solutions to gender issues such as gender discrimination, inheritance, marriage, divorce, and employment" (254). …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited article

The Complexities of Gender Relations in a Masculine State
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this article
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.