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Gender Issues in the Movie “The Stoning of Soraya M.” Essay

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Updated: May 14th, 2020

Introduction

Gender issues have drawn attention from thespians over the past few decades with most movies revolving around this topic. Gender roles and the discrimination of women have been the main topics of concern in most movies in the recent past. This paper analyzes the movie, The Stoning of Soraya M., which revolves around a woman, who is stoned to death for allegedly being promiscuous. The movie shows women as inferior to men as illustrated by the differentials in the roles and the decision-making process.

Gender issues

In the movie, discrimination against women in the Islamic society is evident. The protagonist, Soraya, is stoned after allegedly involving herself in extramarital affairs with her employer. Justice in the Islamic society is one-sided. In a just society, the man deserves a similar punishment given that he is also involved in an affair with a 14-year-old girl whom he wants to marry. For a man to marry another wife, he should first divorce his first wife. Therefore, the man may be said to have committed a similar sin by engaging in love affair with a 14-year-old girl.

The disregard for women is further exemplified by Ali’s decision to take his sons and leave the daughters with their mother. Ali avoids the responsibility of helping his daughters by claiming that his wife is in a sexual relationship with a widower. His intention from the beginning is to seek divorce and pave way for his new marriage. The superiority of men may also be seen in the sentiments made by Soraya’s older son to the younger one. The younger son is reluctant to throw a stone to his mother as commanded by his father. However, the older one tells him to prove his manhood by hitting their mother with a stone. These sentiments are illustrative of the view that men are strong as opposed to their female counterparts.

The movie also sends a message on the role of women in aggravating their troubles. In the movie, a woman is seen celebrating after Ali knocks Soraya with a big stone on the head. A similar message comes out clearly in the scene where a woman comes to a mourning family and suggests taking some properties from the house. This part is indicative of the uncaring attitude amongst females when their fellow women are in trouble. The women are oppressed by the society, but instead of uniting against the oppression, they seem to gain pleasure when the fellow females are being subjected to tyrannical acts. The gossips spread by some of the women in the movie play a great role in Soraya’s tribulations. The women are seen gossiping about Soraya’s alleged affair with the widower. Even though the accusations surrounding the situation are unfounded, they contribute greatly to the death of an innocent woman, Soraya. In conclusion, the film shows that women contribute to their tribulations by their failure to unite and condemn discriminatory acts from the men.

The other important aspect of the movie is the emphasis laid on the age of the girl characters. Soraya is said to have been married to her controversial husband at the age of 13 years. The director of the movie intentionally indicates the years to highlight the theme of early marriages and the overreliance of women on their men. Ali married his wife when she was 13 years old, which indicates that the wife was still immature when she was forced to marry the man. The girl he intends to marry after successfully divorcing Soraya is 14 years old, another minor. The emphasis laid on the age of the potential wives ignites the thought of forced marriage. A person below the age of 18 years is regarded as a minor who does not have the ability to enter contractual deals. In that regard, the marriages may not have been consensual, and the women must have been forced to marry the man against their wishes. This view may be supported by the fact that Ali’s 14-year-old new girlfriend is not involved in the marriage arrangement. The deal is organized by the girl’s mother who accepts Ali’s offer to allow him to marry the daughter in exchange with the release of their father who is in prison for unknown reasons.

In the movie, men are portrayed as the breadwinners while women are seen as inferiors who cannot feed themselves. The director of the movie uses some sections to indicate the theme of the overreliance of women on their men. Mullah persuades Soraya to marry her temporarily in exchange for food and other necessities. The inclusion of that scene is intentional, and the director of the movie intends to show the women’s inability to become independent. In other words, the scene illustrates the view that women cannot be self-reliant, and they have to rely on men for all their needs.

The trial scene further demonstrates the inferiority of women in society. As the trial against Soraya continues, together with her female sympathizers, she is not allowed to participate in the case. Instead, the accused and her well-wishers are enclosed in a room as men deliberate on the action to be taken against the innocent woman. Soraya is never allowed a chance to prove her innocence, which demonstrates the unjust nature of the male dominated society. Men are the sole decision makers, and women have to respect the conclusions arrived at unquestionably.

However, inasmuch as the movie depicts the inferiority of women in society, some sections illustrate the brevity of women. The director of the movie tries to show the strength and transience of women by including a section about Zahra slapping Mullah. Although this is the only case that women are seen acting against the men’s will in the movie, it is placed intentionally to show that women are equally powerful as their male counterparts. It may be argued that women are now trying to fight male dominance by resisting chauvinism. In the recent past, women around the globe have launched campaigns against male jingoism.

Conclusion

In the recent past, movies have targeted the controversies surrounding the issue of gender in the contemporary society. Most movies today revolve around gender inequalities as they occur in society. This paper discusses the main gender issues that can be seen in the movie, The Stoning of Soraya M. Some of the outstanding gender issues in the movie include the inferiority of women, injustices, overreliance on men, and the contribution of women to the escalation of their troubles. Nevertheless, at one point, Zahra, a female character, stands her ground to challenge the misconception that men’s decisions should not be challenged.

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IvyPanda. (2020, May 14). Gender Issues in the Movie “The Stoning of Soraya M.”. Retrieved from https://ivypanda.com/essays/gender-issues-in-the-movie-the-stoning-of-soraya-m/

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"Gender Issues in the Movie “The Stoning of Soraya M.”." IvyPanda, 14 May 2020, ivypanda.com/essays/gender-issues-in-the-movie-the-stoning-of-soraya-m/.

1. IvyPanda. "Gender Issues in the Movie “The Stoning of Soraya M.”." May 14, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/essays/gender-issues-in-the-movie-the-stoning-of-soraya-m/.


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IvyPanda. "Gender Issues in the Movie “The Stoning of Soraya M.”." May 14, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/essays/gender-issues-in-the-movie-the-stoning-of-soraya-m/.

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IvyPanda. 2020. "Gender Issues in the Movie “The Stoning of Soraya M.”." May 14, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/essays/gender-issues-in-the-movie-the-stoning-of-soraya-m/.

References

IvyPanda. (2020) 'Gender Issues in the Movie “The Stoning of Soraya M.”'. 14 May.

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