Final Exam

Final Exam




Final Exam

Essay 1

Terms: Socialization, socioeconomic class, patriarchal norms

Socialization is a term that is used to describe the lifelong processes associated dissemination of norms, values, customers and inheriting of the same by an individual or group, which becomes of their habits and skills as members of a certain culture. On the other hand, socioeconomic class or status is defined by the income and wealth status of an individual who becomes classified as living within a specific threshold subscribed by the society. Patriarchy is described as a special system whereby the male individuals hold primary power and predominant moral authority, leadership, control of property and social privilege.

Socialization has brought about the construction of gender identities, the patriarchal society, and socioeconomic classification across Arabic Middle East states. A variety of scholars have argued that socialization and resulting culture are amongst the most important factors that explain the attitudes towards gender, socioeconomic status and the emergence of patriarchy in Arab states. The social learning theory posits that individuals usually learn by observing, modeling, and imitation. Socialization is a process that individuals acquire behaviors that are necessary for them to participate in an effective manner within the society.

Thus, the individual and society are dependent on socialization as a platform for renewing culture as well as perpetuation of society (Tétreault, & Robert, 2004). Majority of choices arise from habit and may not be subject to deliberate decision-making. In essence, the experiences of Arab women living in the Middle East and other parts arise from the socially constructed habits, and values, which may be either negative or positive. Violence against women is prevalent across Arab states and households given that it is a product of socialization processes whereby the societal and cultural expectations of the male population influences how young men and boys relate and engage within women in their communities.

The environment within which the male and female Arab populations are socialized is critical towards the development of distinctive attitudes and behavior. The images, ideas, and behavioral norms that the men in the Arab society are exposed to, play a critical role in shaping their behavior (Tétreault & Robert, 2004). Such is primarily due to the agents of socialization and the presence of a system and context that plays a primary role in endorsing and nurturing patriarchal behavior and violence against women.

Literature suggests that the agents of socialization include initial actors such as the family and parents who influence the establishment of ethical behaviors. Other agents such as educational institutions, communities, and peers emerge as critical agents of socialization. In such a context, scholars have suggested the likelihood of the existence of an interaction between incidences of violence in a family or community and subsequent involvement in behavior that can be termed as spousal victimization. Thus, it can be affirmed that male individuals who have been exposed to violence or been victims of violence in the families and communities during adolescence or childhood are likely to be violent and abusive towards their spouses in romantic relationships.

Perpetrators usually learn violence through exposure and observation of prevailing social beliefs and values that are related to social enforced gender roles. Boys who are subjected to witnessing men beat women such as their fathers beating their mothers are likely to be engaged in similar behavior towards their respective spouses (Tétreault, & Robert, 2004). Violent behavior is usually enhanced in the event that the agents of socialization are unable to punish or prevent the batterers for use of violent behavior to gain power. The mass media also plays an important role as an agent of socialization. In a majority of cases, individuals usually develop emotional responses, attitudes, and styles of conduct (habits) by imitation of the behavioral models provided to them in television films, and lately the internet.

In the Middle East, violence images and messages on television have a negative effect on the male population. Television programs, video games, internet sites, and action movies continue to communicate the glory of masculinity through glamorization of various characters. The character of the “macho” or “stud” male are becoming relatively attractive to the young population of boys. The interaction between violence and existing systems within the society in the region are manifested by the presence of tribal culture and patriarchal systems that govern interactions between different genders as well as various across the various socioeconomic levels evident in communities Arab countries (Tétreault, & Robert, 2004).

Patriarchal ideology and factors such as socioeconomic status and education levels usually influences the incidence of gender violence across communities and homesteads. In a majority of incidences, women are viewed as property that belongs to women. The perception of women as property is common across different classes, where young girls are subjected to endure forced marriages, which result in abusive marriages. Young girls are married off by their parents into arranged marriages to contribute to the greater good of the family name or identities of their families.

Essentially, the patriarchal systems that exist in Arabic Middle Eastern states are marked by a strong gender divide in terms of access to economic opportunities, politics, education, and social statuses. These societies tend to focus on reinforcement of images of masculinity with men being expected to control, dominate, and remain figures of authority as decision-makers in their communities and families. Thus, it is evident that gender division sets the stage for construction of other ideals such as social class that is based on socioeconomic status and education levels of individuals.

Essay 2

Question 4

Existing literature suggests that men in patriarchal Arab societies gain power through the virtue of developing ideals, attitudes, and behavior that is based on social construction of gender identity. In addition, in Arab societies, individuals, especially males, are ascribed power due to their family, clan, tribe or sex. From such a context where the male population enjoys such luxuries, men use religion and cultural values as a platform for resisting concepts of gender and equality with claims that they are elements of foreign culture (Western ideals).

Another school of thought suggests that the role of the power control is one of the primary causes of the gender-based violence. Additionally, feminist scholars have argued that the incidence of domestic violence is founded on power and gender as it is a presentation of the relentless efforts and attempts by the males to retain control and dominance over the female population. In addition, violence is used by the male population as a tool for the perpetuation of dominance and demeaning of the women (Tucker, 1998). Furthermore, feminist scholars have also argued that the female-victim and male-perpetrator violence spectrum as a socially constructed gender role given that they hold it arises from the subordinate social statuses of women.

Moreover, such also arises from socially constructed norms, beliefs, and institutions that are a foundation for the patriarchal society. Such a perception arises from deeply embedded beliefs that a significant number of women in the Arab states are discriminated and oppressed. In the Middle East, there have been regular attempts to associate Islam with the oppression of the female population, which renders the issue of gender a challenging one. In a majority of instances, gender based violence across the Arab states in the Middle East is exacerbated by a culture if silence. In such contexts, it is relatively difficult to identify individuals who have had experiences of violence or play a role in the determination of the intensity of violence propagated against the female population.

From this context, scholars have associated violent and abusive behavior as part of deliberate choices made by individuals as a means of exerting dominance and control over their victims (World Bank, 2003). There are a variety of explanations that contribute towards the understanding of the incidence of gender based violence as perpetuated unconsciously and consciously by males; consciously through deliberate use of violence as a means of asserting power, control, and unconsciously when they subordinate and use violence against women.

The societal mistreatment faced by women is reflective of a particular culture-specifically the patriarchal culture, which marginalizes women and reduces their value. There is a common view that women hold a relatively low status in Muslim states. The role prescribed or constructed for the women is provided for in Islamic theology as well as laws, which has been argued as the primary determinant of the status and power held by women. Women are generally viewed as mothers and wives, with incidences of gender segregation being part of customs and laws in various Arab states (Tétreault, & Robert, 2004). On the other hand, economics and entrepreneurship is considered as a preserve of the men, with providing financially being the role of the men of a given household.

Women are expected to reproduce to accrue status within a family, community, and society. Women, unlike men, do not have the unilateral right to divorce a woman. A woman may only work or travel in the presence or with express permission of a male guardian. A good reputation and family honor and the negative effects of shameful acts usually arise from the conduct of the women. Islam dictates that the institution and legal safeguards of honor and reputation justify the segregation of communities or society based on gender. Muslim societies are denoted by relatively high fertility, mortality, and rapid population growth. As at the end of the 1980s, an estimated 34% of brides in the Muslim world were women under the age of 20 years, with an average of six children for a single mother.

Low literacy, high fertility, and low participation levels in the labor force and in economic activities are associated with the relatively lower status of women. Such incidences are associated with the prevalence of Islamic norms and laws that guide social activities, interactions, and construction of gendered roles. Literature suggests that the growing importance of various values and attitudes such as modesty, family honor, and participation of women in paid labor is associated social stigma in Arab communities (World Bank, 2003). Islamic societies such as Arab states harbor strong beliefs on immutable differences across the gender divide.

Essentially, there is a relatively rigid contention on the differences between men and women, which has been used as a platform to confer inferiority statuses to women with regard to their rights and legal statuses. Such attitudes and measures usually emphasis and strengthen the social barriers experienced by women in seeking economic, career and educational achievements. Education, employment, and engagement in enterprise remain examples of areas that experience high levels of gender bias. On the other hand, it is critical to note that the status of women and gender asymmetry is not primarily attributable to Islam due to the variations of Islamic codes from one Muslim state to another. Such provides evidence as to the role of cultural values from one Arab state to another that influence the social statuses held by women in their respective communities. The interactions between culture and religion serves as part of the numerous factors that contribute towards subjugation of women based on the assumed gender differences constructed by the society.



Sonbol, A. El-A. (2003). Women of Jordan: Islam, Labor, and the Law. Syracuse, NY: Syracuse University Press.

Tétreault, M. A., & Robert A. D. (2004). Gods, Guns, and Globalization: Religious Radicalism and International Political Economy. Boulder: Lynne Rienner.

Tucker, J. E. (1998).In the House of the Law: Gender and Islamic Law in Ottoman Syria and Palestine. Berkeley: University of California Press.

World Bank. (2003a). Gender Equality and the Millennium Development Goals. Washington, DC: Gender and Development Group, World Bank.

World Bank. (2003).Jobs, Growth, and Governance in the Middle East: Unlocking the Potential for Prosperity. Washington DC: World Bank.

Young, W. C., and Shami, S. (1997). Anthropological Approaches to the Arab Family: An Introduction. Journal of Comparative Family Studies 28, no. 2: 1–13.

Tzannatos, Z. (1998).Women and Labor Market Changes in the Global Economy: Growth Helps, Inequalities Hurt and Public Policy Matters. Washington, DC: Social Protection Unit, Human Development Network, World Bank.


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