Shahrazad is my homegirl?

The Arabian Nights
The Arabian Nights

I told the world I would read a tale from this book at bedtime each night.

Sorry, no dice.

Aside from the usual excuses of fatigue and forgetfulness, I find it difficult to pick up before I sleep lest I have horrible, angry and violent anti-male dreams. The pervasive misogynist attitude within every single story so far just leaves me in a foul mood. Trust that I am fully aware of the original time period and culture, and ordinarily I willingly look past this sort of thing in literature, yet the distaste men have for women in “The Arabian Nights” is thus far so potent, so vicious, that I find it hard to believe it all ends well (although I know it does).

While the women depicted are anything but meek or submissive, most are cunning, malicious and best of all, lecherous. (As an aside, this brings to mind the whole “Dragon Lady” stereotype that plagued Asian women for years, but I digress.)

All of the men are victims of feminine wiles. Damaged and emasculated by his queen’s debauchery (with a black slave, no less!), the king beds a new wife each night, only to kill her by sunrise so she may never live to betray him.

At least until the grand vizier’s daughter, Shahrazad, takes it upon herself to end this senseless slaughter. I know that I will likely love this book and the heroine once I barrel through it, but lately I have just been so easily disgusted by chauvinism.

I avoided paying real attention to the Super Bowl ads last weekend. I scowl at men on the streets when I see them undress young women with their eyes. My blood literally boils when I think about how often women are abused (something like one in four), and how many women I personally know who have experienced it. Part of my anger stems from my own helplessness; my efforts to help usually fall upon deaf ears until it’s too late.

Anyway, this post escaped my original intention. I was supposed to end by pledging to read more of “The Arabian Nights,” and I will. But now I’ll finish off the tub of Dreyer’s chocolate peanut butter cup ice cream and do my taxes. How vanilla.

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