FEMINISM and TASTING THE SKY: The theme of feminism in TASTING THE SKY is inherent in the fact that the narrator is a girl living in a world where girls and boys have different social expectations, roles in the family, strengths, weaknesses, dreams and hopes, cultural scripts, limitations, gender stereotypes, spoken or unspoken history of gender, social support systems in the family and outside of the family, different challenges, and distinct methods in which to negotiate the world. . . However, the narrator goes through most of the stages of development in this book mainly with her two brothers. . . What do you find important about the relationship with the brothers? Does the narrator see a difference between herself and her brothers? Do her brothers see a difference between themselves and their sister(s)? There is a younger sister in the book other than the narrator. This theme, feminism, is also developed through the exploration of the characters of the mother and father and how they interact with each other, with their children and with the environment. What do you think of the father and mother in terms of playing their socially prescribed roles? Do they stick to those roles? Do they question their roles? Does war break the social roles in a culture? In the United States of America, for example, when most men went to war during the Second World War, the women were encouraged to go to work in the factories and replace men in the workforce. When the men came back, the women refused to go back home and stay home as before. . . Did the Israeli occupation change the traditional roles in the Palestinian society with many men being in prison or in exile or not able to fulfill economic obligations? How did the mother in Tasting the Sky respond to the economic pressures that pressed against her socially expected gender role? Also Think about the female figures in Tasting the Sky: the mother, the grandmother, the narrator of the story, the teachers, and the women in the shelter. . . What do you see in common? Also, the narrator girl in Tasting the Sky has different feelings about her mother from her father. What, in the text, created these feelings, along the narrative? Feminism has many different definitions. Gender is a massive theme in the world because it affects one hundred percent of the world's population -- more than fifty percent who are women are affected in a certain way, and the nearly fifty percent who are men, are affected in another way. However all of them must coexist in a community. Does social injustice contribute to a progressive and a strong society or compromises its possibility for progress? The majority of children who are not schooled in the world are girls, who eventually become women and then mothers who raise boys and girls. Does having an illiterate mother vs. an educated mother affect a society on the long run? Does the occupation encourage education in society? encourage equality in a society? encourage having women and girls who can raise powerful generations? Or does it encourage divisions and having members of the society discriminate against one another and abuse one another? How does "divide and conquer" apply to gender roles? Is there a genuine privilege for men in the context of discrimination in gender, or the devaluing of a female eventually acts as a destructive force in the entire society and puts the entire society at a disadvantage? Think: if you are a man: do you mind being a woman in your society? If yes, why? If no, why? If you see injustice, how are you going to help change that? Think: if you are a woman: do you mind being a man in your society? If yes, why? if no, why? If you see injustice, how are you going to help change that? And remember that living under occupation is simply about injustice of one group seeking to have privilege over another. . . A free society means thinking and active individuals . . .
Thank you for thinking, and for creating positive change for everyone in your society, and for everyone in the world. . . Ibtisam Barakat, Friday, September 5th, 2014