Why Didn't Harems Inspire Feminist Poetry?

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EchoesOfTheHorizon
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Why Didn't Harems Inspire Feminist Poetry?

Post by EchoesOfTheHorizon » Sat Oct 28, 2017 4:45 am

Why didn't Harems, such as the Ottoman Harems (can be any harem, such as Chinese) produce a age of Feminist poetry? I'm presuming women kept together for a royal would of gotten some education to pass the time, be it music or watching plays from a balcony, some had to of known how to read every once in a while.... I'd expect a Sappho to arise among every great harem in the pre-electronic era, writing poems about women centric life. They only had the Eunuchs and a single male monarch to deal with, was a woman's world, one likely of luxury and leisure.

The women might not easily leave the Harem, but nothing stops a book from leaving. We should be flooded in old concubine poems from every great harem in history. Why didn't women bother back then?

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GreatandWiseTrixie
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Re: Why Didn't Harems Inspire Feminist Poetry?

Post by GreatandWiseTrixie » Sat Oct 28, 2017 8:41 pm

Poets I guess are probably depressed, and people who get laid every day are happy.

EchoesOfTheHorizon
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Re: Why Didn't Harems Inspire Feminist Poetry?

Post by EchoesOfTheHorizon » Sat Oct 28, 2017 10:04 pm

Man, unless the king was Casanova, these ladies didn't get laid everyday. Think Islam have a four wife rules for that pragmatic insight, it's about how many I could handle maximum on a daily basis, year after year, and not look like I've just been rescued from a concentration camp.

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Re: Why Didn't Harems Inspire Feminist Poetry?

Post by vegetariantaxidermy » Sat Oct 28, 2017 10:48 pm

Perhaps they were illiterate like you.

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Arising_uk
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Re: Why Didn't Harems Inspire Feminist Poetry?

Post by Arising_uk » Sun Oct 29, 2017 12:41 am

EchoesOfTheHorizon wrote:... The women might not easily leave the Harem, but nothing stops a book from leaving. We should be flooded in old concubine poems from every great harem in history. Why didn't women bother back then?
You seriously think they would have been taught to read and write and who would publish such stuff?

You're such a troll.

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Re: Why Didn't Harems Inspire Feminist Poetry?

Post by EchoesOfTheHorizon » Sun Oct 29, 2017 1:59 am

Yes, I think some were taught to read and write. Princesses like Anna Comnena managed to write impressive masterpieces, read to this day. They got the best entertainment one could get in the palace, and ample resources. Some could be promoted to the position of queen or empress, and become a dowager.

So yeah, think keeping women in Harems, at least some, happened. We've had female rulers in ancient times, be it Queen Seon Duk or Cleopatra, and don't see why this thread is considered trolling in the least, as it is a very legitimate question.

If Sappho is considered a feminist, and Leontide.... why couldn't other women of leasure and education as well? It really should be the case, if we are to hold to the economic theories that leisure time produces culture and great minds. Women in Harems don't have a particularly good reason for NOT being influential culturally or intellectually. We know of nuns, some great nuns from the Middle Ages, such as Peter Abelard's wife, once she became a nun. Nothing much stops a woman in a harem from reading reading religious scripture, so the path to literacy should be open to them. They have opportunity.

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Arising_uk
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Re: Why Didn't Harems Inspire Feminist Poetry?

Post by Arising_uk » Sun Oct 29, 2017 3:32 am

EchoesOfTheHorizon wrote:Yes, I think some were taught to read and write. Princesses like Anna Comnena managed to write impressive masterpieces, read to this day. They got the best entertainment one could get in the palace, and ample resources. Some could be promoted to the position of queen or empress, and become a dowager. ...
Was she in a harem, doesn't look like it?
So yeah, think keeping women in Harems, at least some, happened. We've had female rulers in ancient times, be it Queen Seon Duk or Cleopatra, and don't see why this thread is considered trolling in the least, as it is a very legitimate question. ...
What's the actual question as you seem to now be talking about women in general and not in harems?
If Sappho is considered a feminist, and Leontide.... why couldn't other women of leasure and education as well? It really should be the case, if we are to hold to the economic theories that leisure time produces culture and great minds. ...
Depends if they were given access to education.
Women in Harems don't have a particularly good reason for NOT being influential culturally or intellectually. ...
Apart from that the bulk of them would not have been princesses nor educated to literacy.
We know of nuns, some great nuns from the Middle Ages, such as Peter Abelard's wife, once she became a nun. Nothing much stops a woman in a harem from reading reading religious scripture, so the path to literacy should be open to them. They have opportunity.
Which 'harems' are you considering?

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Re: Why Didn't Harems Inspire Feminist Poetry?

Post by EchoesOfTheHorizon » Sun Oct 29, 2017 3:48 am

I'm considering any Harem, we should have a lot more literature than we currently have. I've found a little over the years, but the amount is a joke. We've had many influential women in history, the power behind the throne, so I'm not buying that they all were kept ignorant.

Harem = concubinage of being in a kept place, not being let out often, and made off limits to other men. Opposite of a courtesan, and many courtesan even were educated, but made a minor impact on literature (this thread isn't about courtesans though) We make great court romances women in theory at least swooned over, you think more would of taken time to pump something out intellectually. They had leisure, don't think society would object to a book of poems from a harem, or book of songs, or hell, paintings of fruits and stuff done by them.

And I know Princess/Queen doesn't mean Harem, but it is often compatible. Place you keep your concubines and children isn't too different from where you keep your wife, psychologically for men. I doubt outside of questions of court and succession, most men are going to treat a concubine much differently than a wife when sitting around on a couch or bed, talking. They will gift them, sweet talk them, shower them with praise. Why would every king who had a harem refuse some a education, some would be inclined, surely. A paltry historical record though is a little unnerving. Where are the books? The poems? The lyrics? Heck, the great tapestries if that was all they could do? I'm doubting 99% of all concubines in history just laid back and ate grapes when not spreading their legs, doing absolutely nothing else.

They had everything you expect a great aristocratic mind to have at their disposal, the means.... time.... opportunity.... rarely happened.

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Re: Why Didn't Harems Inspire Feminist Poetry?

Post by Skip » Sun Oct 29, 2017 7:02 am

Who's in charge of a harem?
Are they likely to publish any literature or poetry that runs counter their own interests?
Is anybody who lives in a harem in any position to get published, or have their work become known, outside?

Of course a lot of concubines were educated - in the skills of entertaining their lord and his guests.
of course they produced art, poetry, music and literature. Masses of it. Whatever bits pleased the patron/owner/boss were recorded (unattributed, or under his name) and whatever didn't, was destroyed.
That's what generally happened to anything in the arts and sciences produced by powerless minorities.

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Re: Why Didn't Harems Inspire Feminist Poetry?

Post by Londoner » Sun Oct 29, 2017 12:38 pm

EchoesOfTheHorizon wrote:
Sat Oct 28, 2017 4:45 am
Why didn't Harems, such as the Ottoman Harems (can be any harem, such as Chinese) produce a age of Feminist poetry?
We have stories about women in the harem who studied literature and produced art, so the idea that such women might be poets was accepted. We have poetry about concubine women. We have women poets. So it doesn't seem unlikely that women in harems produced poetry, but we cannot know for sure.

I do not know about 'feminist poetry'. Interpreting poetry as if it is written to forward a particular agenda is a very modern idea.

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Re: Why Didn't Harems Inspire Feminist Poetry?

Post by Seleucus » Mon Oct 30, 2017 4:38 pm

In Ternar Yeshim's The Book & the Veil: Escape from an Istanbul Harem, two women manage to escape a Muslim harem to the West where they become writers...

One possibility is that with the exception of a few concubines of the Caliph, most harem women were simply abducted raped sex slaves so were not in any more position to be producing art than has been the case of the vast majority of slaves throughout history.

Skimming through Google Scholar it looks like most of the work on this topic is about how White people are so evil because of their Orientalist perception of harems. Probably have to go back into the old Orientalist literature and Islamic sources to get much information about actual harem conditions?

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Seleucus
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Re: Why Didn't Harems Inspire Feminist Poetry?

Post by Seleucus » Mon Oct 30, 2017 4:43 pm

Arising_uk wrote:
Sun Oct 29, 2017 3:32 am
EchoesOfTheHorizon wrote:Yes, I think some were taught to read and write. Princesses like Anna Comnena managed to write impressive masterpieces, read to this day. They got the best entertainment one could get in the palace, and ample resources. Some could be promoted to the position of queen or empress, and become a dowager. ...
Was she in a harem, doesn't look like it?
Nice lead, thanks, Alexes Komnenos was her father. I downloaded her book The Alexiad, (I'll read this when I'm in my 80s if I live that long at the rate my pdf library of great works is growing),

http://www.yorku.ca/inpar/alexiad_dawes.pdf

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Re: Why Didn't Harems Inspire Feminist Poetry?

Post by EchoesOfTheHorizon » Tue Oct 31, 2017 4:57 am

By feminist, I mean anything self centered written by women, about a life minus men. Pretty much lived a life in a sorority of women.

And I recognize some literature exists, but it is very small compared to the number of monarchs in history, and we all know damn well they had some hotties tucked away somewhere. I like to think I'm monogamous and loving and caring, but to be honest, if I was suddenly King of America, I'm going to be having some bouncy time with a stable full of 20 something brunettes with intricately braided hair.

Thing is, can't spend all the time with them.... gotta attend to the affairs of the state, gotta ensure legally recognizable heirs exist (thus a queen for legitimate births in western countries), campaign with the army, figure out why the peasants keep having famines and plagues instead of working like they should. But when I spend some time around them, I don't want my intelligence insulted. Want them to understand the music or play being read out, in terms of context. If I have one tagging along with me on some outing, want her to play a diplomatic part representing me and my court..... those women are potentially back up queens, especially if plague kills my legal heirs and I gotta recognize a bastard child..... which is another point..... at the very least, my male bastards are going to need to be educated, either for army life, or the clergy, or in some trade or running estates, diplomacy, something.... cant have a completely ignorant harem, someone needs to teach them the basics.

So some kings/emperors would of noted aspects of the above at times, and said, damn..... woman, quick picking your nose and learn to read, your looks can get you into my bed, but your ignorant attitude is gonna get you booted out.

90% of Feminism to be is The Vagina Monologues, where that woman in black spreads her legs, and her vagina speaks to the crowd. The idea freaks me out, those things shouldn't speak. But I know a considerable part of the female population of "philosophers" can only think of philosophy from the position of women (I don't care if someone is a female philosopher, gay philosopher, Muslim philosopher, etc.... I'm more interested in just the philosopher and ideas). We should be flooded in books written by women over the ages, who have access to libraries, can compose in return, loading the imperial libraries up with tales of women lounging and eating grapes and dancing with one another till the alpha male comes in. I dunno what goes on in a harem besides sex, stuff had to happen.

And the only person controlling them is the man of the palace. If it was decent poems, non offensive, why wouldn't he allow them to get out? Ezra made it out. Not all are slaves, honestly, until a few centuries ago, being a concubine to a king or emperor was a pretty nice gig, no shame in it for the parents giving a daughter over. They knew what the deal was.... either a local slimball paws her up as a wife and they live in a village as commoners, or the daughter goes to a silky palace and gets pawed up by the prince, and the grand kids get set up in some nice estate or position. Doubt most would refuse. Everyone understood what was going on. Doubt most were kidnapped in chains. Sometimes spcertainly, like how Saddam's sons would run around randomly rapping women..... but throughout much of history, I don't think most monarchs lacked in hot babes making themselves available to them, or easily convinced to join up.... alternative is waiting a week or two between servings of meat, often without fruits, dirty stinky stuff everywhere, doing your own chores.

When we look up medieval poetry, we should be absolutely drowning in this literature. It should be everywhere, and we should all roll our eyes saying "Not another poem by yet another concubine", and hundreds of feminist studies on this stuff should exist.

Instead, bizarrely, we have very little. It runs country to our theory of leisure, that gentlemen of refinement have time to sit around thinking this stuff up. We know damn well they can think up hairbrained ideas as well as some good ones, but where are our female mathematicians discovering quadratic equations, or doing astronomy at night on the balcony, or writing plays for the prince played by the other concubines? Was Sun Tzu the last to make a harem put on a display for the king, it occurred to nobody else to put them to work?

Maybe I just expect too much out of my whores. I'd be annoyed if all they did was lounge and fan themselves, or worst, make a eunuch do it. It is great you are pretty ladies, but can you sing me a tune?

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Greta
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Re: Why Didn't Harems Inspire Feminist Poetry?

Post by Greta » Tue Oct 31, 2017 6:17 am

This forum has a lot of sick people.

EchoesOfTheHorizon
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Re: Why Didn't Harems Inspire Feminist Poetry?

Post by EchoesOfTheHorizon » Tue Oct 31, 2017 7:27 am

You're opposed to feminist literature? Why?

The suggestion of the Ottoman's was good, my deepest insight into it unfortunately comes from the novel Leo Africanus, which mentions a harem in North Africa that was filled with lesbian Satan worshippers, but it didn't sound like a sexual harem, but rather relatives of a local ruler. I have no idea how to track it down to see if it is true. I have no real insight to Ottoman Harems other than what is mentioned in generic histories of sultans, my interest in the east dies off after Byzantium falls. I still know some history, but not in this area. This being said, most of the Turkish poetry I've seen is by guys.

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