Woman At Point Zero Stereotypes

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They say that history is written by the winners and well, most of the winners throughout history have been men. Due to this there is tale after tale of great male heroes braving impossible challenges, discovering new worlds, and just about any notable feat one could think of. Nawal El Saadawi’s Woman at Point Zero challenges every stereotype of heroic men and damsels in distress all while incorporating real life accounts of women in Egypt. Possibly one of strongest methods of breaking these stereotypes is they way men are represented. Women at Point Zero portrays men as a harmful, deceitful, breed through the eyes of the leading character Firdaus; this is done in order to shed light on the patriarchy and empower women. Within Woman at Point…show more content…
Firdaus is consistently lead on to form bonds with men who then use her beginning with her uncle during her childhood: “my uncle was closer to me than my father...he taught me the alphabet...he sent me to elementary school” (19). Firdaus’ uncle built up a relationship with her by offering her resources no one else did like how to read, yet in the same instance he could take advantage of her: “My galabeya often slipped up my thighs... I would glimpse my uncle’s hand moving slowly from behind the book he was reading to touch my leg…” (14). Even after she had grown old enough to realize the abuse Firdaus was faced with more men who only gained her trust to betray her in the end. Notably, after Firdaus had escaped her abusive husband’s home, she met a man named Bayoumi. Firdaus first considered this man to be kind and did not hold the eyes of “someone who would kill” since he was showing sympathy and compassion for her in her time of need (47). She noted that his hands looked “almost submissive” and not “the hands of someone who could be violent or cruel” (47). Although Firdaus was unfortunately proven wrong for after she attempted to move out of Bayoumi’s apartment he locked her in his room and began to use her for his sexual pleasures against her will repeatedly. The pattern of built trust followed by betrayal is a recurring theme…show more content…
Through Woman at Point Zero captures the audience’s attention by shedding light on the stark reality of many women in Egypt and around the world. By having every man in Firdaus’ life be harmful and sexist it becomes impossible for the audience to not become aware of the patriarchy. Saadawi does this through an extreme set of circumstances with her character Firdaus where every man she meets harms her. From her father who showed no reaction to her sisters’ deaths while beating Firdaus’ mother after her brothers’ deaths to a man forcing Firdaus to be pimped out by him with the threat of death. Through extreme situations like these the audience cannot take their eyes away from the bitter reality that often goes ignored. By having a lack of positive male characters within the text there is no room for the positive stereotypes often attributed with men to exist. While it may be refreshing to some audience member to have men be displayed in a negative light Saadawi does not do this without empowering women. After losing her faith in the goodness of men Firdaus realizes her own self worth outside of the male gaze: “Yet not for a single moment did I have any doubts about my own integrity and honour as a woman. I knew that my profession had been invented by men, and that men were in control of both our worlds,

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