This quantity units El Saadawi's literary paintings in the context of her activism, particularly exhibiting how her rules for the renewal of society run via her writing. As a spouse for interpreting her fiction and non-fiction, this volunme contextualizes her paintings by means of considering the complexities of Egyptian society this present day - particularly, Islamic fundamentalism and women's prestige. It additionally introduces the present scholarly debate on historical women's prestige. Chapters on person novels glance either at strategy (oral literary traditions, women's narrative, imagery) and subject (female circumcision, gender roles, prostitution, honor killing).
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Extra resources for A Critical Study of the Works of Nawal El Saadawi, Egyptian Writer and Activist
As an added barrier to the kind of examination of religion El Saadawi promotes is a cultural attitude that Leila Ahmed, speaking offeminism in Turkey, Egypt, Algeria, and the People's Democratic Republic of Yemen, finds in non-Western Islamic women. While Western women can be openly critical of their culture's ideologies, the Islamic woman is constantly reminded that she should remain loyal to Islamic society and its values as a way to resist Western culture. For centuries Western and Islamic worlds opposed each other, then colonizing occurred, and now both abstract and material culture have entered the conflict, with the result that Islamic civilization "finds itself reaffirming [old values] the more intransigently and dogmatically and clinging to them perhaps the more obstinately because it is reaffirming them against, and safeguarding them from, an old enemy" (162).
EI Saadawi cautions us to put all this in the proper historical perspective. We must look at ancient Egypt, and the development of Judaism, Christianity, and then Islam, if we are to understand the position of women in Arab and Islamic society today. As she explains, "The story of Adam and Eve was born in Judaism, and through Judaism arose the idea that woman was sinful and that sin was sex. With this idea the separation between spirit (or soul) and body was consecrated and canonized for all time.
Elsewhere Robins stresses that "any study of Egyptian society is basically a study of the elite scribal group" and therefore any study of women will be of those in the same class, or of royal women (Women 17). Robins warns against making assumptions, noting that the majority of texts concerning women are New Kingdom or later, so "it is dangerous, although tempting, to read it backwards to supplement a dearth from earlier times" (Women 15). To an extent this view is shared by Elizabeth Wayland Barber, who declares in Women's Work: The First 20, 000 Years, that time has buried much of the specifics about the lives of prehistoric women.