Monday, March 29, 2021

"Though they circumcised their daughter, her parents were relatively liberal by the standards of the time and believed that all their children should be educated regardless of gender."

"When El Saadawi was ten they tried to marry her off in accordance with local custom, but her mother supported her when she resisted. El Saadawi allegedly deterred other suitors by smearing aubergine on her teeth to make them black.... After graduating in 1955 El Saadawi returned to her home village to work as a doctor, turning her experiences into a novel, Memoirs of a Woman Doctor. She also married her second husband, Rashad Bey, a lawyer, but swiftly divorced him when he proved too 'patriarchal.' He threw the manuscript of one of her novels out of the window, tore up her Medical Association card and once tried to throttle her.... El Saadawi’s anger was not just directed at Egypt, Islam and the Arab world. She was also a harsh critic of western hypocrisy, colonialism, militarism, capitalism and US support for Israel. She considered the Islamic veil to be a 'tool of oppression' but also condemned the make-up and clothes worn by women in the West. 'Women are pushed to be just bodies — either to be veiled under religion or to be veiled by make-up,' she said. 'They are told they shouldn’t face the world with their real face.'" 

From "Nawal El Saadawi obituary/Prolific Egyptian author and fearless campaigner for women’s rights who became the ‘Simone de Beauvoir of the Arab world’" (London Times).

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