Luma Balaa


El Saadawi’s work in translation has been widely read in the West. On the one hand, she has been criticized for writing for the West, and many Arab critics argue that El Saadawi is famous in the West not because she “champions women’s rights, but because she tells western readers what they want to hear” (Amireh, 1996). In addition, when Woman at Point Zero is taught in the Western classroom, some students, reviewers, and critics tend at times to read the novel as a window “onto a timeless Islam instead of as [a] literary [work] governed by certain conventions and produced within specific historical contexts” (Amireh, 2000). Recently, Drosihn (2014) has claimed that in Woman at Point Zero El Saadawi “is implicated in Western discourses seen in her reproduction of Orientalist stereotyping feeding into Western tendencies of simultaneously superiority and fear of the Middle East and especially Islam.” Referring to Said’s theory of Orientalism, I contend that El Saadawi does not orientalize the Other in her novel Woman at Point Zero. She occupies a space in-between in which she at times employs stereotypes but at other times challenges them. Also, using the theory of intersectionality, I argue that Arab women suffer from multiple jeopardy.

Author Biography

Dr. Luma Balaa is an associate Professor of English Studies in the Department of English at the Lebanese American University of Beirut. Her research interests include fairytales, Anglophone Lebanese Australian writers, women’s writings, feminism and representations of women in Cinema. She is the author of several international refereed articles such as “The comic disruption of stereotypes in Loubna Haikal’s Seducing Mr Maclean ”( Antipodes: A Global Journal of Australian/ New Zealand Literature. Dec 2012), “Misuse of Islam in El-Saadawi’s God Dies by the Nile from a feminist perspective” ( Hawwa: Journal of Women of the Middle East and the Islamic World. 2013) , “Men’s Contradictory Experiences of Power in Jarrar’s novel Dreams of Water” (Antipodes: A Global Journal of Australian/ New Zealand Literature. Dec 2013) and “Why Insanity Is Not Subversive in Hanan Al-Shaykh's Short Story ‘Season of Madness’” (Australian Feminist Studies 29(82) 2014).