This is a provocative critique of the work of Egyptian feminist, Nawal el-Saadawi. It argues that the feminists of her novels, far from being shining examples of liberated womanhood, have unconsciously absorbed a male ideology that actually works against the interests of women. Their revolt is not, he claims, the result of their oppression by men, but of their connivance with their oppressor and their acceptance of his view of the world. Saadawi's heroines are accused of elitism. These doctors, lawyers and medical students, shunning the world of ordinary women, show a distinct lack of solidarity with their sex. They are not, as they claim, fighting a society which oppresses them, but, in reacting against the very fact of being women, are struggling against nature. Tarabishi proclaims that he is defending feminism against its false friends. In a spirited reply, Saadawi counters that his critique is based on a rigid and outmoded Freudian analysis.
Georges Tarabishi is a distinguished Syrian-born writer, translator and critic, author of a number of works (in Arabic) on literature, politics and psychology. He has translated Freud, Marx and Sartre into Arabic. Nawal el-Saadaawi is an Egyptian writer, psychiatrist and feminist, author of novels, plays and studies of Arab women, many of which have been translated into English.