Patterns of Femininity in Nawal El Saadawi’s The Novel and Love in the Kingdom of Oil

  • Ositadinma Nkeiruka Lemoha
Keywords: Pattern, Femininity, Normative, Contemporary, Subjugated.

Abstract

This paper examines the representations of femininity in Nawal El Saadawi’s The Novel
and Love in the Kingdom of Oil. It identifies three personality models exhibited by
female character portrayal patterns of femininity. The patterns, which the study terms
normative, contemporary and agglomerate patterns of femininity, reoccur in the texts
revealing contradictions embedded in women’s struggle against obnoxious cultural
elements that are detrimental to their subjective consciousness as humans. The paper
argues that Nawal El Saadawi, an Arab feminist and a creative dissident, creates
feminine types that contradict established feminine norms, thereby redefining and
reconstructing Arab Femininity, incorporating inherent feminine traits that are aberrant
to the established traditional norms. She presents Arab femininity from the point of view
of the culture controlled/subjugation femininity, depicting the state of Arab traditional
femininity and from the point of view of re-conceptualized and restructured Arab
femininity that contradicts and challenges the normative or culture construct femininity.
In doing so, she creates female protagonists who challenge the status quo, by rejecting
the cultural and religious prescribed characteristics and attributes for Arab women. El
Saadawi thereby offers a heroic perspective to femininity using female characters who
oppose the status quo by taking up professions regarded as masculine, refusing
submission, chastity, wifehood, and motherhood. These acts are regarded as a misnomer
and a challenge to the traditional status quo and to the authority of men. El Saadawi
therefore contemporizes Arab femininity thereby inaugurating the new Arab woman.

Author Biography

Ositadinma Nkeiruka Lemoha

Department of English,
University of Lagos, Akoka

Published
2019-12-04
How to Cite
Nkeiruka Lemoha, O. (2019). Patterns of Femininity in Nawal El Saadawi’s The Novel and Love in the Kingdom of Oil. Unilag Journal of Humanities, 7(1), 1-16. Retrieved from http://ihafa.unilag.edu.ng/index.php/ujh/article/view/512