Woman at Point Zero by Nawal El Saadawi

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“A man does not know a woman’s value, Firdaus. She is the one who determines her value. The higher you price yourself, the more he will realize what you are really worth.”

Saadawi brilliantly describes the predicament of Firdaus, a woman sentenced to death for a slaying in self-defense.


“Everybody has to die. I prefer to die for a crime I have committed rather than to die for one of the crimes which you have committed.”

Firdaus tells her life story which is heartbreaking, a story often retold in many regions throughout the world. A woman’s independence in a patriarchal society, female circumcision and subjugation of women are unfolded in the telling of Woman at Point Zero. Saadawi an accomplished feminist author creates a self-analysis on why males behave they way they do. She points the story in the direction of how men view women. This story should not be looked upon strictly towards third world countries but the entire world.

“Every single man I did get to know filled me with but one desire: to lift my hand and bring it smashing down on his face.”

An emotional story, a courageous heroine giving insight to issues frequently ignored as well as a hard look at attaining respect, and the nature of power.

Firdaus is an incredible woman, a steady voice of strength for women suffering oppression and senseless abuse in the name of religion or cultural traditions. A woman defining heroine.

“Yet not for a single moment did I have any doubts about my own integrity and honour as a woman. I knew that my profession had been invented by men, and that men were in control of both our worlds, the one on earth, and the one in heaven. That men force women to sell their bodies at a price, and that the lowest paid body is that of a wife. All women are prostitutes of one kind or another.”

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Published September 15th 1997 by Zed Books (first published 1973)
Paperback, 112 pages
ISBN13: 9780862321109

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