In African literature, a substantial body of scholarship deals with gender cleavages but the tension opposing the cultural construction of femininity and women's subjective consciousness lacks attention. This article examines the resistance against the cultural elements that mark women's bodies as female. A consideration of the novel Memoirs of a Woman Doctor by Nawal el Saadawi, one of the leading Egyptian feminist writers, reveals the contradictions embedded in women's self-oppressive struggle against patriarchy. The interconnection of resistance and oppression indicates how women's liberatory practices are inseparable from the patriarchal realm. The major flaw of the feminist discourse resides in the configuration of men and women in terms of oppressors and oppressed and the subsequent reinscription of the already existing and socially sanctioned sexual binaries. Reshaping the relationships between men and women in a new light of partnership rather than antagonism for a resolution of the problems they face together is more empowering for the feminist writer.


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pp. 160-172
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