Woman at Point Zero Post #1
Male violence and dominance is a reoccurring theme in the novel, Woman at Point Zero. Men in Firdaus’s society use sex and rape as social control and a way to attain and keep power. As Firdaus shares her story, she reveals all the sexual abuse she has encountered throughout her lifetime. Her first encounter with sexual pleasure occurs when a little boy named Mohammadain and her play ‘bridge and groom.’ But these sexual encounters end when her mother makes her go through female ‘circumcision’ because women aren’t supposed to enjoy sex, only men can find pleasure in the act. On baking day, Fridaus’s mother sends her to knead dough and make the bread. “My galabeya often slipped up my thighs, but I paid no attention until the moment when I would glimpse my uncle’s hand moving slowly from behind the book he was reading to touch my leg. The next moment I could feel it traveling up my thigh with a cautious, stealthy, trembling movement. His hand would continue to press against my thigh with a grasping, almost brutal insistence.”(13). This quote is significant because this is the initial sexual interaction between Firdaus and her uncle. This introduces the relationship between them. When her uncle visited, he taught her the alphabet and she began to feel closer to him than she did to her own father. She begs her uncle to take her with him when he leaves for Cairo. She sees him as a beacon of light. When her parents die, her uncle takes her with him. Her Uncle has power over her and he continually molests her. Shockingly, she still sincerely loves him. She doesn’t see what he is doing as inappropriate. She sees him as her ‘protector.’ When she graduates from school, her uncle and aunt-in-law agree to marry her off to her aunt-in-law’s uncle. This hints at the next point or chapter in her life that she will undergo abuse from a male figure as to secure dominance and power over her.