Thursday, January 9, 2014

Abused women are liars

Good, now that I got your attention, I was almost going to believe my own stunt. Originally I was writing this post because I happened to watch "Lo3bat al mawt" (the game of death) starring Cyrine Abdel Nour whereby she plays a wealthy abused woman. My gut reaction was - I don't sympathize with her, look at her plastic-surgery altered face, why would I sympathize with such a creature!
And this brought me back in memory to another case of women's abuse on television. An episode (or rather a story or several episodes) in Marwan Najjar's Talbin el Ereb (asking to be your in-law or something like that). The episodes starred Carole Samaha (yes, probably you will not believe the creature above in the photo was Samaha herself back before she became whatever she became nowadays) and if my memory does serve me right, it is from the episode in question (the above is a frame from the intro of the programme which I found on youtube).
Samaha who at the time was one of the most promising actresses of her generation, coupled with a Marwan Najjar still at the height of his writing powers, came up with an explosive (literally) combination. She was a battered woman trapped in a an abusive marriage to a man who was raised so "correctly" that he was beaten for bringing pleasure to himself in a very uptight household. Naturally, the sexual frustration eventually erupted by him becoming physically violent with his wife.
The "average looks" of Samaha (again prior to all the scalpel she has been subjected to) made her a next-door-girl with whom everyone identified. Najjar's genius, at the end of the episodes, was to make her stay in that marriage (hence us remembering this tale almost two decades later, if he had left, we would have been joyous - but forgetful).
If today Samaha played the same woman, probably I'd have felt the same indifference I felt towards Abdel Nour.
And herein lies my mistake.
Abused women, as opposed to the portrayal on television, are not necessarily coming from middle to low socio-economic strata, who are mostly uneducated, rural-dwellers, with little or no ability to ask for help.
They come from all socio-economic levels, they can be given that plastic surgery either was a repentance gift or perhaps a way to fit more into the fantasy of the male. Maybe those huge stylish sunglasses serve to hide the black eye. And the silicone injected lips with whatever-shade-of-red that's hot this year actually cover the dry blood underneath.
Abused women are certainly not liars. No matter where they come from on the social spectrum. Let us not be fooled by what is apparent to the eye. Even if it is just a character on television.
Cyrine Abdel Nour is a believable abused woman. So is today's Carole Samaha.
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