The Degenerate Arab Essay example
Edward Said argues in Orientalism that the American media and literature represents the Arab male as a "degenerate." This charicature most assuredly applies to the film Not Without My Daughter. Said says that the pop culture Arab in the United States is "associated either with lechery or bloodthirsty dishonesty. He appears as an oversexed degenerate, capable, it is true, of cleverly devious intrigues, but essentially sadistic, treacherous, low" (286). He is seen as a "colorful scoundrel," maliciously violent, and is represented as having "mass rage and misery, or irrational (hence hopelessly eccentric) gestures" (287). Said concludes that the function of this discourse is "a Western style for dominating, …show more content…
His oversexed nature is emphasized in his relationship with his wife Betty who appears to be a prize of his conquest. Mahmoody brags that his family thinks he has sex all the time because he and his wife take showers twice a day (Mahmoody explains that Muslims are required to shower after sex ). This Neanderthal depiction of the Arab as a sexist and wife abuser is clearly demonstrated in Dr. Mahmoody’s treatment of Betty. After lying to her and tricking her, he treats her very harshly when she doesn’t act in the "proper Muslim fashion." Mahmoody beats her when she makes him angry or when she makes mistakes. Such a mistake as leaving the house without telling anyone where she is going incites his rage.
Besides the domestic violence and discipline, which is viewed as the male’s job to inflict, Betty is seen as almost a slave to her husband. She is required to submit to him in everything she does and she is entirely and wholly accountable to him. The male is seen as the custodian of the woman and she is seen as his property. She is responsible to obey him in everything he commands her to do. If she disobeys, breaking the law of the land, she risks the punishment of death. Betty suffers emotional abuse, house arrest, degradation, and