Egyptian female characters

If you’ve seen an Egyptian film or two, there’s a thing you’ll surely notice about the characters present. Specifically the female characters. We don’t know how to put it but they’re archaic and over-used and honestly borderline irritating.

You might think we’re exaggerating now. If you go ahead and re-watch two, three, even ten Egyptian movies, though, you’ll see what we’re talking about. You’ll see these characters.

The Good Old Mom

In any movie in which the hero’s mom is still alive (because, you know, a hero has to have at least one dead female relative to show emotion), she’s going to be the greatest woman on earth. No, scratch that. She’s going to be the fairest fairy godmother of them all.

In her assortment of colorful galabeyas that are somehow the same in every movie, Egyptian TV Mom will dote on her children–sorry, son.

She will wake him up in a cutesy manner and she’ll have breakfast prepared or if she has daughters, they’ll prepare breakfast (because, of course). She will always take the Hero’s side, even when he’s wrong, because ‘all mothers are built like that’, apparently.

The Princess

In any movie where’s there’s a rich father — played by Youssef Fawzy or Hassan El-Koumy, may he rest in peace — be sure to know that the princess will appear in any given moment.

You’ll know her. She’ll be dressed to the nines, even if only to lounge around the house, and she’ll always find something to complain to her Papa/Daddy about.

Before you wonder, yes, Nour is still playing the Princess in every single appearance

Sometimes, though not always, she’ll be so down-to-earth she’s basically Snow White. Other times, she’ll be a demon in a Gucci dress. There’s no in between.

P.S: If the hero is a working-class boy, expect her to give the Little Mermaid ‘But, Daddy, I love him’ monologue”.

The Love Interest

This particular character is very interesting because she’s always around and she’s always mislabeled. See, some people confuse her for the film’s co-protagonist when she literally does nothing because the writer didn’t bother to give her a personality.

This is sad because it kind of advocates for women being two-dimensional objects of affection more than anything else. Sometimes this even happens in said character’s own movie.

Through her entire career, Dorra has played a fully-fleshed character maybe three times. It’s not entirely her fault.

You’ll know this character quite easily. If the Hero isn’t around, she’ll cease to exist. Every other word that comes out of her mouth has to do with love, marriage, or the protagonist. If she mentions a passion or a career once, trust us, you won’t hear it again.

Impressively, the Love Interest will never complain about the hero’s antics and if she does then she secretly finds them funny (aka every Ramez Galal film).

The Struggles-R-Us Lady

Okay, we’re not doing this to be mean or anything, but this character (although very realistic) has been overused to the point of exhaustion.

She’s always the same, too. Her apartment is always shabby and her kids will always be screaming. She will be raising her kids or her siblings alone or she’ll have a husband who’s so vile you don’t believe she’s still with him.

The image that character presents is so stereotypical and kind of says “yes, there’s only one way to be poor and/or struggling and it’s this one”.

Though struggling and we all feel bad for her, this lady will always, always find time to help the hero. Why? Well, he’s kind to her so the kids and the bills and struggles don’t matter anymore.

The Straw Feminist

This is a recent addition to the entertainment industry and it’s an annoying one too. We don’t want to pin it down to sexism but it’s pretty suspicious that this archetype emerged when feminism grew.

A straw feminist here is the typical Egyptian man’s idea of a feminist. Man-hating and angry for no legitimate reason.

In the movie’s world, too, this character is the butt of every joke. See, men in the movies are in no way sexist whatsoever so she’s just exerting a lot of effort for nothing. Her only purpose, really, is to make it clear our hero isn’t “that kind of man”.

These character types aren’t the only stereotypical characters in Egyptian cinema, that’s true, but they’re among the characters we wish were retired already.