Ramadan dramas disappoint with weak women and fuzzy history
Saraya Abdeen series logo

CAIRO: Ramadan dramas, a staple of Egyptian home entertainment during the fasting month, have drawn criticism this year for a lack of well-developed female characters, as well as sensationalized history.

“There were no good examples of women in this season’s TV dramas,” Secretary-General of the National Council for Women Ambassador Mona Omar told Youm7 Sunday, pointing out that women appeared as mostly “belly-dancers and killers.”

In the series “Saraya Abdeen” (Abdeen Palace), all the depicted women chase one man, “which is a distorted image of the historical facts, in an attempt to convert Egyptian reality to Turkish-styled dramas,” founder of Fouada Watch Azza Kamel told Youm7 in July 13.

King Ahmed Fouad II, the last king of Egypt before the July 23, 1952 Revolution that ended the monarchy himself described the serials in a statement published July 1 as a “historical farce” that must be stopped.

Two popular serials, El-Wasaya el-Saba’a or “The Seven Commandments,” and “Segn al-Nesa” (The Women’s Prison,)  were also criticized for depicting predatory homosexual behavior in some episodes, which Secretary General of the National Council for Childhood and Motherhood Azza el-Ashmawy told Youm7 Wednesday was “improper.”

El-Wasaya el-Saba’a  tells the story of seven siblings who killed their father after they knew he had a lot of money. But his body was suspiciously disappeared and one of the daughters was sent to jail, where she was beaten and coerced into a sexual encounter.

Actress Rania Yousef as the imprisoned daughter responded to criticism against the scene saying, “we are talking about a certain layer of the Egyptian society, and this is the layer of people below the poverty line like maids and the cleaner at mosques, and this is the writer’s fiction to present unreal things,” according to Youm7.

A number of critics, however, picked the two serials to be among a list of the best drama presented during this Ramadan. “These serials depend on the most important factor in drama which is excitement and thrill, that’s why they got the highest viewing among the other series,” said Critic Nader Adly to Masr al-Arabia news website on July 9.

Additional Reporting by Dina el-Aghour, Aya Samir, Ayman Ramadan and Mohamed Mahsoub.

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