The desire to crown an intelligent, sexy-yet-fashionable lady as the Carrie Bradshaw of the Middle East has been a fierce competition, because, you know, there is nothing more mysterious than the lack of sex and dating in the Middle East.
With the help of a string of labels, high society, and awkward adventures in romance, Amy Mowafi makes a convincing effort to win the Bradshaw title with her novel “Fe-mail: The Trials and Tribulations of being a Good Egyptian Girl.”
Mowafi tries to satirize the unfair standards placed upon young Egyptian women, as well as the obsession with labels and status in the modern Arabian society. She speaks about transitioning into a society that is not as tribal or monolithic as some may believe (she was raised in the United Kingdom and moved to Cairo in 2002).
What works about Mowafi’s approach is that she writes in an accessible and humorous voice while writing about heavy topics, such as the importance placed on virginity and the inequalities that young Arab women may face. She speaks a great deal about what she calls “good girl syndrome,” which entails the expectation that young women always be pure within the public sphere, while it’s accepted that young men have a wild life before marriage. Mowafi succeeds in taking something that seems heavy and scary and making light of it, which makes it easier to discuss.