Powerful Egyptian Show Resonates with Arab Women

Published June 6th, 2017 - 02:00 GMT
Nelly Karim appears in "To the Highest Bidder". (El Adl Group)
Nelly Karim appears in "To the Highest Bidder". (El Adl Group)

For the past two Ramadans, everyone has been accusing Nelly Karim of being unnecessarily morbid. The actress, known for choosing realistic, emotional storylines, has chosen a less dark path for her viewers this year; however, it is still painful.

The series To the Highest Bidder ("Le Aa'la Se'r") tells the story of a successful and beautiful ballerina who falls in love with a struggling plastic surgeon and ends up sacrificing her career and financial status for love. Six years later, Karim’s character gains weight, wears a niqab, and is betrayed by her best friend, who marries her husband.

Needless to say, social media is on fire. There is not a single woman I know who isn’t ranting about Ahmed Fahmy’s betrayal and accusing every man on Earth of sharing the same mindset. People are taking personally. The question is: why? Although there are cheating men in other series, it was this cheater that resonated with women in the Arab world.

First of all, let’s all agree that this isn’t about a cheating husband: women are angry over the concept of unappreciated sacrifice. This is about every woman who sacrificed for a sibling, lover, friend, cousin, colleague, etc. and got nothing in return but betrayal. Women aren’t ranting about Nelly’s cheating husband; they are angry that she gave up her existence for him and he ended up choosing her prettier best friend.

All of us have been betrayed, and it doesn’t have to be by a man. Betrayal comes in all sorts of shapes: in love, friendship, professionally. This show is a wake-up call on so many levels. Everyone is relating to Nelly Karim’s character. Selfless women are rethinking their life decisions.

Additionally, the series tackles some of the issues and questions that go through every woman’s subconscious, questions that women never publicly disclose: Will he cheat on me if I don’t lose weight? Is it fair that I have to stay pretty to be worthy of his love? Why does my family expect me to ignore his betrayal and live with it? If I were to choose a more religious path, and wear a hijab or niqab, will it turn him off? He needs me home, but I need my career: will I regret giving it all up for him? How much of myself should I give in any relationship, so I don’t get disappointed when I get nothing in return?

This show is dynamite. The script is excellent; it’s hard to believe it was written by a man since it gets women's perspective down pat. We can’t wait to see how it all plays out.

Edited by Al Bawaba

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