Chapter

Female Stardom, Myth-production, and Morality

Viola Shafik

in Popular Egyptian Cinema

Published by American University in Cairo Press

Published in print June 2007 | ISBN: 9789774160530
Published online September 2011 | e-ISBN: 9781617970108 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5743/cairo/9789774160530.003.0005
Female Stardom, Myth-production, and Morality

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An audience commonly recognizes a film by the names of the star performers and not by its director. Locating a tape in a video store is achieved by searching first of all for its leading actors. Egyptian movie stars have become as much part of the country's public life as a feature of its contemporary urban space. Recent religious teachings have formulated a counter-discourse on audiovisual arts and fostered the negative view of performing women in particular. The formation and consolidation of the Egyptian film industry was highly dependent on the exploitation of already existing theater and music stars. Some of the earliest fiction films relied on the contribution of popular theater actors and their troupes. Moral binarisms of popular cinema regarding women have often been translated into the virgin–whore dichotomy, visualized through fallen women, prostitutes, or belly dancers.

Keywords: star performers; movie stars; Egyptian; film; moral binarism; virgin-whore; dichotomy

Chapter.  13712 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Society and Culture

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