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Lebanon has witnessed a surge of women's rights activism on the streets recently, as women rally for greater equality and for protection for victims of gender violence. In this sense, Joumana Haddad's tragicomic novel "Kafas" (Cage) could not have come at a better time. The first act centers on six characters, five women and a man – who remains unnamed throughout.The five women each represent a female archetype that's arisen from patriarchal control of society: the spinster; the "ninja;" the whore; the lesbian; the cow. The cage motif is obviously essential to Haddad's book.Such provocation is not unusual in Haddad's work. The author often uses defiant rhetoric to make her point, demanding a more active role for women in society. Both these reversals also suggest that female figures can behave as badly as men: the oppressed are all too likely to remake themselves as oppressors.
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