In the first episode of the series خلى بالك من زيزي, we see that Zizi is quite a turbulent character. The episode shows Zizi (played by Amina Khalil) receiving test results for a fertility-enhancing IVF (In vitro fertilization) procedure. This was the fourth time she undergoes an IVF procedure. IVFs entail the extraction of eggs from a woman’s ovaries, fertilizing them with sperm externally, and then inserting the fertilized embryo into the woman’s uterus, making her pregnant. The procedure involves a lot of hormone changes.
What went down in the car scene…
Zizi’s pregnancy results turn out to be negative, which greatly upsets her. She wants to try the IVF procedure a fifth time. Zizi’s husband Hesham Assal (played by Aly Kassem) works as a university professor.
Upset, Zizi heads to the university where Hesham works, walks into his lecture, and demands to speak to him. Hesham leads her to his car and they talk about what he thinks about Zizi possibly doing a fifth IVF. After a lot of insisting she receives an answer from Hesham at that moment, Hesham tells her in an outburst that he wants to get a divorce.
Zizi reacts by grabbing and jostling him and then hits him with a hard object that leads to him getting a cut on his forehead and bleeding. All the while she screams insults at him, gets out of the car, and smashes the hard object against the windshield, and breaks it.
How people felt about it
We asked our readers what they thought of that scene and we got mixed answers. 48% of the 209 people who answered perceived Zizi’s reaction negatively, 25% believed Hesham deserved it, and 22% thought that though the reaction was extreme, it was understandable given the situation. 5% took the scene lightly and made sarcastic comments about it.
Some liked it
The 25% and 22% who believed Zizi’s reaction was justified argued that Hesham was being insensitive and that it wasn’t the right time to bring up divorce when Zizi was clearly frustrated.
Some also said that Zizi is clearly mentally unstable and has raging hormones because of the IVF so they were able to empathize with her.
The people who didn’t like Zizi’s reaction had different reasons for their stance. Some thought it was aggressive and violent. They believed the scene would not be taken so lightly if it showed a man being violent.
Others believed the scene was misogynistic as it depicts Zizi as a crazy, hormonal woman who can’t control her feelings. The “hormones” excuse is in itself sexist because it feeds into the notion that women are run by their emotions so we can’t expect them to be rational.
Another group of responders had a problem with Zizi’s representation as a mentally ill person. They argued that people who are mentally ill would not necessarily react in this way.
Regardless of what your stance is on the scene, it’s good to look at it critically. We can’t yet say how the creators wanted us to perceive it, we’ll have to keep watching to truly understand. However, it does bring some questions to our minds: Would people have the same stance on it if it were Hesham and not Zizi reacting in this way? Would we be more able to empathize with Hesham’s character if he had been a woman? We’re constantly faced with the reality that our expectations of men and women’s behaviors inform our thoughts about everything. Scenes like this one encourage us to take a step back and assess these expectations. So, keep watching and keep sharing your thoughts with us!