In a world where feminists are too often silenced, Nawal El Saadawi's fight against the patriarchy never fails to go unnoticed.

The feminist icon, activist, physician, and psychiatrist has continuously been upheld as one of the most badass women in the Middle East. She is known for her powerful words that offer insight into the political and sexual rights of women. 

Although her radical perspective has sent her to prison and gotten her fired, El Saadawi draws inspiration from these lows to fight against female oppression. 

The Egyptian feminist has written almost 50 novels that address taboo topics such as female genital mutilation, prostitution, domestic violence, and the imprisonment of women.  

El Saadawi is a strong FGM opponent, having undergone the painful and unnecessary procedure at 12 years of age. 

Here are some of the leading feminist's most contentious and empowering quotes that will make you rethink your whole perspective on feminism in the Arab world.

1. “They said, 'You are a savage and dangerous woman.' I am speaking the truth. And the truth is savage and dangerous.”

Nawal El Saadawi, Feminist, Egypt, Woman, Power
Source: Pintrest

2. “Yet not for a single moment did I have any doubts about my own integrity and honor as a woman. I knew that my profession had been invented by men, and that men were in control of both our worlds, the one on earth, and the one in heaven. That men force women to sell their bodies at a price, and that the lowest paid body is that of a wife. All women are prostitutes of one kind or another.”

Nawal El Saadawi, Power, Egypt, Feminist
Source: Warscapes

3. “Here the oppression of women is very subtle. If we take female circumcision, the excision of the clitoris, it is done physically in Egypt. But here it is done psychologically and by education. So even if women have the clitoris, the clitoris was banned; it was removed by Freudian theory and by the mainstream culture.”

Nawal El Saadawi, Egypt, Feminist Power
Source: Vice

4. “Everybody has to die. I prefer to die for a crime I have committed rather than to die for one of the crimes which you have committed.”

5. “Women are half the society. You cannot have a revolution without women. You cannot have democracy without women. You cannot have equality without women. You can’t have anything without women.”

Nawal El Saadawi, Egypt, Feminist Power
Source: The Guardian

6. "When you are intelligent and beautiful you face a lot of problems. If you are beautiful and stupid then it's easy."

Egypt, Feminist Power
Pictured: Nawal El Saadawi Source: ABC

7. "Plastic surgery is a postmodern veil"

Nawal El Saadawi, Egypt, Feminist Power
Source: The Guardian

8. “She is free to do what she wants, and free not to do it.”

9. “Men impose deception on women and punish them for being deceived, force them down to the lowest level and punish them for falling so low, bind them in marriage and then chastise them with menial service for life, or insults, or blows.”

Nawal El Saadawi, Egypt, Feminist Power
Source: BBC

10. “To me, 'beauty' means to be natural, creative, honest - to say the truth.”