An Alternative Representation of Femininity in 1920s Lebanon: Through the Mise-en-Abîme of a Masculine Space

Yasmine Nachabe


In the 1920s, during the early French mandate in Lebanon (1920-1943), a period of major social, political and economic changes and a rising women’s movement in Syria and Lebanon, a young woman in her mid-twenties was recording her everyday life with a photographic camera in the village of Zgharta in the north of Lebanon. The imported lightweight and user-friendly Eastman Kodak attracted the woman’s interest. Clicking the button to capture whatever shot she deemed worth the effort, Marie al-Khazen (1899-1983) left behind more than two hundred six-by-nine centimeter negative plates. In a number of these photographs al-Khazen and her friends and family appear as if they were using the apparatus to stage themselves and their lifestyles in the way they would have wanted them to appear.

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