Representation of Women in The Battle of Algiers and Memories of Underdevelopment

Within a given period of time, the role of women within a society changes depending on the socio-economic and political influences within a nation. In line with this, the different role that women played in the films ‘The Battle of Algiers’ and ‘Memories of Underdevelopment’ will be thoroughly discussed. As part of going through the main discussion, significant ways in which women were represented in both films will be compared and contrast.
Aiming to uplift the socio-cultural morality in the film ‘The Battle of Algiers’, the Front de Liberation Nationale (FLN) or the National Liberation Front was an Algerian party that was focused on their mission of cleaning up the immoral elements which include alcoholism, prostitution, and other unsavoury citizens in Casbah1. Casbah being an Islamic community is very conservative by nature. For this reason, the mission of FLN aimed at stopping the act of victimising one’s own people.
Since Algeria functions in a patriarchal regime, the Algerian women were often seen as sex objects. In line with this, one of the most unforgettable scenes in ‘The Battle of Algiers’ is when the Algerian women joined the ranks of resistance against imperialism wherein these women transform themselves into their French counterparts. To protect the Algerian women from being seen as a sex object, the veil or burqa was used to make women inaccessible to men’s eyes2. On the other hand, the Algerian women have the option to decide to dodge the panopticon vigilance of men as their colonisers by giving up their veils.
Women play a crucial role within a nation due to the fact that women are the ones who conceive, take care, and nurture future generations. Likewise, it is women who take care of the needs of Algerian men. Therefore, Algerian men protect their women from immorality and unaccepted social behaviours which could cause humiliation and crush the pride of the head of the family.