Hypatia and Zenith: Challenging the Power Dynamics of Gendered Roles


  • Aqleem Fatimah Department of Gender & Women Studies, Allama Iqbal Open University, Islamabad
  • Shah Bukht Pakistan Institute of Development Economics, Islamabad


Power, Gendered Relationships, Gender Roles, Resistance, Agency


To examine how individuals resist the gendered power play and inequality by doing against the prescribed roles, this study compares two real-life characters a) Hypatia and b) Zenith Irfan presented in their biopics: Agora (Spanish-English) and Motorcycle Girl (Pakistani/Urdu) respectively. For analyzing the characters, I use a post-structuralist feminist theory of power. The paper concludes that the everyday resistance of these two characters, one Hypatia living in 4th-5th century Alexandria and the other Zenith Irfan, living in Pakistan in the present day challenge the o the power dynamics of gendered roles make them agents for change in their societies. Hypatia urged women to start studying sciences, while Zenith inspired many women to ride on a motorbike to enjoy the freedom of traveling and break the stereotypes and taboos associated with women’s mobility on roads as drivers and motor bikers from which Pakistani women suffer.


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