Commentary, Lebanon, Published Work

Western media’s troubling obsession with “badass” and “submissive” Arab women

A version of this article originally appeared on Now Lebanon.

A clip of Al-Jadeed anchor Rima Karaki shutting down London-based cleric Sheikh Hani al-Sibai during a televised interview has received international attention. As a journalist and a feminist, I initially cheered at Karaki’s satisfying take down of her patronizing guest. But as the video went viral, I found myself struggling to come to terms with the ways that the clip was repurposed and framed by many international media outlets. Continue reading

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Commentary, Human Rights, Lebanon

Fattouch, Bassil actions reflect a deeper misogyny

While political gaffes may appear to exist in isolation, Fattouch and Bassil’s actions are reflective of a society with a deep and troubling political legacy of violence and misogyny. 

A version of this article originally appeared on Now Lebanon.

An incident involving independent MP Nicolas Fattouch punching a female clerk in the neck at the Justice Palace has gone viral.

While rumors circulated online that Manale Daou, the clerk in question, was forced to withdraw a lawsuit and apologize to the offending MP, Mahmoud Darwish of the Public Administration Employees Committee has denied that legal action against Fattouch has been dropped. Continue reading

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Commentary, Digital Life

Hashing out the hashtag

How a hashtag crowdsourced the construction of a vocabulary for discussing feminism in the 21st century.

Following a horrific shooting in Santa Barbara that left seven students dead and over a dozen injured, news of the massacre spread on social media like wildfire. In the days that followed, it was uncovered that the shooter had a YouTube channel dedicated to promoting misogynistic ideas, and had left a deep Internet archive documenting hateful and disturbing tendencies. This discovery shifted on and offline conversations of the incident from gun control and mental health to a more overarching discussion of the everyday sexism and misogyny that runs rampant and often unchecked in societies worldwide.

Women around the world took to Twitter to share their stories, mobilizing through the #YesAllWomen hashtag – a catchphrase designed to counter the #NotAllMen trend often used to discount complaints about misogyny. Within four days the hashtag had drawn over 1.2 million tweets, with women expressing their grievances and experiences with harassment, fear, and even violence. Continue reading

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Commentary, Human Rights, Lebanon

The Myth of Lebanese Liberalism

A version of this article originally appeared on NOW Lebanon.

Life in Lebanon slowly but surely resets the dial on anyone’s “normality” barometer. You adjust to power cuts at home, at work, and in public places. You grow used to headlines constantly predicting impending war. You even learn to laugh these off once enough near-crises have passed you by.  You stop thinking twice about buying twelve dollar cocktails while a refugee child stands outside the bar, selling Chiclets for one hundredth the price of your shoes. I’m not proud of this, but all of these things have become my new normal.

Perhaps out of self-preservation, there is one thing I have never come to terms with: my inferior status as a woman. Continue reading

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