Tuesday, February 22, 2022

Ukrainian women stereotyped again by Lebanese men

Now this is interesting. A while back Wiam Wahab, a Lebanese politician described Ukrainian women as simply prostitutes prompting a very severe reply from the Ukrainian embassy and an apology from Wahab. Lately (that would be February 16 in page 8 of Al Sharq newspaper whose editor in chief is Awni Al Kaaki) came a photo of a very suggestive Ukranian woman with the words "adopt a Ukrainian to protect her from Russian occupation". The image (as per the rebuke of the Ukrainian embassy) contains "gender identity consideration, and contains harm based on gender, and insults the dignity of Ukrainian nationals". Well, it goes to say that the image in question shows a very scantily clad woman, with very revealing attire that delimit her incredibly suggestive forms. 

This obviously is a wink to the fact that for a long time, Eastern European women would come to Lebanon as "artistes" and were staples in night shows or what is called "super night clubs" (in other countries referred to as Gentlemen's Clubs) where women in minimum clothing would perform "numeros". It is also agreed that men can invite them to their tables, open bottles of champagne for them and when not working at clubs can go out with them (normally with financial retributions for their services). Naturally all this falls under stereotyping - except that women from certain countries cannot go easily to Lebanon under the age of 40 due specifically to the idea that they will be performing in such clubs or be of loose morals. 

This is a case which really happened: A woman from a certain European country had enormous trouble coming to Lebanon because she was under the age of 40. The problem is that she wanted to come here to help her daughter, married to a Lebanese deliver her first grandchild as her daughter was married to a Lebanese man. Which both women marrying young (the grandmother and the mother) you can imagine the conundrum. Actually having worked at the airport I can tell you that women coming from these countries are immediately rounded up and kept aside as soon as their plane lands, whether they come here as "artiste", wives of local men or any other designation.

Which brings us back to stereotyping of Eastern European women, and Ukrainian women specifically. It is to note that Al Kaaki has not apologized for the publication of the photo.