Double Standards and Hypocrisy: Egypt’s Curse

Saturday 19 October 201906:37 pm
إقرأ باللغة العربية

“Dina El Sherbini appeared in Saudi Arabia naked” an Egyptian tweeted commenting on Sherbini’s dress pictured above. Sherbini accompanied her friend Amr Diab on October 14, during an entertainment industry awards in the Saudi capital Riyadh.

A few days earlier, on October 11, a photo of Egyptian footballer Mo Salah and a Brazilian supermodel, dressed not very differently from Dina El Sherbini was when she appeared with Diab, the supermodel was embracing Salah, was greeted with celebratory and flattering comments. A comment full of heart emoji and flags of Egypt claimed "King Mo Salah in a new advertisement accompanied by Brazilian model Alessandra Ambrosio."

The two previous comments show how social media users in Egypt bully female celebrities if they appear publicly in clothes they don’t like but express pride when male celebrities appear with foreign women in risquee clothes.

Observers believe Egyptians' inferior view of women can be summed up in a statement made by Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi on October 13 when he described his country as having “exposed her back and bared her shoulder in 2011” revealing Egyptian men’s view on women who wear what they consider to be immodest clothing.

Dina El Sherbini is one of the most bullied Egyptian actresses, her sense of style seems to offend Egyptian men though in reality many Egyptian women have similar style.

El Sherbini had been subjected to cyberbullying campaigns in 2018 because of a dress she wore at the El Gouna Film Festival and she has also been the subject of sharp criticism after a recent photoshoot, her romance with Amr Diab is also considered controversial because they are not married.

What is surprising is that El Sherbini has had to deal with bullying by women too. For example, one tweep described how all the other actresses in the Riyadh season were dressed modestly “except for Dina El Sherbini” while another female tweeter deemed Sherbini “disrespectful” because she did not respect the customs of Saudi Arabia.

Long Live King Salah

When it comes to men, Egyptian social media users celebrated the and Liverpool star Mo Salah, after appearing on the cover of GQ magazine, accompanied by Brazilian supermodel Alessandra Ambrosio, despite appearing with him in a sexy dress much like Dina El Sherbini.

Salah received the Man of the Year award from the magazine and was on the cover of the Middle East edition with the Brazilian model.

Although many criticized Dina El Sherbini for appearing in pictures with Amr Diab, Mo Salah did not face criticism after appearing in the arms of Alessandra Ambrosio, women are constantly targeted by those who hold them to different standards from men.
The bullying of Dina El Sherbini only serves to confirm a study published in the Guardian, which shows that Egyptian men are amongst the least gender equitable men in the world.

Tweeps were celebrating to the extent that they made a comparison between an earlier cover of the magazine which featured Cristiano Ronaldo with the Brazilian model in semi-nude pictures, commenting how Salah “covered her up” after Ronaldo had “exposed her”, referring to her attire of course.

One user wrote “Abu Salah snatched the girl from Ronaldo, our son covered up the girl after she was naked, may God bless your morals, you are the pride of the Arabs”.

A tweeter wrote in a tweet filled with laughing emojis “ God bless your morals, pride of the Arabs, he took her (in reference to the model) and dressed and made her modest after she was naked”.

Although some have criticized Salah for appearing with the model, the number of such comments is much lower than those celebrating the Egyptian player known as "The pride of the Arabs", and many have responded to critics of the images of Salah. For example, Egyptian journalist Ibrahim Issa wrote a message to Salah in which he said: “Advice to Mohammad Salah: don’t listen to the advice of anyone from the Middle East, we only drag people down, we can’t stand anyone like you who is advancing forward.”

Although many have criticized Dina El Sherbini for appearing in pictures with Amr Diab, Salah did not face criticism after appearing in the arms of Alessandra Ambrosio, women are constantly targeted by those who hold them to different standards from men.

Salah had posted back-stage footage from his photo session with the model and it was seen on Instagram more than three million times.

How Egyptians See Women?

The bullying of Dina El Sherbini only serves to confirm a study published in the Guardian, which shows that Egyptian men are amongst the least gender equitable men in the world. According to the study, more than 90% of Egyptian men agree with the statement that "the final decision at home should be made by the man”, more surprisingly, about 58.5% of Egyptian women agreed with this view.

According to the same study, 50 per cent of Egyptian men surveyed agreed that "women deserve to be beaten at certain times," and a third of women surveyed also agreed.

Egypt Revealed Its Back and Bared Its Shoulder

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi said on October 13, in his comment on the crisis of the failure of negotiations between Egypt and Ethiopia on the Renaissance Dam: "Had the 2011 events been avoided, there would have been an agreement on the Renaissance Dam between Egypt and Ethiopia to guarantee the interests of the two countries,'' referring to political events in the country since the January 25 revolution. Al Sissi continued that his country “had revealed it back and bared its shoulder in 2011” going on to warn against repeating those events, urging Egyptians to “wake up” be careful and not “eat” the country.

Sissi’s use of the image of “the baring of the shoulder and back” to talk about a political situation is a projection of how women are regarded, forcing their bodies into a political issue. Exposing flesh as a metaphor stems from the subconscious thinking which makes up the stereotypical ideas that are spread about women and the double standards when it comes to dealing with an Egyptian woman in a dress that exposes the shoulders and a foreign model in a more revealing dress but in the company of an Arab man. The latter becomes a “prize” for the man or a sign of “manliness” and the “manliness” of the entire group”.

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