Almost a week after a tirade in which MTV called the women participating in LBC’s show “Take Me Out” whores, the country is still talking about that show and what to do with it. Spoiler alert: the answer to that question should be nothing.
Instead, the systematic outrage waged by rival TV stations at a show cannibalizing their viewers in primetime frames that they’ve become used to making millions from has gotten the government to start interfering at its highest levels with secretary of media and press Melhem Riachi saying the show was “immoral,” probably paving the way for governmental interference into the show and its possible cancellation.
It seems that the Lebanese populace as a whole, and MTV and our government and those agreeing with them in particular, have forgotten that this is 2017 and that their spectrum of “morality,” which is firmly stuck in 1943, does not apply anymore. Furthermore, they’ve totally forgotten that in the 21st century, viewers have the choice in what they want to be exposed to.
Picture this: in a few days from now, the government cancels a show because it has sexual connotations. But anyone in this country, those outraged and those who aren’t, can still turn on their laptops or unlock their smartphones, go to their browsers and stream their favorite “hedonistic” western series or – gasp – go on some porn website and look at people engaging in all the haram.
It’s truly saddening that some branches of our government and of our population are more concerned with a TV show they can simply not watch, rather than with the actual horrendous things threatening our well-being and the future of our children.
Your children will not be ruined because of the content of a TV show that airs at times they should be sleeping. They will be ruined because they live in a country where their mothers are second class citizens and where their father has the upper hand in society just because he has a penis.
Your children will not be ruined because someone dared to be provocative on TV, but they will be ruined if they’re brought up to be convinced they should be ashamed of who they are because they’re women or they’re not the model figure society thinks they should be.
Your children will not be ruined because of a TV show, but they will be ruined because they already have almost $15,000 in debt and won’t know the feeling of growing up with electricity or water or fast internet, or in a country where their worth isn’t relative to the sect you brought them into, and the list goes on.
It’s not that people don’t have the right to be offended by the content of any TV show. Everyone is entitled to have an opinion, albeit I’d prefer for that opinion to be well-informed, without any attempts to oppress others who disagree. Such oppression happens when you advocate for the cancellation of a TV show just because you don’t like its contents, or the closure of a newspaper because it published an article you disagree with or the jailing of some activist because you don’t agree with the politics of their activism.
The thing about “Take Me Out” or the entertainment industry as a whole is that it thrives with the attention you give it. The more we talk about this, and the more we challenge it, the more people will tune in. The other thing about the aforementioned industry is that, because of its competitiveness, it gives you – the viewer – so many options to choose from that you really have no excuse to be up in arms about something you can take a magical device called a “remote control” and flip the channel.
The fact of the matter is, more harm is done when MTV calls the women appearing on shows airing on rival TV channels as whores, when it pretends to be worried about the “honor and reputation” of Lebanese women towards Arabs because she’s portrayed as “easy” or “sexual.” It baffles me that some aspects of my society actually give two fucks about what Arabs, whose women can’t drive or have to cover up to go out of the house or can’t even go anywhere without male companionship, think of our women. Is that the standard we want for ourselves? Why don’t we just migrate to Arabia and be done with it?
What’s even more horrendous is that a TV station that was once closed down for trying to oppose the status quo is now advocating for another TV station’s material to have the same fate. Can you feel the tangible hypocrisy in this? It’s not like said TV station is a beacon for morality itself. Wasn’t it recently that they had this level of material on its airwaves? Won’t the thighs and legs the dancers show on their show getting beaten handily by Take Me Out also give a “bad reputation” for Lebanese women?
The moment we allow someone to dictate what is moral and what isn’t for us, we start slipping into horrifying realms of oppression. Welcome to the Taliban’s Qandahar.
The perfect summary is as follows: Take Me Out is watched by two thirds of all viewers on Sunday when it airs. A good portion of those viewers tune in, finish the episode, and are then outraged at what they watched. Every single Sunday. You’d think with all their anger about morality and whatever other things are angering them they’d have changed the channel by now, but no. It’s 2017. Can we move on already?