Lebanese Women Don’t Need A List Of Reasons To Be Considered “Dateable”

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On International Women’s Day, a local website called the961.com decided to publish a list of 7 reasons why you should date Lebanese women.

As it is with Buzzfeed-esque lists that rely on stereotypes, generalizations and healthy doses of sexism-coated misogyny, the list of why you should consider a Lebanese women as your date range from her being “beautiful… supportive… family oriented… well dressed…” and, most importantly, that SHE CAN COOK! Again, on International Women’s Day, out of all days, the one day that women around the world call for their rights as loud as they can, scream against being objectified, and fight for gender equality.

I don’t know whose idea it was to publish a list of generics and think it’s a celebration of Lebanese women, when all it’s doing is annihilate every inch of evolution that the Lebanese women empowerment movement has accomplished over the years.

At a time when many Lebanese women are leading NGOs, being listed in Forbes as some of the most influential people around the world, challenging stereotypes left and right, forming start-ups, trying to break into politics, forming political movements, becoming reverends, their worth as people is sure as hell not defined in a silly list posted on some random website to get clicks and ad-money. There’s also a “why date Lebanese men” list too to serve that purpose. 

So instead of a celebration of our women who are breaking boundaries in Lebanon, the Arab World and the entire world, it was decided to summarize them, in the only thing about them that’s worth dating, and that is being them standing behind their men, looking pretty and dressing well enough, as well as being able to cook for them.

The notion that no woman on this Earth is defined by any man seems to still escape many people, in 2017. So let’s say it loud and clear: Our women, Lebanese or otherwise, are not defined by what they can offer men, especially when they’ve been subdued by patriarchy for decades now, down to having our male parliament members vote down laws on sexual harassment in parliament because “it opens doors for us that we don’t want opened.”

Do you know why you should date a Lebanese woman? If she’s the gender you’re attracted to and you’re interested enough with what she has to offer you, then why don’t you?

To the women sharing that horrifying list, stop. It’s not a list that’s flattering you. It’s a list that keeps you in that box that many men, whereas Lebanese here or abroad, want to shove you in and keep you there.

It’s okay not to want kids.

It’s okay not to know how to cook.

It’s okay not to want to be anyone’s support and to put yourself first.

It’s okay not to dress the way society thinks you should be dressing and not to give any fucks about it.

Your self worth is not summarized in a silly list on a silly website. Any man who’s worth anything would know that.

If her not dressing in Chanel or looking like Gigi Hadid is a deal breaker, or is even a consideration as to why you’d consider having any person on Earth as your partner, then you’re the embodiment of the problem with men who don’t think there’s a problem with the stereotypes they’re perpetuating in the first place. Maybe you shouldn’t even be dating anyone to begin with.

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The Lebanese Women Who Hate Women

She goes to her friend’s house with a thick layer of makeup on her face. She fakes a smile and laughs through her pain. She pushes away the tears. No one knows and no one will ever know.

Her mother had given her that advice a long time ago. It doesn’t matter how you feel. It doesn’t matter what he does. You fix your hair, you bite your lip and get a grip and save a little face of the one that was torn to pieces. It’s just a beat up. This isn’t her mother’s broken jaw and bruised eye. But it might as well be.

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“I’ll vote the way my brother wants.

I’ll vote the way my husband wants.

I’ll vote the way my son wants.

I’ll vote the way my grandson wants.”

But no one will know how you vote behind that separator.

“How will I live with myself if I don’t do what they want of me?”

Why would you vote the way anyone else wants?

“Because there are circumstances. I can’t.”

——————————————————————–

It had been only a few weeks since her father passed away. As she sat contemplating and saddened for the anchor she had lost, she feels a tap on her shoulder. She looks up, her brother looks down at her with a grim look. She understood. She walks over to the kitchen, the paperwork was ready to be signed.
“When you sign this paper, you will be relinquishing your half of the inheritance to your brother. Are you sure you want to do this?”
She looks up and nods. “Anything for him.”

She signs her name.

——————————————————————–

“I love him. But I can’t love him.”
“Why?”
“It will never work.”
“He can give you the best future you could possibly have.”
“You don’t understand.”
“I know I do.”
“No, no, no. We don’t pray the same way.”

The following day, she conformed.

——————————————————————–

She held a banner at her go-to feminist rally. Empower the women. Fight for the women. Do anything for those women. A few minutes after the rally was done and she got her regular fix, she went back home and logged on to her favorite social network. Someone had mentioned women in a joke. She looked at their picture. It’s a he. The joke became sexist. And she couldn’t allow it. Sexism, sexism, sexism everywhere.
Her fingers started frantically typing on the keyboard. It didn’t matter that he could be an even feistier supporter of gender equality.

——————————————————————–

They gather for their regular morning coffee. They cross their legs, pucker their lips. The blood starts pumping through their veins. This is all so exciting.
“Have you heard?”
“Uh-hum.”
“She slept with him! I can’t believe it. Always knew she was a slut.”
“It always showed, darling. Don’t you see the way she usually dresses? Skirts should not be that short.”
She unconsciously pulls at her own skirt in the process.
“And have you heard about that other one? Poor thing. She has you know what in you know where.”
“I know… So sad. And her poor husband! You think he’ll stay with her now that she can’t… You know…”
“I don’t know! Didn’t even think of that. You think they’ll divorce?”
“Nah. He’s not that cruel!”

——————————————————————–

The above stories are real life observances over the past few weeks.