Lebanese Feminists Balk at Offensive Election Ad

On June 7th parliamentary elections will be held in Lebanon that will shape the country for the next four years. Too bad one party decided to piss off women with demeaning and overly sexified print and television ads that tells women to "look pretty and vote." The Feminist Collective calls Tayaar's bluff; they point out that the ad is being used to entice men rather than women; question the absence of women from the Lebanese parliament, Tayyar's own candidate lists, and the party's political platform; and tell them how their money would be better spent in ways that actually promote progressive changes that advance women's rights. Oh, and while they were at it, they created their own parody of the offensive ad. Smart is sexy, y'all. 

by Mandy Van Deven
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6 Comments Have Been Posted

The campaign is offensive,

The campaign is offensive, no doubt, but it reminds me a bit Wanda Sykes did at the correspondents' dinner about how people love dressing up, so maybe if when we paid taxes we went to a ball to do it, people would get in to it:

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Thanks, Fatemeh! This interview with Nadine from The Feminist Collective is great!

Means to Ends

This is a classic means to ends issue. If Lebanese politicos want to get women to the polls and this ad gets a significant number of them there, then is it worth the other signals it sends? Looking at its antithesis, if an ad were done that appealed to sophisticated media critics and outsider thinkers, would it deliver the same number of women voters? And if the answer to that is no, then does the end result of this ad morally outweigh the means? Of course, the preferable option would be a socially responsible ad that appeals to high numbers of women who wouldn't otherwise vote, and we all know those ads are out there...

I can hardly judge this

I can hardly judge this ad.
Lebanese people as a whole certainly have a reputation for being gorgeous. There were a lot of Lebanese girls in my school and the vast majority were extremely good looking. Beauty regimens might have had something to do with it, but I would imagine (based on purely anecdotal evidence) that Lebanese girls face a lot more pressure to maintain their looks, if only to keep up with that infamous reputation.
I always remember a young Lebanese woman at a makeup counter in DC. She said "if there were bombs, no electricity... we put on our makeup by candlelight."

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