Thursday, February 17, 2011

Sexism, There AND Here...

First let us wish CBS reporter Lara Logan a speedy recovery from her assault in Cairo’s Tahrir Square.  
Logan, her film crew and security guards went into the huge triumphant and celebratory crowd immediately after Mubarak resigned.  She became separated from her group and was brutally attacked, beaten and repeatedly sexually assaulted until she was rescued by a group of Egyptian women and about 20 Egyptian soldiers. [Here]  She flew back home the next morning and is recovering in an American hospital.
If this incident wasn’t horrifying enough, some rightwing nuts have jumped in and added their ideological spin to the horrifying event.  Media Matters [Here] picked up the following sick post from a wingnut named Jim Hoft, whose blog is called Gateway Pundit [Here], a part of a rightwing group of blogs and articles.
What is Hoft’s spin?  Here is his headline and a bit of the copy. [Here]
After Sexual Assault & Beating... CBS Reporter Logan Learns That Political Correctness Is a Killer...
Lara Logan is lucky she’s alive.
Her liberal belief system almost got her killed on Friday. This talented reporter will never be the same. 
Why did this attractive blonde female reporter wander into Tahrir Square last Friday? Why would she think this was a good idea?...

I won’t go on, but aren’t you sick of blame-the-victim thinking?  How could this Jim Hoft have blamed Lara Logan’s sexual assault on “political correctness?”  Did he simply forget that she is a reporter and that going into Tahrir Square with a camera crew and a security guard has nothing to do with political correctness?  It’s called being a journalist and reporting a developing story.

 Isn’t it interesting that this man completely ignored the fact that this woman was doing a job--an important job.  However, Hoft’s mindset is the same as the thugs that assaulted Logan.  A woman is a sexual object first, last, and forever--all else that she might be is immaterial.
Mona Eltahawy, the fine Egyptian journalist and feminist, has written extensively about the sexism that runs deep in Egyptian culture.  Her personal history as a woman growing up in Egypt is filled with incidents of sexual harrassment, beginning when she was 4 years-old.  What I also found shocking were statistics that she quoted from a recent Egyptian survey.  [Here]
...it was no surprise to learn that 98 percent of foreign women visiting Egypt and 83 percent of native Egyptian women who were recently surveyed said that they, too, had been sexually harassed, and they have recounted a catalog of horrors similar to mine. What an awful time to be a woman in Egypt.
...the majority of the more than 2,000 Egyptian men and women that ECWR [Egyptian Center for Women’s Rights] surveyed, blamed women for bringing on the harassment because of the way they dressed.
Eltahawy places part of the blame on women themselves for accepting this role.  She believes that it is shame and a sense of personal humiliation that allows this extreme sexism to continue.  She points out that in Egypt there isn’t even a law against sexual harrassment and thus no taboo.
Mona Eltahawy is a brave woman to continue to fight on.  
And so is Lara Logan... 

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