She Runs the Show!
She Runs the Show!
Videos of Lebanese TV host Rima Karaki shutting down an interview with a sexist Islamic scholar are all over the internet, for good reason! After Karaki politely asked the scholar to stop digressing from the topic at hand, why more and more Christians were joining ISIS, he yelled at her for “interrupting him”, and then stated that she wasn’t fit to interview him - because she was a woman. However, through this entire ordeal, Karaki stood her ground and made it known that this was her show, and on her show, mutual respect was mandatory.
Even though Sheikh Hani Al-Siba’i, the Egyptian Islamic scholar, was incredibly rude to Karaki, saying things like “Are you done? Shut up so I can talk.”, Karaki still continued on with the interview. However, the last straw seemed to be “ “It’s beneath me to be interviewed by you. You are a woman who ….”, after this offense, Karaki made it clear that she was running the show, and if he wanted to participate, he’d be following her rules.
This incident definitely shines a light on the misogyny in the Middle East, especially those involved in fields that are mostly male dominant, and how unequal both genders truly are. The fact that Al-Siba’i refused the interview only because he thinks that, as a man, he is better than Karaki, is astounding. Here, in the United States, many people may unfortunately harbor this thought process, but they wouldn’t dare say anything of the sort on broadcast TV. The same can’t be said for the Middle East; this thought process seems to be rather prevalent there. Without all the social media buzz that arose around all this controversy, people wouldn’t really see this as a big ordeal, and that in itself, is an issue.
In the Middle East, only 16% of broadcast journalists are female. This clip only skims over the patriarchal society that professional Middle Eastern women have to deal with. In any field, even when women have opportunity to succeed they must first trounce stereotypes that have been cultivated within culture and predominantly male societies. Another issue that contributes to this whole problem is the specific stereotype of women having to appear weak and insignificant, and the media that perpetuates that.
One of the only hopes for remedying this situation is taking to social media activism. Telling stories online often leads to having an incredibly large audience and the ability to quickly and safely spread ideas and political engagement. In this specific incident, with Rima Karaki, hundreds of thousands of people have tweeted about how much she inspires them or how important they think what she did was. Through frequent activism and invincible storytelling, injustices, like the one that occurred on Al-Jadeed TV, will soon be abolished.
Prathusha Yeruva hails from the Great Lake state and is currently a sophomore at Troy Athens High School. She has an interest in biology and journalism, as well as in female empowerment. She founded a She's the First chapter at her high school (an organization that sponsors girls' education in the developing world), and that opportunity has definitely given her a more developed lens on women's issues globally. In addition to writing for Her Culture, she also writes for the women's issues column at She Speaks Media. She challenges herself academically with AP classes, participates in a wide variety of clubs, and values her Indian culture. In her free time, Prathusha drinks an abundance of coffee, listens to indie bands, and uses ampersands & parentheses excessively. She's so excited to be writing for Her Culture!