Society Magazine

What Happens When Women Publicly Stand Up For Themselves

Posted on the 27 May 2015 by Juliez
What Happens When Women Publicly Stand Up For Themselves

Rima Karaki

Women are disrespected far too often. They’re frequently interrupted, talked over, or directly insulted. So, it is particularly satisfying — even cathartic — when a woman publicly takes a stand against this treatment.

Influential Lebanese TV host Rima Karaki recently did just that. A BuzzFeed article titled Badass Journalist Shuts A Man Down After He Says It’s Beneath Him to Be Interviewed By A Woman featured Karaki’s brilliant take down of a rude, insulting scholar named Hani Al-Seba’i who ordered her to be silent. “I run the show,” she reminded him before ultimately cutting off Al-Seba’i’s transmission.

I was floored by Karaki’s compelling and brave actions — especially considering that she acted in a culture which tends to uphold traditional gender roles.I am a Classics major and am familiar with how deeply misogynistic views are embedded in history. There is actually a myth, for example, about the Greek god Zeus creating women as a punishment for men — and plenty of other similar stories told in cultures around the world.

Yet I’m still shocked when educated people express these views in this day and age. It would be ignorant to say that as a global community we are close to eliminating gender inequality, but is it so far fetched to expect that individuals — especially an educated scholar like Al-Seba’i — would know better than to insult respected female news anchors on live television, or to think that being interviewed by Karaki is insulting in the first place?

In fact, I thought Karaki’s reaction to the situation was more than badass. Not only did she skillfully attempt to keep Al-Seba’i on track and focused in spite of his insulting behavior, she reminded him of the respect her crew had for him. She remained poised under fire, indicating her professionalism and maturity.

Browsing through the comments section on the BuzzFeed page, therefore, I was not surprised to see individuals claim their new mantra is “either there is mutual respect, or the conversation is over.” And while some of the comments referenced Al-Seba’i’s word choice and questioned if he was truly degrading Karaki on the basis of her gender, I find it pretty hard to believe he would react this way to a male anchor in the same position.

Karaki is a prime example of how women can respond to the disrespect they routinely face not by stooping to the level of sexist others who dismiss us, but instead responding with maturity and creating room for dialog. Women must refuse to be anybody’s doormat any longer and stand up for ourselves and other women alike. When we do, it creates a chain reaction: People listen and pay attention. Acts such as these encourage women and girls everywhere to go to work or to school every day and hear their inner voice saying, “In this studio, I run the show.”

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