A Diamond’s Eye View of the World

a multi-faceted look at the middle east, and the middle west

the presence of men

Posted by adiamondinsunlight on June 3, 2008

The advertisement below has been running on the Daily Star, thanking Lebanese people for attending the free concerts held downtown last week. Seeing it makes me furious. Can you guess why?

Why are there no women anywhere in the first ten “rows”? What kind of public space did these concert-givers create, in which women felt either physically or psychologically unwelcome?

Did women move out of the front rows because there were too many aggressive young men jostling one another for a better view? Did they leave because there were too many hormonal young men with whispered comments and groping hands? Did they leave because their parents would not let them stay out so late on a week night, while their brothers were less restricted?

I find this advertisement, and the reality its photograph depicts, appalling. This is not the image of Beirut that I want to “live on”.


6 Responses to “the presence of men”

  1. Tantalus said

    When Haifa Wehbe is on stage, the stags scuffle for front row positions. Call it foot fetish, or call it flesh worship. Whatever it is, Wehbe’s the reason downtown smelled of testosterone when this photo was taken. 🙂

    Ironically, Hariri’s MEDGULF ad chose to show the Hariri mosque rather than the godless Wehbe. Also in the photo, “Virgin” megastore. A mosque, a virgin and a lot of people. That’s so far from the truth.

  2. Whenever somebody throw a free concert, first thing I think of is that only “nawar” people will be attending, and let’s not forget the smelly armpits!! 😀 That’s Probably the reason why you did not see girls in the frame.

  3. moose said

    Ironically, as I read Diamond, Tantalus and Rami, I am watching two doves (peace symbols) going at it on my terrasse. Go PEACE Go.

  4. intlxpatr said

    I would feel outraged too, but reading the comments above, it sounds to me like the women scented danger and used their wisdom and intuition to keep themselves out of a chaotic and potentially harmful situation . . .

    I love your insights, Diamond.

  5. Tantalus – you’re so right about Haifa. But I’m not sure that this was her concert – I was told that the crowd was basically the same for all four (with the possible exception of the fifth, Magda Roumi’s concert on Sunday).

    Rami, I am totally with you on the smelly armpits issue. And not to be sexist, but I do think that guys have a higher tolerance for spending time doing various types of “nothing”. Girls somehow manage to find better uses for their time :).

    But what I see here is that there was not ONE woman in the front rows – which to me says it was not only an aesthetically unappealing space to them, but also an uncomfortable space. That’s what bothers me.

    Moose, I hate to tell you this, but doves are less poetically known as pigeons. Peaceful or no, they are one species that Beirut has far too many of already. I hope they were using protection :)!

    Hi khalti,

    I totally agree – I think it had the potential to be a dangerous situation for any women present. That’s what makes me mad – these were meant to be concerts at which all Lebanese could feel welcome. But the picture indicates that 50% of the population _didn’t_ feel comfortable – and the concert organizers seem to have done nothing to ameliorate this!

  6. moose said

    Methinks we are beginning to flog a dead horse here. Women ALLOWING men to elbow their way ahead of them in Beyrouth is not about to change. The Moose stood in line at the City Mall MacDo last wknd and I noticed (I’m new here as you can see) that women allow these testosterone factories to squeeze ahead of them (and me, an old geezer) all the time. When I asked the lady ahead of me, “Pourquoi le laissez-vous passer comme ça?” she answered, “Mais, vous êtes au Liban monsieur…” Yah…right!

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