It’s no longer a surprise to see so-called “scandalous” photos, videos, or recordings of women expressing or performing unconventional things spread across social media. For example, the sex tape of a USJ student was leaked and caused serious controversy over whether or not she “deserved” it for cheating on her boyfriend. Such a tape is considered revenge porn, which is, in my opinion, immoral. A more recent example of this is when Lebanese Twitter users spread voice messages of a woman explicitly expressing her sexuality in a WhatsApp conversation. The replies erupted with comments of disdain, name-calling, and shaming this woman. Some called her a “whore” or a “cheap woman” who doesn’t know self-respect.
Here’s the thing: this isn’t the first time something like this happens. Women getting shamed and humiliated on social media is a recurring event, and everyone expresses their disgust at the woman without giving the person spreading the content in the first place a second thought.
The point of this article is to shed light on the importance of holding the people who spread such explicit and intimate content accountable. Not only does this content damage the reputation of the woman involved, but it potentially puts her life in danger. There’s always the risk of the woman’s voice being recognized by people she knows such as her parents/guardians/family members, who may be conservative in their morals and values. This jeopardizes her relationship with her parents, friends, or social circle. In addition, if the woman’s identity is exposed, these voice recordings or photos may hinder her chances of employment in institutions that run social media background checks.
The perpetrator isn’t the only issue. We must also keep in mind that Lebanese society is relatively intolerant . Whether people agree with her actions or not, putting a woman down for doing something private with her significant other is none of anyone’s business, even if it doesn’t align with their values. This also goes back to how the Lebanese mentality (and perhaps the “Arab” mentality as a whole) still will not admit that women are sexual beings and have sexual preferences.
This is a call for sexual education. If sex can stop being such a taboo subject, then maybe we can all move on to focus on more important things that will help us improve as a society. If people can stop shaming women for being sexually active, then maybe we can dilute the stigma against women. If we can stand up to those who regularly spread such revealing content, then maybe we can save women from destruction of their reputation, and potentially, their lives.