Bikinis, Hijabs...Doesn't Matter: Arab Actress Attacked—Again

Published August 29th, 2017 - 10:12 GMT
The horror of a woman's shoulder. (Instagram / nellykarim_official)
The horror of a woman's shoulder. (Instagram / nellykarim_official)

Egyptian actresses Nelly Karim and Hala Shiha have been criticized over pictures they posted on social media, slamming them for what they were wearing.

Karim was recently shamed for posting a picture of herself wearing a bikini on the beach. While this week, former actress Shiha is said to have been criticized after sharing the first picture of her wearing an Islamic face veil or niqab. 

“When actors post pictures on their personal social media accounts, they understand that those platforms are public and thus, should be prepared that a backlash may follow,” Art critic Magda Khairallah said in comments to Arab News.

Bikini backlash 

Trolls began posting comments aimed at Karim when she shared a photo of her holidaying at one of Egypt’s Red Sea resorts earlier this month. 
Despite a non-provocative pose and showing little of her body, some users said Karim should not have posted the image at all.
Comments included: “We did not expect that from a star like you,” while another said: “I used to respect you, why did you do this?” and: “why are you wearing a bikini?” 

But some also defended her, saying she was free to wear what she wanted, adding that she “looked beautiful,” and telling her to ignore the criticism. 

Niqab controversy  

Meanwhile Shiha, who quit acting several years ago to focus on religion, shared a photo on Facebook of her wearing the niqab. 
Shiha shared the photo after being out of the public eye for several years, sparking backlash among users who questioned her wearing it.  

Some users began attacking her, saying she looked like a “trash bag.” Others were skeptical about her identity, because her face was covered. 

In response Shiha asked users to avoid the hatred and negativity.

She had quit acting years ago while at the peak of her career. She first decided to wear the headscarf in her 2006 film “Kamil El Awsaf.” 

At the time, fans embraced her new appearance. Later Shiha left the acting scene and traveled to the United States where she preaches Islam.

Public trolling

Art critic Khairallah said actors should be ready to accept all kinds of reactions when sharing posts with the public. 

“Social media for actors would allow them to better promote themselves to reach a wider audience, if done right.” 

“I personally think that Karim’s picture was normal, given that she was wearing what people usually do on the beach,” Khairallah said. 

“But some people are not aware of the fine line between an actor’s lifestyle and beliefs in their private life, and try too hard to force their opinions on them.”   

And the critic said fans may have been surprised by Shiha’s decision to post a picture of her wearing a niqab in public. 

Khairallah said several actresses in Egypt who had quit their careers and were veiled, had since disappeared from the media appearances.  

“People may have reacted that way because they are suspicious towards the message she could be trying to convey through her photo, questioning the timing and the purpose.”

“But throwing impolite comments at her the way we saw is definitely unacceptable.”

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