A statement made by the Lebanese Interior Minister during a TV interview has sparked a lot of social debates over what was described as "misogynistic speech," after the minister announced lockdown measures in the country where restaurants will be closed and delivery services will be discontinued for two weeks. Among reactions, several men decided to express their stance in a humorous, yet active way.
هيدا وزير الداخلية قال معليش”خلي النسوان يطبخوا شوي." معالي الوزير متقل ذكورية على العشاء . عينة عن مستوى الخطاب و الوعي بين السياسيين بهالبلد. Lebanon’s minister of interior ahead of tomorrow’s lockdown “let the women cook”when asked abt the closure of restaurants and delivery pic.twitter.com/GnxtsurOWT— Dalal Mawadدلال معوض (@dalalmawad) November 13, 2020
Answering the LBCI questions over what people should do during the two-week lockdown where no restaurant services are allowed, the minister Mohammad Fahmi answered "jokingly": "Let women cook."
His statement was immediately met by objections from social media users, both women and men, saying that it's "disrespectful to women and deliberately aims to promote traditional gender roles."
This is really shameful! No self awareness or respect, and not only to women.... ?— Lamis Chahoud (@LamisChahoud) November 14, 2020
Did you expect better ?— قل كلمتك و إمشِ Sam Arrar (@samarrrar) November 13, 2020
Lockdown with silly exceptions and silly rules instead of regulating the businesses
This is what happens when names fill chairs with no prior achievements no records no clear vision
However, a number of men decided to show a more active response to the minister's statement and posted photos of themselves while cooking and cleaning the kitchen, using the hashtag #تحدي_فهمي: "the Fahmi challenge."
Browsing through posts using the hashtag, men expressed their rejection of the minister's statement, saying that "nothing is unusual" about men of their generation taking part in house chores, which goes against the traditional gender roles still promoted by older generations.
Translation: "Please don't tell minister Mohammad Fahmi that I'm in the kitchen to cook. He might issue a ticket for me as my acts violate lockdown measures."
Translation: "Make sure Fahmi doesn't see this photo or else he might collapse by the sink."
Due to the sharp spike in confirmed COVID19 cases in the country over the last few weeks, in addition to the fragile condition in Lebanese hospitals which was aggravated last August after the blast hit several neighborhoods in the capital city, the Lebanese government has announced a two-week lockdown starting last Saturday.
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