No, Wanting to Date & Have Sex Doesn’t Make Lebanese Women Whores


and today I feel vindicated…

A Separate State of Mind | A Blog by Elie Fares

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It’s 2017 and we’re still talking about this, but then again what can you expect when one of your country’s “liberal” TV stations is more conservative than America’s Fox News?

Earlier today, following this viral blog post, MTV decided to take part of the crusade against the seriously bad show on LBCI called Take Me Out.

Whilst the blogpost they tried to copy was somewhat conservative in tone as is the writer who penned it, a relative of mine whom I respect enormously, MTV took it to another extreme by calling the women on the show, without explicitly saying the word, whores.

This happened after a guy took off his shirt on TV. So the women got the short end of the stick? If you don’t get it, don’t even try.

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To them, being on a TV show about dating and wanting to go out on dates or –…

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Academia, Love Me Back


It’s not only race at play here, it’s also misogyny and a bunch of bias and feers!
Viva Tiffany, these should be reasons why you will not quit and why your place in academia will make a difference.
Last night, I had a conversation with female Middle East Scholars who were discribing the misogyny, patriarchy and lack of ethics among the male scholars in the field. How they undermine women, abuse their position to build on others research and work, and ostracize those who are too humble or too proud to make a scene. I am sick of it!

TIFFANY MARTÍNEZ

My name is Tiffany Martínez. As a McNair Fellow and student scholar, I’ve presented at national conferences in San Francisco, San Diego, and Miami. I have crafted a critical reflection piece that was published in a peer-reviewed journal managed by the Pell Institute for the Study of Higher Education and Council for Opportunity in Education. I have consistently juggled at least two jobs and maintained the status of a full-time student and Dean’s list recipient since my first year at Suffolk University. I have used this past summer to supervise a teen girls empower program and craft a thirty page intensive research project funded by the federal government. As a first generation college student, first generation U.S. citizen, and aspiring professor I have confronted a number of obstacles in order to earn every accomplishment and award I have accumulated. In the face of struggle, I have persevered and continuously produced…

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An example of what is at stake in this election 


The Montana incest/rape victim did not receive justice because the minor child, violated by her own father, could not find anyone to speak in her favor. Not even her own mother, who pleaded the judge to have mercy on the rapist because his two sons needed him.To say that the judge gave the rapist a 60 days sentence because his misogyny, and the fact that he was moved by the sons need of their father were enough disregard the savagery of the crime and keep the daughter’s violator in the same house with her.

To say that the justice system needs the pleading of a victim for it to work is the textbook definition of discrimination and misogyny! That is why, until we have more women in the senate, on the Supreme Court, in cabinets and in the presidency, laws written by men will continue to serve men, or at least lack a woman’s perspective, the other half of our society, until now almost very silent, and after November 8, more and more vocal.

It is on each one of us Nasty Women to step up and get to the voting polls and #VOTE!! for #women, for #equality, for #justice, for the #LGBTQ community, for the #underdog, for the #environment, for our #children! #YallaVote, #ImWithHer, Hillary Clinton 2016 Hillary Clinton 1 Million Strong For Hillary Clinton in 2016 #NastyWomen #MadamPresident

Here is the feature in the #WashingtonPost about the stories of two teenage girls victims of rape and incest in Montana and California, USA.

Two fathers raped their daughters. One got 60 days in jail. The other? 1,503 years in prison.

Orlando Massacre: Hate, Extremism and Gun Proliferation


Rainbow-FlagI am infuriated about this atrocious act of hate in ‪#‎Orlando‬ ‪#‎Florida‬ and concerned about retaliation and escalation of violence and hate against both the LGBT and Muslim communities.
Let me be clear, hate and discrimination against the LGBT community is a common practice of bigots of all faiths, it is not foreign to the United States, in fact it is brewed here at home.
When US states and politicians pass laws and regulations that legalize state discrimination against their own citizens and spew hate and self righteousness against the universal right to love, to raise a family and to live in dignity; when all of this is happening at home, and when homophobia continues to be the feeling and the practice of many Americans of all faiths, I urge you all to look at this heinous crime beyond the ‪#‎ISIS‬ lens but also through the lens of the rampant bigotry and homophobia in the United States.
Let’s also not forget that what makes these mass killings possible is the resistance to passing proper gun control laws that make it more difficult for maniacs like Omar Mateen to execute their hate and kill innocent people.
Ironically, the deadliest mass shooting in the United States had to be against an ‪#‎LGBT‬ and a ‪#‎transgender‬ club for people of color, in a republican state, which Governor Rick Scott signed in March a law allowing pastors to religiously object to gay wedding…
And while people like Donald Trump want to reinforce a message of hate to ban all non ‪#‎American‬ ‪#‎muslims‬ from entering the ‪#‎US‬, it’s important to remind Mr. ‪#‎Trump‬ that ‪#‎Mateen‬ is American born, his ‪#‎homophobia‬ was brewed here at home, he practiced his hate for women and his ‪#‎misogyny‬ here at home and the guns he used to kill innocent people were acquired and purchased here at home! So please, spare us your sick wisdom and stupid solutions! CNN Politics CNN International MSNBC Los Angeles Times Hillary Clinton Donald.J.Trump Human Rights Campaign ‪#‎OmarMateen‬ ‪#‎MuslimAmericans‬ Eisenhower Fellowships ‪#‎PrideMonth‬ ‪#‎June2016‬ ‫#‏تفجير_اورلاندو‬

Why Hillary’s win is important to girls, women around the world


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Observing and talking to different people the past few days, I could not help this reflection: mothers and parents of girls are more likely to appreciate the historic moment of Hillary Clinton‘s nomination than mothers/parents of boys.
It seems that, mothers in particular, need to be reminded of all the things they were told they could not be, or do when they were girls. Boys were presidents, girls were mothers, teachers at most…

Girls “were told to not express their opinion too strongly — it’s not polite. To not challenge a man — it’s not ladylike”!

Wake up world, this woman made history for us. And yes it took a First Lady and a Senator and a Secretary of State, probably the most experienced politician who ever ran for president to clinch the nomination for The US presidency. Why? Because it’s a damn dysfunctional sick world that would not give the opportunity to women with less recognition or resume. A first term male senator is eligible to run but not a first term female… That’s why she was pulled away from her initial inspirational campaign message of equality to a more down-to-earth “I am experienced and qualified” kind of argument. Why? Because even her democratic opponent, yes the guy everybody is excited about his REVOLUTIONARY message, whether he was conscious of his misogyny or not, played the qualification argument against her.
Come on people! It’s perfectly normal to pull up the qualified argument against a woman but unthinkable to use it against of the 20 other candidates who ran for the nomination, which none of them match her experience. It’s ironic that out of all these candidates, only Carlie Fiorina, the other female candidate, faced the same kind of arguments. Telling, no?

She has always been a pioneer: for those who don’t remember, she went behind White House and State Department officials, changing her speech secretly at the last minute on her way to China and gave the landmark speech about Women’s Rights at the UN world conference on women in Beijing in 1995.
Her words: “women’s rights are human rights and human rights are women’s rights” scared officials back home. Yet she did not play it safe, she stood tall and made the case for women around the world. (See Full speech and video — http://tinyurl.com/ah9fx=:

Thank you ‪#‎HRC‬ for putting up with all the bullying and finally making history! Your words were spot on: it’s true that: “Tonight’s victory is not about one person. It belongs to generations of women and men who struggled and sacrificed and made this moment possible.”

Thank you #HRC, thank you ‪#‎DEMParty‬ and congratulations to ‪#‎America‬

Managing Your Feelings Is Not My Job


An amazingly well written piece! It so happens that I just read it after I had witnessed the discomfort one man exhibited at the sight of a news report about the historic win Hillary Clinton locked out yesterday. I mean, he was really disgusted he could not even finish is “Salade Niscoise”. And you would think a sophisticated guy in the 21st century sitting in the OBGYN wait area eating a sophisticated Salade Niscoise would be less offended to see women celebrating the nomination of the 1st woman president to a major world leading economy, and what he and his likes believe it to be the greatest nation on earth.
And of course this guy and his likes will be very upset and discomforted at the sight of all these feminists which came out of nowhere celebrating a long due and well earned win.
As my Arab kins would say: yalla ta shouf. Deal with it and be gone!
Here is a great read, for a good cynical laugh about all the bruised feelings of those who cannot be gracious losers, the way we have been for centuries.

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“Whistling girls and crowing hens always come to some bad ends,” my grandma used to say, just before she would tell me that while I was a gracious loser (she was right; I am), I was a “very poor winner.”  By that, my grandma meant that I loved winning too much and that, when I did win, I wasn’t good at pretending not to care.  And, she was right; I do and I’m not; it’s made me a hell of a lawyer.  My grandma loved me and she was just trying to prepare me for what she called “the real world.”

One of the almost unconscious (and completely unpaid) jobs that women are doing all the damn time is managing their own behavior in order to manage men’s emotions.  We do it so much that we’re often not even aware that we’re doing it.  While the Jungian projection is that…

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Only Passionate women run for president


Watching CNN International one of the political commentators described the Clinton/Sanders race as a battle between #Passion and #Pragmatism! I wonder how could one describe a woman’s long journey in public office Pragmatic?
It’s scaring, it’s tough and it takes all the passion in the world to start and finish the race! She’s been making politics better for people, sacrificing her personal life along the way. She’s been unfairly judged all the way and not on substance: scrutinized for the way she wares her hair, for the pitch of her voice and the color of her dress instead of looking at her track record of delivering change and policies in each position she assumed.
That’s why republicans are after her and don’t even mention Sanders! It’s because they know she can deliver, they know she can build consensus, they know she can be trouble because she understands politics and she knows how to make things happen!
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Fighting for minorities is not a political agenda for her, it’s a commitment she has long been upholding. First Lady Hillary Clinton with Latino Children

God knows I’m a dreamer, a daughter or two simple villagers who had not the opportunity to finish middle school. I’m a passionate woman, everything I do, I do out of passion! And so it insults me, deeply insults me, when Hillary Clinton is described as dispassionate and only pragmatic. This is just not right! Not fair and only stands as an argument because she is a woman! Passion is not about the way you keep your hair wild or shout on stage, passion is about commitment to those who have no voice, passion is about a track record of working on civil rights issues, fighting for Children Healthcare, reaching out to minorities when this was not yet a trending issue for politicians to exploit. Passion is about taking all these scars and moving on with a big heart and still be able to sit down at the table with opponents to make the government work for families, single moms, and every person who still believe in the #AmericanDream.
Thank you #Hillary for standing up for me, for taking on all this brutality for me, and for continuing the fight in this totally bias and unfavorable battlefield for me. #ImWithHer #EnoughIsEnough #ArtfulSmear #Misogyny #NoFairGame #DEMdebate
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She’s been fighting for your children and families even before she took public office. A grandmother, Hillary Clinton understands what families needs to grow and stay strong

Once Again Lebanon Defends Homophobia


LGBT-protestLebanon’s response to the Universal Period Review (UPR) recommendations on LGBT rights is very disappointing and full of lies and misleading arguments.

The Lebanese law enforcement apparatus continue to exercise violence, intimidation, arrests and violations against LGBT people based on the suspicion of their non hetero sexual orientation. Arrests have been documented last year and this year of over 30 people (those are the ones we know of) many of whom were exploited, tortured and humiliated.

The representative of the ministry of justice should be ashamed from such a response that is inhumane, misleading, full of lies and classifies same-sex relations as un-natural and portrays the “light sentencing” of misdemeanor as just and fair. The response also fails to point out that the two heroic judges who made the landmark rulings in favor of same-sex relations were ostracized and alienated by the ministry and the association of Judges. This is not acceptable, more pressure needs to be done to annul this shameful law that sets us back centuries in the past. People should be able to live in dignity regardless of who they love.

The Government should stop looking into our bedrooms and start by picking up the trash from the streets!  #YouStink #EqualityForAll, LGBT Rights are Human Rights, #StopDiscrimination

Here are the recommendations from the Universal Period Review followed by Lebanon’s disappointing response:

Universal Periodic Review – Lebanon
SOGIE Recommendations, November 2nd 2015 and the official response of Lebanon

Spain: recommends that Lebanon repeal article 534 of the criminal code and promoting protection of the LGBTI community.

Sweden: recommends securing the human rights of LGBT persons by amending article 534 of the Lebanese Penal Code and by codifying the protection against discrimination of LGBT persons into the law.

Austria: recommends that Lebanon reform existing laws that can be used to discriminate against LGBTI persons including article 534 of the Lebanese Penal Code criminalizing sexual acts against nature.

Canada: recommends that Lebanon repeal article 534 of the Lebanese Penal Code, which criminalizes homosexuality, and pass legislation to prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity.

Chile: recommends that Lebanon guarantee the protection of equal rights for LGBTI populations.

Czech Republic: recommends that Lebanon revise article 534 of the penal code so that it doesn’t discriminate against persons on the basis of their sexual orientation and gender identity.

Norway: recommends that Lebanon decriminalize homosexuality and ensure non-discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.

Response from a Representative from the Ministry of Justice:

“With regard to the rights of sexual minorities, when it comes to trying to combat violence on the grounds of sexual orientation, the government would like to indicate that article 534 of the Lebanese Penal Code punishes all acts deemed to be contrary to nature. Lebanese courts apply this provision, which criminalizes same-sex sexual relations. These are deemed to run counter to nature, however, Lebanese courts have adopted a fairly light touch with regards to punishing such crimes. A prison term is provided for in the legislation, but often, attenuating circumstances are applied and those concerned may be issued with a less serious sentence. Generally speaking, I can tell you that two criminal judges have handed down conviction in 2009 and 2014 and they ruled that article 534 did not apply to acts committed by persons of the same sex. Similarly, although the law punishes homosexual relationships, this law cannot be used as grounds to justify any violence on the basis of the sexual orientation of those persons. Similarly, I can tell you that the Lebanese justice system has rejected all sexual orientation based violence in all its forms and the public prosecutors office and the courts of appeal have issued a blanket ban on all physical examinations to seek evidence of same-sex sexual relationships since this has been deemed humiliating for all those involved. Instructions have been provided in very clear terms for law enforcement officials, the police. All forms of humiliation, discrimination, and violence against persons within this category are outlawed. Instructions have also been issued to medial professionals with a view to preventing any anal examinations, which may be deemed to be humiliating for those involved.”

Winning the Eisenhower Fellowship, an honor and a responsibility


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I am getting ready for an exciting two-month journey with the Eisenhower Fellowships, Women Leaders Program 2015 which will take me to Philadelphia, Washington DC, New York, Boston, Sedona, San Francisco, Seattle, Los Angeles, and Miami.
Like my explorer ancestors, I will be touring the US’s top local and international organizations, public and UN institutions, corporations and politicians to “explore” new ways to advocate for gender equality and equal rights for all. This journey will help me examine existing international conventions and US developed tools and strategies to make more impact on the gender reform agenda for Lebanon and the MENA region.
Throughout this fellowship, I will be posting photos, comments, blog posts and reflections and welcome your feedback and suggestions. Receiving the prestigious Eisenhower Fellowship is a great honor, but it is not a personal award; as you know me well, I will pay it forward! It is indeed winning an opportunity for the Lebanese Civil Society’s voice to be heard in the US and an excellent occasion to highlight all that my fellow activists have done so far and to examine partnerships and collaborations with the US, UN and international institutions.
I depart on this journey with a profound sense of pride in my fellow activists who are taking it to the streets in Beirut to speak-up against corruption, injustice and every undemocratic action the existing Lebanese “war-lords” politicians and their allies have used to hijack the first democracy in the Middle East… When I am asked, I will do everything I can to make your voices heard and your demands, our demands, properly underscored.
I am looking forward to this exciting journey and I know I will come back with lessons, tools, ideas and partnerships that will allow us all to work together for a better and inclusive society in Lebanon! Winning the Eisenhower Fellowship is an honor but also a great  responsibility. I have so many people to thank for mentoring me and supporting me in preparing for this journey, I shall thank you all by making the best out of this exceptional opportunity! Philadelphia, here I come!
Click here for my Eisenhower Fellowships introductory bio available on the Eisenhower Fellowship website.