The latest in ridiculous body-shaming news doesn't come from Instagram or Facebook or Hollywood, but the other side of the globe; the Egyptian Radio and Television Union (ERTU) has ordered eight TV anchors off the air for a month to lose weight and come back with an "appropriate appearance," according to the BBC, who got the news from an Egyptian website.
These orders are coming from Safaa Hegazy, the director of state-run Egyptian radio and television, who was reportedly a former TV anchor herself. While this seems like a straight-forward case of body-shaming, this deserves a little more context. Apparently, viewership of state television (which many Egyptians regard as a biased news source), fell significantly after the 2011 uprising that removed President Hosni Mubarak from power, according to the New York Times. Some commentators are welcoming the change in presenters as a way to improve state TV ratings. Others, like Mostafa Shawky, a free-press advocate with the Association for Freedom of Thought and Expression, say that the low viewership has nothing to do with looks: "They don't understand that people don't watch them because they have no credibility, skills or quality," she told the Times. "But it goes to show that actual skill is not something they care about." The social media commentary is split, with some women supporting the TV presenters, and some joining in with the body-shaming, reports the BBC.
One of the suspended TV presenters, Khadija Khattab, a host on Egypt's Channel 2, is taking a stance against the suspension; she wants the public to watch some of her most recent appearances to judge for themselves and decide whether she really deserves to be prevented from working, according to the BBC.
But before you dismiss this as an Egypt-only problem, let’s not forget about the time this New York meteorologist was shamed for her alleged "underarm boob fat" and attire. We just hope one day women will be able to report the news without worrying about their weight, arms, or clothes—stateside or not.