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Egyptian TV Banning Female Presenters For Being Fat?

Apparently, Egyptian state television is going to adopt Victoria's Secret's standards.

Allegedly, Egyptian state television is keen on only presenting the truth, that's why they temporarily laid off eight female television presenters for being overweight – because, of course, we know as Egyptian women, our common look is all about size zero waists, above average heights, and possibly blonde beach-wave hair. Seriously?

According to Almogaz News and Laha magazine, Safaa Hegazi, director of Egyptian state TV, made the decision, which is joined with the condition of dieting for a month, losing weight and then returning when they've reached the totally attainable standards of state television. Again, seriously? The presenters include Mervat Negm and Yomna Hassan from Channel 1, Khadija Khattab and Sara el-Hilali from Channel 2, and four other presenters from Egyptian state satellite channels.

Apparently, this announcement comes from the notion that there is a general deterioration in the female 'Egyptian look', as in, "how Egyptian women look on TV today versus how they looked back in the day." It is quite disappointing that the decision is directed at women, in particular, and made and implemented by a woman. We don't mean to get all feminist, but, how about male TV presenters? Are they all in shape? They're no Clooneys either.

At some point, Egyptian Channel 3, was labelled as the 'bakabozza' (fat) channel, due to a number of overweight female TV presenters. Again, a very deprecative tone targeting women's bodies and their self-confidence when it comes to appearing in public.

We can't disagree that to be on TV, you need to have a particular look – chic, classy, and clean (and admittedly, we think some of them need an upgrade in those departments) but that look should not be defined by weight. This is not the first time the Egyptian state television has made such a decision, as per Almogaz news, in 2005 overweight presenters were called '7ezb el gemmeiz', a.k.a the fig tree party a.k.a the large in size party. The 2005 trend was not hiring overweight presenters, and warning presenters at the time to not show any potential weight gain. Not to mention, the infamous rule of state TV not hiring hijabi presenters – clearly, they have an obsession with policing women's bodies and choices.

The state television is also not doing itself justice by excluding people due to their weight, as they will definitely miss out on talented and competent presenters just because "they do not have the right look." We're not sure if this speaks about the culture of state television, or the culture of Egyptians as a whole. Either way, we wish this size-ism would just end, and more concerns and efforts going towards people being healthy, rather than 'thin'. 

Something to note is the fact that the state television's deterioration is actually in viewership, and we can tell you people didn't stop watching because of how presenters look, but rather, because of what they say.


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