|One of the women suspended, Khadija Khatab. (Photo: Al-Yawm al-Sabi)
Eight female commentators on Egyptian television have been suspended from their jobs until they lose weight. The Egyptian Radio and Television Union (ERTU) has told the women they have one month to slim down and that they can only return if they have an “appropriate appearance” — or face losing their job.
Khadija Khatab, a host on Egypt’s Channel 2, said she wants people to judge for themselves if she is “fat,” the BBC reported. Interestingly, ERTU’s director is a woman, Safaa Hegazy, and formerly worked as a presenter herself.
The controversial move has been widely condemned by women’s groups and by the presenters themselves. The Women’s Centre for Guidance and Legal Awareness was deeply critical of ERTU’s recommendation, labeling it a form of violence against women. They organization also noted that the move is in violation of the Egyptian Constitution.
The issue has even made its way into the Egyptian Parliament, with one male MP backing the newscasters noting of one that she “might be a little overweight, but she is eloquent,” adding, “Who is an ideal weight in Egypt?”
Some social media users were not so kind, according to the BBC, with online commentators calling the individuals bakabouzas, a derogatory term for overweight women.