During a televised interview with Al Jadeed in regards to the ongoing investigation of the Beirut’s port explosion, former minister of social affairs Rashid Derbas made a crude comparison between the investigation’s secrecy and women’s virginity.
The former minister said that a lawsuit of this immensity losing its secrecy would be similar to a girl losing her virginity. He was actually as blunt in his offensive statement that he actually said: “a girl losing her hymen.”
Probably using the word virginity wasn’t prudish enough for him.
The public remark, which is not only sexist but improperly sexual, coming from an official highlights a great amount of backward thinking, let alone being totally out of context.
Naturally, it earned him some unflattering names on social media as it sparked outrage among Lebanese people.
One social media user wrote: “Why is he even comparing anything to ‘the hymen of a girl’? When will we finish with these examples and comparisons?”
While the backward thinking about a woman’s virginity is subject to debate, – a complete social construct with no scientific base other than its absence is not necessarily due to intercourse – the fact that the politician dared to speak about it so improperly is appalling and offensive.
Such disrespect for women’s intimacy in a broadcast interview further denotes how officials in Lebanon allow themselves to cross the line with their conceit towards women, the larger percentage of the population.
Only a month ago, another official, none other than the caretaker Interior Minister, dared to conceit Lebanese women in a TV interview, sparking fierce reactions from the public, although it was not as indecent and appalling as this new one.
That same minister went even degrading our women in their intelligence, education, and capability when he claimed, during another TV interview, that women cannot be prime ministers.
What these officials are unaware of is that these attacks against women are a form of verbal abuse and violence.