Lebanese Politician Samir Geagea recently posted a picture allegedly raising awareness on early marriage via his official Facebook page. The post set off an outrage on social media as it was deemed discriminatory, demeaning and sexualizing.
The poster shows a young female child in a pink ballerina dress with pink ballerina shoes, supposedly representing the horrific idea of early marriage.
The question is: did it achieve what it was planned to achieve? Did it really raise awareness?
A brief answer would be no.
Instead, it has demonstrated discrimination and has stressed on the fragility of female children, making the entire post completely out of place.
The picture with a pink background – naturally – reads the following text:“ما تقطفها قبل وقتها”. The statement translates to: “Don’t harvest her (or it?)- before it/she is ripe/ready.”
The first outrageous thing about the statement is the fact that a human being’s entire existence is being linked and described in similarity to a flower or fruit. No matter how highly we could think of a fruit or a flower, this can be of no justification to this comparison as it is nothing less than demeaning and degrading to the human being herself.
The second undoubtedly degrading aspect of the poster is how this female child is deemed to be ready at some point in her life—a point of ripe—to be harvested by a male person and become of use, at last.
This does not only negate the simple character of human capability and independence but also objectifies the female and re-establishes the stigma around her being an object of sex.
What is most certainly appalling about the post is the categorization of the child female as a Barbie doll that is extremely fragile, powerless, and vulnerable. It sexualizes the female through showing only the lower part of her body.
Posts like this one are not rare. This picture represents a mentality that has been ongoing in the country and in the region for a long time. The post started out as a way to raise awareness on the gravity of early marriage but ended up reestablishing the same stigma and discriminatory practices which usually lead us towards the same cycle of early marriage, rape, and sexual abuse.