Egyptian TV Suspends “Fat” News Anchors Until They Look More “Appropriate”

Just when you stupidly assume some progress is being made somewhere in the world when it comes to sexism, something completely shitty happens. Like Egypt’s state television suspending female anchors for being fat. Yup. The Egyptian Radio and Television Union suspended eight female anchors for a month, and they can only return when their appearances are more “appropriate,” according to The New York Times. That “appropriate” is what makes me want to punch a TV exec in his (because of course it’s a man) face. Safaa Hegazy, a former anchor and now head of the station, has ordered the women to go on a diet during their suspension if they want to get their jobs back.

There are not enough foul expletives in any language to sum up how terrible this is. Hegazy has been on a mission to get ratings up and make the network less “dowdy.” The New York Times reports Khadija Khatab, one of the women suspended, had not been officially notified of the diet order, but someone told her “measures” would be taken if the women don’t lose weight by mid-September. So that fucker didn’t even say it to their faces, which is sort of galling. He should be suspended for being a fucking wimp.

It also makes me think that even though the debates we have in America, like Amy Schumer not wanting to be called plus-sized or networks having only skinny, white, blonde women with legs for days on screen, could be a lot worse. I mean, it’s definitely not perfect. Shit, Fox’s Roger Ailes resigned for allegedly asking women to twirl around or let him unzip his pants. Shit is messed up all over the place. But suspending women until they look more appropriate for the male gaze — basically saying loud and clear that more men will watch if the women are more like what men think they should be — is something out of the fucking twilight zone.

These Egyptian women were luckier than some just for being “allowed” to be journalists on TV in the first place, since many countries and networks all over the world don’t even give women who don’t have the “ideal” female look the chance to do a screen test or even time of day, but their suspension shows just how much value is placed on women’s appearance on TV. In an ideal world, female anchors all over the place would wear sweats and not relax their hair before going on-air until that sexist pig is shamed into learning from his mistake.