Stop Suspending Women News Anchors Because of Their Weight

News Camera - Umair Mohsin

Target: Safaa Hegazy, Director of the Egyptian Radio and Television Union

Goal: Reverse decision to suspend eight female television broadcasters due to their weight.

Eight female news anchors on Egyptian state television have been suspended due to their weight. In their one-month suspension, they have been told to go on a diet and lose weight before they can reappear on their broadcasts. The Egyptian Radio and Television Union (ERTU), the organization behind the suspensions, has told the women they must attain a more “appropriate appearance.”

No males were suspended by ERTU, leaving many, including women’s groups, to claim that the suspension was not only harmful but sexist. The Women’s Centre for Guidance and Legal Awareness says that the controversial action violates the constitution and is nothing less than violence against women.

The women will be compensated with their full pay and benefits during their month-long suspension. However, the decision should be reversed. In broadcasting, the appearance of the news anchor should not matter. It is the content that is important, as well the way the broadcaster sticks to ethical, objective, and fair journalistic standards. The appearance of a news anchor, whether it is her age, her race, or her weight, does not affect this.

To suspend these women is not only harmful but dangerous. It sets a precedent that good reporting and fair news takes a back seat to the physical appearance of the woman reporting it. In addition, the suspension of only women and no men insinuates a bias on the part of ERTU that women cannot do an admirable job if they do not meet society’s standards of beauty. Sign the petition to let the director of ERTU know that this decision is sexist, harmful to the women involved, and damaging to the credibility of their news channels.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear Ms. Hegazy,

Eight women have been suspended from Egyptian state television due to their weight. The Egyptian Radio and Television Union, your organization, has given the women only one month to achieve an “appropriate appearance,” leading many to wonder what an “appropriate” physical appearance for a woman really entails, and why it takes precedence over the work these women have achieved in the broadcasting industry.

As a woman yourself, you cannot be unaware of the inherent sexism in the decision. No men have been suspended. As a woman yourself, you also cannot be unaware of how harmful this decision is to not only the women affected but to all women. The decision of your organization insinuates that it is physical beauty, not work ethic, that deems a woman a valuable employee. The content and the reporting these women do, not their appearance, is what should be considered, and to claim otherwise very negatively impacts the credibility of your organization, in addition to damaging all of the progress women have made in the working world thus far. I urge you to reverse this decision and reinstate the female broadcasters who were so unfairly humiliated and suspended.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: Umair Mohsin

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11 Comments

  1. OF COURSE no men were suspended…their role is not be there as sex objects!

  2. paul dabnor says:

    obesity causes hundreds of health problems that can be resolved by healthy diet and exercise. It is NOT normal, and obese people should not be used as role models.

    • My medicine makes me put on weight but I can’t stop taking it because I get really ill without it.

    • Maureen Kavanagh says:

      It has nothing to do with health….it has to do with their being objects of desire to get men to watch this news channel…and btw no one said that they were obese, only that they had gained some weight….

  3. Are you running a news agency, or a fashion show? Newscasters should be hired on the basis of their journalistic skills and delivery; not on their superficial appearance. Of course people need to be presentable, but it is deeply insulting to insist that women newscasters look like anorexic models. It’s news- not an insipid fashion show.

  4. Piotr Grabowski says:

    What Paul Dabnor wrote. Smart move. Good someone had courage to do it. Young men generally don’t care about obesity of their role models. Young women on the other hand usually subconciously seek comfort by looking on other women. It’s basic psychology. Learn it so you won’t feel offended. 😉 And it’s a practical observation in live. So, good move folks from television, only offer to pay for some pro psychological help to these women as obesity may be wery well and often is a sign of lacking a feeling of happiness and/or love (the general love, kindness, not necesaryly the erotic one) in life and everything would be good. So, won’t sign this petition as it’s a lot of noise about nothing and such petitions could result in making a holy cow out of obesity. It would be straight slow genoside. So, petition makers and defenders of opressed – start to THINK longterm!

    • My medicine make me put on weight but I have to have it to stop me getting ill. One girl put on a lot of weight because she had to keep injecting herself with insulin and she was bullied by men so much she stopped the injections. Now she has liver and heart disease and she has gone irreversibly blind. If only men weren’t so narrow-minded and arrogant. Men like to talk about their own rights all the time but they haven’t got the mental ability to empathise with others.

    • Maureen Kavanagh says:

      Again no one said these women were obese…only that they had put on some weight…btw why is it that women must be sexy but men can be any weight they want? No one put any men on staff on this month long diet…only the “eye candy” had to lose weight…if you are so concern about health then ask are there no over weight men at this station? If these women are competent at their jobs, why are they being shamed about their weight gain? Again because they were only hired to be sexy and get men to watch the news channel.

  5. Patricia Dumais says:

    Are we talking anorexic or normal weight? Are they really targeting women or do the overweight just all happen to be women?

    It’s a fact that an attractive and competent news anchor (male or female) will bring in more viewers than a less attractive equivalent and let’s not forget that broadcasters survive on ratings.

    I sympathize with the sufferers but we should not normalize obesety — it is an illness that brings with it many other health conditions that tax our health system.

  6. How do you know these women are obese, it it is not healthy to lose alot of weight in a month. I bet you they are not even fat but they just put these higher standardss on women. Why no men suspended???
    This is silly!

  7. Lisa Zarafonetis Lisa Zarafonetis says:

    Signed & Shared❗️😠

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