We Need To Talk About Sexual Harassment in Ramadan 2021 Dramas and TV

Hey, remember when a lot of women and girls came forward with stories of sexual harassment, assault, and rape and that spurred the whole country into actually having important conversations? Well, these conversations were apparently forgotten the minute they happened by some scriptwriters.

Yeah. So, despite the fact that it is 2021, we’re still getting a lot of incredibly iffy, borderline uncomfortable scenes that we really need to talk about. And we need to talk about just how much they don’t work in light of the current day and age.

That one scene in Melook El-Gad3ana

Look, here’s the thing about critical media consumption — you can like something and be aware it has horrible elements. And this is exhibit A because this scene is just horrendous. See, Yasmine Raeis’s character says that she wants Amr Saad’s character to “sexually harass” her. No, we’re not exaggerating. She did not say ‘flirting’ or anything of the sort — she said ‘I wish you’d sexually harass me’ because she loves him.

And that’s supposedly acceptable because we did not spend an entire year (and most of our lives, if we’re being honest) discussing sexual harassment, right? Obviously, all women from that character’s social background talk like that, right? Please, do note the sarcasm here.

Stalker Boy from Harb Ahleya

We can let a lot of things slide, for the sake of dramatic tension. If a love story just does not make sense, we’ll give it a pass and if a plot point doesn’t, well, we’ll try to pretend otherwise. But if it’s literally said that one character was following another character around, insisting on being romantic when the other person repeatedly said no, then it’s just unpassable.

It seems like the actor himself found this whole “no means yes” schtick funny enough to make a joke about it on Instagram. And it just makes you think — if the actor found this funny when he’s in on it, then everyone else must see it as insanely cute.

Victim-blaming in Del Ragel

In case you haven’t seen it, this Yasser Galal drama is about a hardworking man raising two daughters with his sickly wife. One day, his eldest daughter begs him to go to a birthday party that ends with her in the ER in severe condition and it’s later found out that this was intentional, just so her pregnancy could be force-ended.

And the thing is, Yasser Galal’s character doesn’t even really know what happened to his daughter before he runs into her room and starts yelling at her while she’s in a coma. And he keeps that for several episodes, saying that she ‘willingly put them through hell‘ — Again, he has no idea what happened but somehow he’s blaming her just as much.

Any time a conventionally attractive woman appears on Ramez Galal’s show

You know how every year, we talk about horrible incidents that revolve around bullying or sexual harassment? Yeah, so any progress we make is always reset back to a steady ‘zero’ the minute Ramez Galal comes on air. Especially, with regards to sexual harassment.

It’s not exactly a TV show, but every Ramez Galal episode when a woman he deems attractive is the guest follows the same format. Lots of comments about her clothes, creepy looks and creepier comments about her appearance, and the ‘prank’ will somehow highlight that. Hey, you’ve seen the Lurdiana episode – judge for yourself. And just because she said she was okay with it, doesn’t mean that doesn’t add to the normalization of sexual harassment.

The saddest thing about all of these scenes — whether they’re blaming the victim or normalizing sexual harassment in ‘comedy’ or normalizing the very creepy idea of “stalking for love” — is that we thought our dramas (our TV programs) would finally be doing better.

Sad, isn’t it? The fact that the Egyptian Drama world didn’t at all consider the fact that viewers just so happen to be people and that these people have been in the very real, very un-funny situations that border on harassment and sometimes worse.

Honestly, we don’t know how scenes like these would end up making it on air when El-Tawoos, reportedly about the Fairmont Gang Rape, is airing at the same time. How do these two extremes line up exactly?

If the moral here is that it’s somehow okay to just “pepper” in a little sexual harassment and hope we don’t “take it too hard”, then we’re sorry to say it but that won’t be happening.

And these are just the things we noticed, by the way!

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