Rima Karaki is a Lebanese news anchor and a brave, inspirational woman. In this video clip, she attempts to redirect an interview when her subject goes off on a tangent, but unfortunately the speaker — who was supposed to be talking about Christians joining extremist groups like Isis — refuses to be interrupted because… you guessed it…. she’s a woman. Without watching the clip, perhaps you would guess that I am assuming that he’s behaving in this way because of her gender. Sadly, that is not the case. He explicitly states — a few times — that he will not be interrupted by a woman and that he refuses to be told what to do by any woman, even if she is the head of the news program.
This clip shows sexism on several levels, and shows how individual women can combat it in many ways. Most obviously, Karaki is a Lebanese woman in a very public position on television, a move which her own family called “irrational.” Although Lebanon’s constitution does legally protect all citizens, in practice, there are no gender based discrimination clauses, and women rarely obtain upper-level positions in their careers and often are not treated as equals to men. This treatment is primarily due to the multiple religions in the area and their views on how women should be treated. Karaki has fought against her odds however, to become a banker in her previous career and now, a popular news anchor. In this way, she has combated the cultural sexism that exists in her society.
Additionally, she is experiencing overt, interpersonal discrimination throughout this interview. Although Hani Al-Seba’i’s opinions about women and where “their place” in society is is culturally based, he has thoroughly internalized these views and is seemingly incapable of treating Karaki with the same respect she is showing him. Karaki hardly seems flustered however. She attempts multiple times to re-direct the conversation, alluding to the amount of time they have spent arguing, rather than discussing the important interview topic, and yet, he will not stop.
Ultimately, Karaki decides that she has had enough of his sexist talk. She turns his mic off and carries on with the news. My hero.