What is Obscenity?

I am sharing a message i received this morning without mentioning its source:

“Isn’t it obscene to talk about sexuality, i mean mentioning and studying words like ‘vagina’ and ‘phallus’? Do you really need to do it, you feminists? Can’t you just talk about beauty, kids, cooking and shopping like other normal women would do?”

My answer:

First, let me define the word ‘obscene’: ‘repulsive’, ‘abhorrent to morality’, ‘taboo’, etc.

Second, based on the previous definition, what I find truly obscene is the following:

When a man rapes a girl or a woman and the law permits him to ‘wash’ his crime by marrying her.

When domestic violence is perceived as the only way to maintain the unity of the family.

When a small piece of flesh – hymen- is said to hold the ‘honor’ of a family-tribe-community and hundreds of women are murdered every year to ‘protect this honor’.

When thousands of teenagers cheer when a singer gets on stage in Beirut and verbally attack women using words like ‘cunt’, ‘bitch’, ‘whore’, while calling for rape and murder.

When advertising makes dismembered and dead women ‘hot’.

When media channels pump images of sexual exploitation and violence against girls and women.

When Abul al’abed jokes and other Lebanese jokes degrading women make people lough on a daily basis.

When bullying and harassment is seen by many as a proof of ‘manhood’ and ‘good quality testosterone’.

When countless armed groups and militias, murderers and warlords, are moving around freely, remaining unpunished.

When women do not have the right to control their own bodies, nor are trusted to be competent (professionally, morally, politically…) – when they are seen as ‘second class citizens’, ‘objects’ (bita3)!


Misogyny, sexism, racism, and all sorts of social injustices are OBSCENE!

Third, quoting Noam Chomsky, WAR IS AN OBSCENITY!
“The war is simply an obscenity, a depraved act by weak and miserable men, including all of us who have allowed it to go on and on with endless fury and destruction – all of us who would have remained silent had stability and order been secured”
(American Power and the New Mandarins (1969) )

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