Gold's Gym and body shaming in Egypt

Gold's Gym and body shaming in Egypt
The body image of women has taken the spotlight in Egypt this week, with a gym posting sexist adverts and the state's broadcaster urging female TV presenters to slim down.
2 min read
17 August, 2016
Gold’s Gym has terminated its franchise in Egypt following the incident [Getty]
The Egyptian branch of an American chain of gyms came under fire this week for posting sexists advert on its Facebook page.

Gold's Gym franchise in Cairo, Gold's Gym Dreamland, posted an image of a pear with the caption "This is no shape for a girl," sparking outrage on social media.

Social media users pointed to older adverts posted by the gym shaming female body image, including one showing the silhouette of an obese woman eating a chicken drumstick, with a fit woman inside of her trying to kick her way out, captioned "Challenge yourself."

Gold's Gym Dreamland quickly responded with, "our apology, this post was not meant to offend anyone, and not against God's creation, or any type of women's body, it was meant to refer to a Healthy Fit body and cutting fats, not the actual structure of the body."

However, the gym's headquarters in the US posted a long apology across their social media platforms on Tuesday, distancing themselves from their branch in Egypt.

Gold's Gym also moved to terminate the Egyptian franchise, while Gold's Gym Dreamland Facebook page was taken down.

But this was not the only subject causing a stir over women's body image in Egypt this week.

Egypt's state broadcaster suspended eight female TV presenters, instructing them to go on a diet, al-Yawm al-Sabi site reported on Sunday.

The Egyptian Radio and Television Union [ERTU], headed by a woman, gave the presenters one month to slim down to an "appropriate appearance" before returning on air.

The move prompted one of the presenters, Khadija Khattab, to urge viewers to watch some of her recent TV appearances and decide for themselves whether she was "fat."

The country's Women's Centre for Guidance and Legal Awareness took to Facebook to condemn the broadcaster's move, saying it was a form of violence against women and violates the constitution.

However, media commentators were torn between agreeing with and criticising ERTU.

Journalist of state-owned al-Ahram daily, Fatma al-Sharawi, applauded the policy, adding it should be applied across all broadcasting stations, the BBC reported.

But author Waheed Abdul Majid urged the channel to focus on content it delivered rather than the way the presenters looked.

Meanwhile, lawmaker and journalist Sayyid Hegazy spoke out for the presenters in parliament, asking "who is an ideal weight in Egypt?" al-Balad site reported.

A presenter "might be a little overweight, but she is eloquent," he added.