Brains, not Vaginas, are what make Lebanese women powerful


By Juliana Yazbeck, Now Lebanon

21-year old Lebanese pornstar Mia Khalifa grew up in Lebanon before moving to the U.S.
21-year old Lebanese pornstar Mia Khalifa grew up in Lebanon before moving to the U.S.
And so Mia Khalifa emerges from the murky waters of the porn industry. Naturally, Lebanon responds. Lebanon always has an opinion, and its opinion is the only opinion that matters.

It seems the big question is whether or not she is “free to do what she wants with her body.” Social media comments flood our newsfeeds, divided between: “Of course she is free, it’s her body! It’s not up to men to tell her what to do” and “No, she is not free to do something like that with her body when we are fighting for respect and against domestic violence.”

We are forgetting the main issue here. It is not whether or not she is free. Of course she is. That isn’t even debatable. What we are forgetting are the contexts: one being the porn industry; and the other, Lebanon.

As a Lebanese woman, I spend what feels like 70% of my energy fighting against sexism, especially intellectual sexism. It got so bad that I left the country. Some women — and I admire them for taking on such an arduous cause — have chosen to stay in Lebanon and continue to fight. Sexism in the workplace, sexism in social situations, sexism on the street… these are all very real. Sexism exists everywhere, but in Lebanon I found it unbearable. I could no longer bear being censored in my work. I could no longer accept that being intelligent meant being single, because I could not dumb myself down for the sake of being with a man. It was affecting my professional life, social life and romantic life.

For someone who has struggled so much to assert their presence as a human being with a working, thinking brain, I cannot deny that I felt a pang of despair when Mia erupted across social media and entertainment news. It never even crossed my mind to think, “she doesn’t have the right.” What did cross my mind was: “Really? Of the very few Lebanese women who are making global headlines, it had to be a porn star?” It felt like I had traveled for months, and just as I was nearing my destination, someone used my passport to wipe their ass, undoing all my hard work and sending me back to square one.

Mia's popularity on Instagram and Twitter helped propel her porn career
Mia’s popularity on Instagram and Twitter helped propel her porn career
The general excitement and support Mia has been met with, especially from the “liberal” male population of Lebanon, is understandable. After all, the more sexual liberty Lebanese women find, the easier it will be for the average Lebanese male youth to copulate. But that is not our issue. We have no problem whatsoever finding opportunities to copulate — in fact, more often than not we find ourselves fending off potential sexual partners.

One of the most intelligent people I know (and I think in this instance it is well worth mentioning that she is a woman) once said to me: “There is no such thing as being ‘sexually liberal.’ You are either liberal or you are not.” I found this particularly enlightening. To be liberal means to be so towards religion, education, politics, race, social issues, and sexuality. You cannot be ignorant in one field and still call yourself “sexually liberal.” This is where I think some of us Lebanese women are struggling. It pains me to see a fellow Lebanese woman — or any woman really — turn to sex when she finds it nearly impossible to use her brain in such a patriarchal society.

I was recently asked to read a script and give a cultural opinion on it. I came across a line in the script: “I used to think George Clooney was smart, until he married a Lebanese.” It stung. When asked for my opinion, I told the director: “This line is racist.” I found myself thinking about the line over lunch. The more I thought about it, the more I realized it wasn’t just racist, it was horribly sexist. The joke was not on the Lebanese, the joke was on Lebanese women. The joke was on a particularly intelligent, exemplary, successful Lebanese woman: Amal Alamuddin. Despite all of Alamuddin’s achievements, her crime is that she is a Lebanese woman.

The exploitation of women is immensely widespread. It is a complex issue that we continue to study and challenge. It seems that somehow Lebanese women are particularly skilled at finding — dare I even say placing — themselves in exploitative situations: talent-less pop stars, international footballers’ “WAG”s, and now porn stars.

We are all free. But that also means we are free to fight with our brains, not just our vaginas.

Also read:

Amal vs. George Clooney – Who Married Up?
Mia Khalifa Lebanese Pornstar Tops Charts at #1
Mia Khalifa’s Conservative Parents Furious Over Porn Career
Mia Khalifa Disowned by Lebanese parents Over Porn Videos



36 responses to “Brains, not Vaginas, are what make Lebanese women powerful”

  1. Maborlz Ez-Hari Avatar
    Maborlz Ez-Hari

    Nothing but try hards that’s what they all are, they want to be free and independent even if it means swallowing a pile of dun. While keeping their brains unused.

    1. AkhouManUki Avatar

      So if I’m hearing you correctly – next time you are with your special someone, you will be stimulating their brain instead of their body? Smalla7 3alayk!

      1. Hind Abyad Avatar
        Hind Abyad

        The brain is stimulated by love, love stimulates the body..and it’s personal.

        1. How would you know, you no woman?

          1. 5thDrawer Avatar

            Love is not relegated only to the domain of women … you might experience it some day. Possibly. Remotely possible ….
            Oh well, try to read a book. Something by Anais Nin perhaps.

            ASSad picked up the Marquis De Sade as a primer … most unfortunate.

          2. Hind can answer it to T as she is both. Boring…

  2. arzatna1 Avatar

    I feel sorry for Juliana Yazbeck to say:
    ” It felt like I had traveled for months, and just as I was nearing my destination, someone used my passport to wipe their ass, undoing all my hard work and sending me back to square one.”
    No one can undo your hard work Juliana. People judge you by who you are and what you have done !

    Freedom means different things to different people and you are smart enough to know that
    This explains why Lebanon raised people like you, Mia and Amal Alamuddin Clooney .

    1. 5thDrawer Avatar

      The attack on that ‘freedom of speech’ in Paris shows that not everyone agrees.
      Reporters’ death rates have never been higher.

      1. AkhouManUki Avatar

        How does that correlate to pornstar mortality rates?

        1. 5thDrawer Avatar

          Porn Stars don’t die. The images last forever … (or until the medium changes;-))

          1. AkhouManUki Avatar

            Just picture Ameera when you wake up 😉

          2. How about our Hind? She-he is very Hindtractive, sure 5th and others would concur.

          3. AkhouManUki Avatar

            Sounds like you have been fantasizing about Hind every morning for quite some time… maybe it’s time to move onto your next obsession

          4. Ney, she wish. You can have IT all if you are. Thanks for your suggestion, but she needs me. Next obsession… hmmm will try that boiling water one, whatcha say?

      2. arzatna1 Avatar

        Media people are in constant danger and as you said “not everyone agrees” with what they say, show or write.
        But Mia is not infringing on Juliana Yazbeck’s freedom.
        When people see Mia they don’t relate her to Ms Yazbeck and visa versa.
        We all have to get used to the idea that we are all different and use our brains in different ways to accomplish different goals

        1. AkhouManUki Avatar

          Excellent point – that’s where this author is dead wrong – just because she is proud of her career doesn’t mean it’s the right career for everyone. If that were true, we would be surrounded by pornstars.

  3. 5thDrawer Avatar

    “more often than not we find ourselves fending off potential sexual partners.”
    Dare I say, those are most often Muslim? I witnessed one attempt on a girl who with a group of us friends – since the man needed a second wife, after all. No harm intended.
    It is ‘group think’ … of the male species … ONLY the women can change it.

  4. sweetvirgo Avatar

    Oh Juliana…..unfortunately sexism will stick around for a little while longer. That being said as a woman I’m not going to blame a porn star, a gold digger or any other woman because how SOME men behave. Enough is enough already. So Mia is in porn?!?! Does that really affect your daily life?? Stop blaming women for paving a path for SOME men to act like pigs or that are abusive. If my boyfriend mistreats me in anyway is that due to other women in porn or any other job that may be deemed offensive?? The answer is NO!!! If he acts like that it’s beasue he is a pig and was probably brought up that way. If a man is abusive and a criminal do you really want him to respect you??? Stop looking for acceptance from men. If they choose not to respect you does their oppinon really matter?? Get over it my dear.

    1. AkhouManUki Avatar

      Amazing post sweet virgo! You are spot on – Juliana carries a lot of resentment towards men, and by my estimation would rather trade in her vagina for a penis.

      1. sweetvirgo Avatar

        LOL….maybe if she watches porn she might feel better ;)))

  5. nagy_michael2 Avatar

    While I am not in favor of Porn and the way the movies are made is really degrading women. But its no different from a young man/girl hooking up with somebody older in order to get rich off them. To Mia she was enticed to this industry and got lost in the process with becoming rich and famous. I am not saying this could be the case and I could be just guessing. However those folks who are attacking Mia so strongly i dare you attacking ISIS like Charlie D. I dare you attacking sheiks who are raping boys in their tents and criticizing Mia for wearing Veil in her so called movie. I dare you attack your politicians who have done nothing to help lebanon? i dare you to stand with Wael Abou Faour to get rid of corruptions in the food industry? I dare you stand to Nassrallah who dragged lebanon into the Abyss? i dared before to stand to the late Hariri who was corrupt even though i didn’t wish his death. but at least the man have helped more lebanese and lebanon in General more all Lebanese combined.
    I feel terrible for Mia family to have to face such defeating mentalities and cannot face public because they feel the shame Mia brought on them. Yes we need to have moral values and stand by them. but most of us behind the scene we say one thing and do another. its constant conflicts we go thru our lives. The bottom line is Mia choose this route and she should have bad about her folks but whatever she is doing is between her and God. who am I to judge unless she is hurting me or my family. I am against it and i can preach against it. But when i see little mind people busying themselves with Mia instead of attacking Corruptions to the core. from the top to the bottom and the only reason you don’t or do lightly its because you are afraid if you say something about Nassrallah or ISIS you are going to be killed. its understandable and i can’t blame you. But please do not be too harsh on miss Mia she is doing a job to earn her way to the top except she wants faster than others. Men who are critical of her really look at your actions before.. evaluate yourselves and ask i am doing something in comparison that would put me to shame in front of my children, wives and parents? And women could it be that some of you are jealous and want to be like her and you can’t because you don’t want to be in the same shoes Mia is cause of all attacks against her? one friend she admitted to me she was never satisfied with the men she was dating and wished she could she could be in porn but afraid what comes after.. strange how we all think. Let’s not let Mia stand in our ways of life and do not get depressed about it and get back to work. Go make a living and do something useful.. its Sunday so i don’t have to work luckily…lol.. And last to Mia I do not approve of what your doing but its your choice and I wish you the best of luck and my prayers with you and your family to get them out of this difficult times. God bless

  6. Sugarsail1 Avatar

    the only question that matters is, “Am I free to use her body?”

    1. 5thDrawer Avatar

      Nope. Dork.

      1. Sugarsail1 Avatar

        I don’t think you are qualified to make that decision since it’s not your body…but you are probably right.

Leave a Reply