The Lebanese would die of boredom if they didn’t have access to other people’s lives on social media. After social media became busy with the political opinions of Fairuz and whether the Grand Mufti’s son Ragheb Qabbani got married in a civil ceremony, in the past two days it has become preoccupied with dissecting the morals of skier Jackie Chamoun, who is representing Lebanon at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi.
After two days of debate about Jackie's half-naked pictures taken at the Faraya ski resort, and after she requested that those images stop being circulated, social media users invented a new way to show solidarity with her: stripping off their own clothes. Twitter users utilized the hashtag #StripForJackie to post half-naked pictures of themselves along with supportive comments for the Olympic champion.
The initiative started when Cyril Reaidy published a half-naked picture of himself along with the hashtag #StripForJackie. Then Twitter user “Pattie” did the same while holding a sign that said, “I'd rather support nudes than get killed in a bombing thank you." Pattie received supportive comments about her positive image. Then Rita Tohme did the same with a comment that read, “Because Lebanon is not Kandahar and will never be.” She received supportive comments, too. Guys then followed suit: Bilal posted a naked picture of himself, commenting, “Because nudity is beautiful and should not be a defect.” He received harsh criticism.
Politicians did not escape being mocked in tweets with the #StripForJackie hashtag. Fake pictures depicting semi-nude politicians were posted, with some holding a sign saying, “Strip for Jackie.”
On the other side, a number of Twitter users expressed their discontent at the “sight” they were seeing. The hashtag reached neighboring Arab countries. Some Arab Twitter users praised “how the Lebanese stand in solidarity with each other.”
Some Lebanese posted half-naked pictures of themselves on Instagram with the tag “#StripForJackie,” but males outnumbered females.
Yesterday morning [Feb. 12], Facebook activists created a page titled “I Am Not Naked” showing semi-nude pictures of some who participated in a photo session carrying signs that read, “We strip for Jackie.” The page had more than 8,000 likes in less than 10 hours and claims to be about “recognizing the true definition of a person.”
The page started by posting photographs of 10 models holding signs that read “I Am Not Naked.” The pictures showed the job of the person in the picture. The pictures were designed by Mohammad Abboudni. The page announced that photographers Tariq Moqaddam and Carl Haddad were ready to take nude photos of whoever wishes to take part at the campaign’s headquarters in Dora, Beirut. They also called on people to remember Manal Assi and Rola Yacoub because “there are women who are beaten, raped, and murdered, while the media directs its attention to a talented athlete.”
Almaza, a Lebanese brewery, and Al-Rifai, a roastery, joined in on the campaign of solidarity with Jackie on Facebook.They published posters using a play on words. On Almaza’s Facebook page, the company posted a picture of a beer bottle without its label, sitting in the snow. Next to it was written, “Don’t take me out of my clothes.” Al-Rifai showed a picture of a peanut covered with paper on which was written “#StripForJackie.”
By the evening, social media was busy with the two car bombs that were defused and with the two-month jail sentence against Jean Assi [a Lebanese citizen sentenced to two months in prison for insulting the president via a Twitter post]. But the Jackie issue was still present. And who knows, the #StripForJackie tag may come back if the Lebanese Olympic Committee decides to expel Jackie Chamoun after the games end. In all cases, the Lebanese will always find something that will take their attention away from the corruption, violence and lack of security.
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