Lebanese Ladies Stealing the Global Media Spotlight More and More

Lebanese females are attracting international media attention these days. For starters, Amal Alamuddin has managed to win the heart of Hollywood celebrity George Clooney, and she's got a hefty diamond bauble to prove it. An accomplished lawyer in London and the daughter of a wildly successful journalist mother dubbed the “Diane Sawyer of the Middle East,” Amal comes with her own irrefutable charms. Lucky or not, she lays claim to pinning down the notoriously elusive bachelor who has a history of dating beautiful bombshells. And Clooney’s mother couldn’t be happier with her son’s choice, gushing about Amal being a “lovely girl.”

And how can we forget Jackie Chamoun, the alpine skier representing Lebanon in the Sochi Olympics just a few months ago who became famous not for her sportsmanship but for her sexy figure? Images of Jackie posing nude in a sports calendar were dug up and leaked to the public, and media worldwide had a field day with it. Here in Lebanon, a campaign to “strip for Jackie” even seized social media platforms.

There’s Reem Acra, too, a Lebanese-born fashion designer in New York renowned for her elegant, ethereal designs and luxe wedding gowns. This year, she received warm praise from the global fashion community for dressing actresses Sandra Bullock, Amy Adams and Cate Blanchett at the Oscars in March.

It seems that Lebanese women abroad are plowing ahead and drawing the notice of their peers, whether it is in beauty, brains, or business. Unfortunately, here in Lebanon, women are still dealing with some notable setbacks, like domestic violence, abridged rights (particularly their inability to bequeath Lebanese citizenship to their offspring), and continued sidelining in a deep-seated patriarchal society.

Nevertheless, there are several female shining stars inside Lebanon’s borders that deserve acknowledgment. Former finance minister Raya el Hassan is one, who at just 42 was the first woman to occupy such a senior post in Lebanon. This year the political realm saw its first official female candidate for president, Nadine Moussa, a lawyer who has worked to promote women’s rights for over a decade. In the business world, Christine Sfeir has made quite a name for herself, bringing the Dunkin Donuts franchise to Lebanon and opening several restaurants of her own like Green Falafel, Semsom, and Basilio. At present, she’s working on exporting Semsom to the US, aiming to open a formidable 200 outlets in the next 6 years.

As women in Lebanon rise to power and prominence, their role in both the home and society will likely evolve to new expectations, brighter outlooks, and heightened accessibilities.

Amal Alamuddin (Photo credit: NY Daily News)


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