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Iraqi actress Enas Taleb, shamed by The Economist, set to sue British magazine

LONDON: Iraqi actress and TV host Enas Taleb is suing The Economist for using her image in an article about the obesity epidemic among women in the Arab world, according to Newlines magazine.

In July, The Economist published an article entitled “Why women are fatter than men in the Arab world”, in which it blamed socio-economics – on the grounds that the cheapest local foods are usually the unhealthiest – and the pervasive social conservatism in the Arab world. Region.

The British magazine chose an image of Taleb performing at the annual Babylon festival in Iraq to accompany the piece, portraying the actress as an example of such obesity, with a line in the last paragraph reading “Iraqis often cite Enas Taleb, an actress with ample curves (photo), as the ideal of beauty.

In an interview with Newlines Magazine, Taleb said she was preparing to pursue English publishing.

“I have decided to take legal action against The Economist over their coverage. I am seeking compensation for the emotional, mental and social damage this incident has caused me. My legal team and I are arranging next steps,” Taleb told Rasha Al-Aqeedi of Newslines magazine.

“People have loved me for many years. It was disappointing to see an international outlet labeling me as if all my accomplishments meant nothing. I’m healthy and happy with my appearance, and for me that’s that’s all that matters,” she added.

The Economist did not respond to questions from Arab News.

The report sparked outrage from Arab and non-Arab readers, with some accusing the publication of double standards.

“Reacting to The Economist’s article, some readers expressed disbelief at what they described as a double standard in the conversation about women’s bodies in the West versus ‘other’ cultures,” wrote Al-Aqeedi in his article.

“Plus-size performers like Lizzo and models like Ashley Graham are celebrated for their role in spreading the body-positive movement. It’s hard to find an example of an internationally respected publication brandishing a picture of a ‘fat’ Western woman as a way to shame her,” she added.

The article was widely criticized in the Arab world for failing to examine the factors that contribute to the problem of obesity, which particularly affects women.

Although there seems to be a general consensus on the issue, the reality is more complex.

An outdated view of Arab women as “just sedentary housewives”, the rise of globalization, which has led to significant lifestyle changes and rapid urbanization in the Arab region, and a general predilection for staying up late in the evening, are all considered contributing factors to the outbreak. in the region, which The Economist did not address.

Despite the magazine’s flippant compliment to the Iraqi star, Taleb says The Economist article was an insult not only to her, but to all Arab women.

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