An Iraqi actress is suing The Economist after the British weekly used a photo of her for an article on “fat” Arab women, she announced on Thursday.
Enas Taleb, 42, said The Economist had used the photo, taken nine months ago at the Babylon International Festival in Iraq, without her consent and out of context, and thus violated her privacy.
She also accused the newspaper of editing the image, noting that she had already launched legal action against it in the UK over the article, published late last month with the title “Why Women Are Fatter Than Men in the Arab World.”
Seeking to explain why, on average, Arab women gain more weight that Arab men, the newspaper points to poverty, societal limitations, customs, and traditions that keep them at home more than their male counterparts.
It also asserts that the Arab world deems female bodies with “curves” more attractive than those without them.
“Iraqis often cite Enas Taleb, an actress with ample curves (pictured), as the ideal of beauty,” the article states.
Far from what the article tried to achieve, however, Taleb said it amounted to an “insult to the Arab woman in general and Iraqi women in particular.”
She also questioned the Economist’s interest in “fat” Arab women over those in the US or Europe with similar bodies.
Speaking to several media outlets from different countries, she underlined frequently that she received many “bullying comments” on social media, while also emphasizing that she is healthy and happy with the way she looks.
“To me, that is all that matters,” she said.
Taleb is among Iraq’s most famous actresses and is also popular on social media, with 9 million subscribers on Instagram.
The Economist’s article also faced criticism online, accused of being “racist,” “sexist,” and “shaming” Arab women.
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