Up in smoke

Egypt debates on Twitter whether it’s right for women to smoke

MOHAMMED ABED/AFP/Getty Images

An online debate has emerged in Egypt over whether or not it is “right” for women to smoke water pipes. In the country, it has become increasingly normal to see men and women socialize in cafes over so-called “shisha” (or water pipes), but some men are judging the women who  smoke. That’s what got an Arabic phrase, which translates as “What do you think of women who smoke Shisha?” trending on Twitter this past week, with over 90,000 mentions. Many men joined in the discussion, calling women who smoke immodest and immoral, with reactions like, “A woman smokes because she has nothing to do and her parents are not keeping a close eye on her.” Many young Arab women decried the sexism inherent in the question. One young Egyptian girl responded to the commotion saying, “Stop the sexism. Girls don’t care about your opinion losers get a life!” The topic seems hotly debated in much of the Arab world, with the same hashtag trending in Saudi Arabia last May.

Read the full story at the BBC.

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