‘People like pretty’

Mayor hopes police force made up of young women wearing ‘sexy’ outfits will improve tourism

A young woman police officer in Broummana, Lebanon. (YouTube / BBC News)

The mayor of Broummana, Lebanon, is deploying young attractive policewomen dressed in shorts this summer as part of a plan to attract media interest and boost the town’s income from tourism. The mayor’s plan is definitely drawing attention from the media, but also a fair share of criticism for the policy being sexist.

“Ninety-nine percent of the tourists in the Mediterranean region wear shorts,” Mayor Pierre Achkar told RT. “We in Lebanon want to change the bleak picture of Lebanon in the West.”

“It could be sexy for some people or ordinary. It depends on your education,” he added in comments made to BBC News. “It’s pretty. People like pretty. Do you want them ugly? Everything is changing in the world. At a certain time, wearing jeans was vulgar. Women are free: sexy or not sexy, it’s a free country.”

While Achkar insists that “everybody is happy” with his eccentric initiative, locals in the town and people across the world online have complained that the uniforms are inappropriate and encourage the objectification of women. Male officers, they note, are not forced to comply with the short shorts requirement.

When the officers were questioned by reporters from the BBC, however, the women said that they enjoyed the work, and rejected the notion that wearing shorts inherently sexualized them.

‘The municipality asked us to do this job — it’s something new to show that Lebanon is like the rest of the world. Why not wear shorts?” said one of the new officers. “We’re all university students. We’re all of age — we are all in our twenties and above.”

“We are wearing long shorts, we’re not exhibiting our legs. I took this job because I always wear shorts, so I don’t have to change for work,” added another.

One local shop owner said the summer wardrobe requirement was being blown out of proportion. Elie Mosawer told Almas Dar News that “People are over-analyzing this issue, they are giving it way more attention than it deserves. All these ladies are respectable.” He emphasized that “everybody wears shorts! It’s not a big deal. And it’s not too short even. Fine, it’s all right, it’s summer, it’s hot!”

Watch the BBC’s interview with the young women police officers below.

Read the full story at RT.

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