Jewish World Review June 3, 2005 / 25 Iyar,
Real Men Moisturize
"Real Men Moisturize." So begins an article on "Sharp Dressed
Men" that appeared in a State Department funded magazine aimed at youth in
the Arab world. The magazine, called "Hi" is published in Arabic and
English. A State Department website explains that Hi is published "with the
hope of building bridges of greater understanding among our cultures."
The article continues: "In fact, some of them, like Michael
Gustman, a 25-year-old public relations account executive from Boca Raton,
Fla., even have separate moisturizers for the face and body. Facial pores
can clog with too heavy a salve, it seems. Not long ago, these and other
habits would have been considered odd for a male. Gustman exfoliates. He
gets manicures. He gets pedicures. He gets facials. He gets his hair done
every two weeks. He accessorizes. He puts effort into getting ready for a
date. He loves cooking complex dishes. He's a refined, evolved, sensitive
guy. In a word, he's a metrosexual."
The photo accompanying the story pictures the male author seated
in a pedicure chair, pants rolled up to his knees, along with half a dozen
women enjoying the same treatment. (The women's faces aren't visible, but we
can guess that they look puzzled or possibly even repelled.)
First things first. Is this what the U.S. State Department
thinks America is really like? How many men, outside a tiny subset in major
cities, are the primping, feminized "metrosexuals" the article lauds? Not
many. You cannot enhance understanding between one people and another by
presenting a false version of one side.
But more importantly, is this the way to "build bridges" between
the Arab world and ourselves? Does the State Department believe that Arab
males some of whom do not permit their wives and daughters to go out in
public without a male family member as escort, others of whom think nothing
of killing a daughter who dishonors the family by fraternizing with a boy
are going to be impressed with a vision of America in which males are
feminized "exfoliated," smooth-skinned eunuchs?
The State Department is apparently so delighted with the Hi
Magazine approach that they are translating it for use around the world.
"We realized that most of the articles in Hi were suitable for
youth anywhere in the world," said Christopher Datta, the director of
special projects at the State Department's International Information
Programs." A State Department website quotes a Hi Magazine contributor
enthusing, "This is now everybody's world." Oh? What was it before?
The size of the stones to be used in such executions is
specified by law. "Penal Law in the Islamic Republic of Iran: Article 116:
Stones used in stoning should be neither so big as to kill the adulterous at
the first or second blow, nor as small as a pebble." Other punishments meted
out by the Islamic Republic include cutting off hands, arms and legs, and
plucking out the eyes.
In Saudi Arabia, an Australian man has been sentenced to 16
months in prison and 300 lashes for a crime his wife may have committed
(stealing equipment from a hospital). His flogging, inflicted 50 strokes at
a time, by a guard with a Koran under his arm, has already begun. "The
lashing," he wrote to a friend in Melbourne, "is to humiliate and control,
and I draw a large crowd as I am one of those Western ungodly people, but
they shall never hear me yell." In Saudi Arabia, the punishment for Muslims
who convert away from Islam is death.
And the State Department magazine prattles about facials.
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