Lebanese Feminists Protest Harassment of Woman in Swimsuit


Mayssa Hanouni Yaafouri was enjoying a leisurely Sunday at Saida Public Beach in Sidon, Lebanon when two men approached her and demanded that she leave because she was wearing a one-piece swimsuit. Yaafouri refused to leave and told the men that she can wear whatever she wants at a public beach. The men left but returned with a dozen others who began kicking a football around the couple and surrounding them. A man intervened and advised the couple to leave for their safety. This incident sparked a protest with about 70 feminists, activists and journalists gathering in Sidon from across the country to support Yaafouri. Lebanese law does not ban bathing suits in public, but women in the more conservative, Sunni Muslim-majority coastal city tend to wear them in private. The protest was both to support Yaafouri’s right to dress as she pleases at public beaches as well as to reclaim public spaces for all Lebanese women – whether they want to wear a bikini or a burkini.