Mohamed Salah
via GQ Middle East

Because we’re all alive and well on planet earth, we’ve all seen and heard about Mohamed Salah’s GQ photo-shoot with supermodel Alessandra Ambrosio. From context alone, you can guess how the public took it.

Though clearly a lot of people were heavily against the shoot, many, among them TV host Amr Adib, were for it, praising Salah for integrating into the international celeb culture.

That was actually kind of a little worse than the anti comments because it said a lot about our society’s double standards.

Before we lay down the groundwork, let’s take a look at another Amr Adib video about celebrities so we can set the tone for what’s about to follow.

You probably know what the difference is between these two videos.

In one case, the tone is sympathetic, trying to explain to the public that fame changes perception and that culture exchange means compromise. In the other, the tone taken reminds of an Egyptian aunt saying you need to bend over backwards to appeal to the people’s sensibilities.

You probably don’t even need to guess which is Rania Youssef’s and which is Salah’s because the reaction and the wording say a lot about our society and the standards they’ve set upon us.

Salah got praised for a photo-shoot with a stunning model and for integrating into a tough, foreign culture. But can you imagine a flipped script where fellow Premier League footballer Sarah Essam does a similar shoot with a male model?

You probably can’t. This is the same society that near-crucified Rania Youssef for a racy red carpet getup.

We Know Salah Was Attacked As Well, but It Kind of Means Nothing

Now, we know you’ll probably roll your eyes and think that we’re glossing over the finer details of the fallout. After all, we haven’t even mentioned that no, Salah wasn’t praised all that much and that many attacked his change of character, right?

The thing is, though, more came forward to defend the man as well because he’s human in the end. Even if he made a bad choice, discussions could be had. Women, on the other hand, are crucified for their mistakes if they’re even that in the first place.

We talk about double-standards at length here, but nothing is actually changing just yet. Parents are still more open about their sons travelling but not their daughters. They’re okay with men exploring but women have to maintain a pristine level of ‘purity’.

Until this changes, until we take a critical look at how our society works, progress will remain just a word in the dictionary.

In the end, we hope the controversy stirred by Salah’s photo-shoot will finally make people think.