The main criticism of McCormick’s scholarship is that its concern is not one of exposing and resolving social problems, but merely to study a socio-commercial phenomenon. In what is an ironic take on the aspect of men with ‘hairy chests’, McCormick points to how ethnological constructs from the era of imperialism are recalled and reused in advertisement campaigns promoting bear tourism. The irony is accentuated by the fact that the studios where these ads are being made use expat Arab actors and American studios to what is outwardly a Lebanese cultural program.
Key questions for readers to reflect on:
In the milieu of Israel’s emerging sexual trends we find that Michal’s approach is less radical than Dana’s. While the former tends to work within the mainstream cultural and political norms, the latter is less inclined to do so. I realized how these Israeli women were far advanced in their actions and imaginations than their counterparts in Iran who are only now taking the first tentative steps toward emancipation. The question for the reader is how one can infuse some of Dana’s and Michal’s political fervour into the collective consciousness of Iranian women? The challenge and limitation for the latter group is that they only have their bodies to show protest at the moment.
The implicit question raised by McCormick’s article on the popular LebTour is the morality of this practice. The Lebanese society, including those involved in this business, will have to answer this question: Is it morally permissible to co-opt and exploit our nation’s cultural and social heritage for blatantly commercial profiteering?
Coming back to Yael Ben-Zvi’s piece on Israeli queers, it leaves unanswered a key question. The question is that, how, Israel, with a long list of human-rights violations against Palestinians and other native Arabs, concedes valuable rights to its own sexual minorities? It struck me as unfair that the more legitimate grievances of the country’s religious minorities are neglected just as queers enjoy considerable freedoms.