Brummana has long been an easy-going town in Lebanon, east of the capital city of Beirut. Making headlines is not what it was known for till very recently when made international headlines for getting its women police officers to wear mini shorts. Besides the headlines, a huge debate has also ensued.
The matter in contention is that women police officers around the streets of Brummana were recently made to wear mini skirts and are seen with makeup. And while Russia's RT News quoted many of them as saying that they have no qualms with their uniforms, critics argue that the objective of the move is highly flawed.
So, what is the stated objective?
According to mayor Pierre Achkar, western countries have a low opinion of Lebanon and it is this that he is seeking to change. "The West has a bleak picture of Lebanon. We want to change that and bring tourists from the West," he was quoted as saying. "Ninety-nine percent of the tourists in the Mediterranean region wear shorts," he added.
Women police officers in mini shorts for tourists?
That is what people around the world have begun questioning. "In trying to lure tourists, to ape the west, you are becoming the ape yourself," commented a netizen on Twitter. "Even women police officers in the West are smartly dressed, what's the need to expose your women," tweeted another.
Many feminists too are not too pleased with the move either with several observing that objectification of women police officers as 'sexual candies for tourists' defeats the purpose of having them in the first place. "Dress up your male police in shorts too, no? No, because that won't click with the tourists. This is ridiculous," commented a social blogger.
Locals though mostly are absolutely fine with the move and argue that if the women police officers are not offended, there is no real need for anyone to take offence. Some of them however point out that the women in their latest avatar can be a distraction for male drivers on the street and that this could lead to a spike in road accidents.
For now though, the move to have the women in their black mini shorts and red beret do patrolling duties seems like it is going to stay.