Cosmetics giant Revlon has honored MuslimGirl blogger Amani Al-Khatahtbeh for her work in breaking down stereotypes about Muslim women.
But the 26-year-old U.S. author and activist this week refused the award because of political differences with Revlon’s new global ambassador, Israeli actress and “Wonder Woman” star Gal Gadot.
Last week Revlon introduced Gadot as the face of its new “Live Boldly” campaign, created “to inspire women to express themselves with passion, optimism, strength and style.”
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It also awarded the campaign’s Changemaker Award to Al-Khatahtbeh for her advocacy efforts. Elle UK describes her as a “groundbreaking writer and tech entrepreneur who aims to question public stereotypes of Muslim women and make way for true equality.”
Her MuslimGirl website offers female- and Muslim-focused news and social commentary to clear up misconceptions and change the way Muslim women are represented, particularly in the media.
One story from late December introduces 18 Muslim women to watch in 2018.
The website’s homepage bears this proclamation: “Muslim Women Talk Back.”
“It’s easy to get caught up in convos about women’s empowerment right now, which is why it’s so important for us to stay woke about who’s getting left out of the conversation and give them space whenever we can,” Al-Khatahtbeh told Teen Vogue.
“We have to make sure that our feminism is inclusive of (all) women of color because history has taught us that we can’t compromise on liberation.”
Al-Khatahtbeh told her followers she could not accept Revlon’s honor because of Gadot, a former Miss Israel who served in the Israeli Defense Force when she was younger.
Gadot was born in the Israeli town of Petah Tikva and raised in neighboring Rosh Ha’Ayin, according to The Jewish Chronicle.
Like most Israelis, the Chronicle wrote, she served in the IDF, where she rose through the ranks to combat instructor.
“Her vocal support of the Israeli Defense Force’s actions in Palestine goes against MuslimGirl.com’s morals and values,” Al-Khatahtbeh wrote in a statement on her Instagram, where she has nearly 50,000 followers.
“I can’t, in good conscience, accept this award from the brand and celebrate Gal’s ambassadorship after the IDF imprisoned a 16-year-old girl named Ahed Tamimi last month, an activist who is still currently incarcerated.
“I think we are in a moment where we must persist that women’s empowerment includes ALL women. From the bottom of my heart, I feel I would not embody the meaning of the Changemaker Award if I were to accept it in these circumstances.”
She referred to Tamimi, a young Palestinian protester arrested by Israel in December and charged with assaulting a soldier and inciting violence, the BBC reports. On Wednesday a judge ordered her held in prison until her trial before an Israeli military court.
A video of Tamimi confronting two Israeli soldiers outside her family home in the occupied West Bank and demanding that they “get out” went viral. She’s become a polarizing hero for the digital age, according to the BBC, accused by some of staging her protests caught on video.
Neither Revlon nor Gadot has publicly responded to Al-Khatahtbeh’s statement.
Gadot used the platform of the Critics’ Choice Awards last week to make her own passionate plea on behalf of women in accepting the #SeeHer prize honoring her for pushing boundaries and changing stereotypes through her film work.
Gadot tied Wonder Woman’s superhero mission to what’s happened lately in Hollywood around the #MeToo movement.
“In the past weeks and months, we’ve been witnessing a movement in our industry and society, and I want to share this award with all the women and men who stand for what’s right: Standing for those who can’t stand or speak for themselves,” Gadot said.
“My promise and commitment to all of you is that I will never be silenced, and we will continue to band together to make strides, uniting for equality.”
Al-Khatahtbeh directly addressed the actress in a “Dear Gal” letter on the MuslimGirl website Wednesday that stirred up back-and-forth on the blogger’s Twitter account between people decrying and defending her stance.
She also took even more direct aim at Revlon with an Instagram post promoting another brand of makeup.
“If you’re looking for makeup with a beautiful cause, consider purchasing @thelipsticklobby’s outrage lipstick,” Al-Khatahtbeh wrote.
“Five dollars from each purchase goes toward supporting @aclu_nationwide’s civil rights efforts. and you look damn good while doing it.”