A female Kuwaiti journalist, Fajr El Saeed, has joined the chorus of the detractors of Khadija Ben Hamou, the recently crowned Miss Algeria who has been enduring a storm of online insults and abuse over her appearance, particularly her dark skin.
This beautiful lady is Khadija Ben Hamou. She was just chosen Miss Algeria 2019.— Jenan Moussa (@jenanmoussa) 6 января 2019 г.
Sadly some users on Arab twitter are attacking & insulting her because she is a woman of color.
You are stunning Khadija.
Let's show her some love. ❤#خديجة_بن_حمو@akhbar pic.twitter.com/SwwlznQZi7
First time in history of Algeria, a black woman is elected miss Algeria. A real progress, i am proud of my country but ashame that so many people are against the decision because of her skin color https://t.co/upkOnBLhFX— bouguera amira (@amiraenrique) 6 января 2019 г.
Qu'elle est belle khadija Benhamou, Miss Algérie 2019 💓— PaperBagg Magazine (@PaperBagg_mag) 5 января 2019 г.
Un concours avec une sélection représentative de la beauté algérienne diverse et variée, c'est ce que nous voulons voir en 2019.#algerianbeauty https://t.co/TV6mI5dOZT pic.twitter.com/pc1eT0u8C0
During her online TV broadcast, El Saeed claimed that Ben Hammou won the title due to the tense political climate in Algeria.
"They voted for her as a result of their strong anger over the political situation of the country," she said. "You are in a beauty pageant competition… I don’t know why they chose you".
A makeup artist from Qatar argued, however, that female beauty standards in the Arab world witnessed a significant change in recent years.
"Previously dark-skinned women sought to lighten their faces because fair skin was considered attractive. Nowadays, however, the Arab world and the Persian Gulf region embrace a Western tendency of retaining one’s natural face tone," she explained.
Earlier this month, dark-skinned beauty Khadija Ben Hamou became the winner of the Miss Algeria 2019 beauty pageant, effectively becoming the second black woman to win the title, according to Vogue.
Weathering an intense barrage of online criticism and insults related to her appearance, she told Algerian news site TSA that she "will not back down", adding that she feels "honoured" to have achieved her dream.