Middle Eastern and North African women challenge beauty norms with #TheHabibatiTag

Hashtag has trended across the US, Canada, Saudi Arabia, Kenya and the UK

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The Independent Online

Middle Eastern and North African women have celebrated their ethnicity and challenged dominant beauty standards under a globally trending hashtag.

#TheHabibatiTag was started by Palestinian American Sara Mahmoud and a group of her friends on 5 September and began trending across the United States, Canada, Saudi Arabia, Kenya and the UK.

‘Habibati’ is an Arabic term of endearment, often taken to mean “my love”.

Ms Mahmoud, who lives in Florida, said part of her motivation for starting the hashtag was to boost the profile of women of different ethnicities, “because Middle Easterns and North Africans don’t get enough representation in American pop culture and American media.

“I felt like my looks weren’t normal and they weren’t ok because all the girls on TV would be pretty, blonde thin girls with blue eyes," she told BBC Trending.

Since the launch the hashtag’s reach has been huge with more than 20,000 uses of the phrase on social media.