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Egypt’s social media star makes waves with plain talk

Fatma Abdelsalam
CAIRO: Videos by rising social media star Fatma Abdelsalam are attracting millions of viewers in Egypt, many of whom enjoy her “common sense” take on social issues.
She made waves across social media with a sarcastic video on “Ten of the Most Dangerous Types of Men,” which she followed up with one about the most dangerous types of women. Her latest video got over 2 million views in 10 days.
But her video-blogging series on social media, titled “Kalam Badeehi” (“Common Sense Talk”) is not only intended to make people laugh, she said.
“People may think those two are just funny videos, (but) they aim to discuss what I perceive as ridiculous behaviors that are widely common in Egypt,” Abdelsalam told Arab News.
People love her spontaneity and sense of humor, as she tries to shatter gender-based stereotypes in Egyptian society.
“Although any ‘battle between the sexes’ video is always a hit, that wasn’t the plan initially,” she said.
“Our society is a very hard one to speak to, especially pointing out things that men do. It had to be done in a comedic, light tone,” she added.
“In my video on the dangerous types of men, my main aim was pointing out to women that the behaviors I spoke about shouldn’t be accepted by fellow women, and it’s unfair to them.”
Abdelsalam noticed that many of her female viewers related to the content of her videos. And she did the video on dangerous types of women to be fair to men as well.
In her videos, she appears without makeup and wears causal clothes, solely focusing on delivering her message.
“With the media insisting on setting new beauty standards, brainwashing everyone, we rarely see the natural human look anymore,” she said.
“I wanted to encourage more women to be confident without any colors on their faces, embrace their flaws, love their messy hair, and stop thinking that beauty comes in one look, shape and size.”
In a world full of vloggers, Abdelsalam knows that maintaining a high viewership is challenging, so efforts must be made to make content stand out.
“If anyone wants to stand out, he or she must be themselves. I wish there was a little more variety among Arab, specifically Egyptian, vloggers,” she said.
“The majority are doing comedy, and not their own comedy. They’re imitating the ones that got views already. Who wants to watch a copy?”
As her Facebook page is already followed by over 350,000 fans, Abdelsalam is becoming popular.
“I love meeting the page-followers, and I love their enthusiasm about the topics discussed in the videos,” she said.
“My husband is happy with all the success. He’s very supportive. My 12-year-old son gets ecstatic when people stop me to say hello. I think I make him proud, and that’s every parent’s dream.”