Nikita Richardson
September 11, 2015 10:28 am

The power of the hashtag has been taking the Asian and Arab worlds by storm this year, whether it’s women in Turkey giving their president a piece of their mind, or the ladies of India who made it clear that they were not impressed with their prime minister.

Now men and women across the Arab World are banding together for a new cause: beauty standards. Using the #TheHabibatiTag, people are showing just how ethnically and culturally diverse the Arab world is, whether that be through images of black Palestinians or pictures of queer and pansexual people of Arab descent, people are uploading their photos and showing just how diverse and gorgeous that region of the world is.

The hashtag was started by Sarad Mahmoud and friends. As Mahmoud wrote on Twitter:   

Their mission becomes especially clear when you translate “habibati” into English. It means “my darlings.”Since launching a few days ago the hashtag has seriously taken off, with people from all over lending their likeness to the hashtag all in an effort to show Middle Eastern pride and diverse beauty.

“Growing up, I never saw a woman who looked like me on TV,” Mahmoud said in an interview with the BBC. “And because of that I felt like I wasn’t beautiful.”

“Middle Easterns and North Africans don’t get enough representation in American pop culture and American media,” she continued, mentioning her own Palestinian heritage. “I felt like my looks weren’t normal and they weren’t okay because all the girls on TV would be pretty, blonde, thin girls with blue eyes.”

Since its creation, the tag has been used 20,000 times and counting and is trending not only in the U.S., where Mahmoud lives, but in Canada, Kenya, Saudi Arabia, and the U.K.

“We’re not all radicals,” Mahmoud concluded, implying that the hashtag is doing its job of widening perspectives and crushing stereotypes. “I might be a radical liberal, if anything!”

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[All images via Facebook and Twitter]

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