On Sunday, October 23rd of last year Egyptian activist and blogger Aliaa Elmahdy posted a nude self portrait in protest of the repression of women within her society. While we may moan about Facebook censoring images with nipples her action has prompted death threats. Her action was undertaken solely by herself using a timer on her camera, and the photo published in her personal blog space – rather than a social media group where unsuspecting eyes could stumble upon it. A woman’s body is hers to show as she wants. Her blog carries an adult material warning so you would really feel the need to be offended if you clicked past that.
Her act is a gesture for personal freedom, Aliaa is on record saying “Women under Islam will always be objects to use at home. The (sexism) against women in Egypt is unreal, but I am not going anywhere and will battle it ’til the end. Many women wear the veil just to escape the harassment and be able to walk the streets. I hate how society labels gays and lesbians as abnormal people. Different is not abnormal!”.
What I find particularly galling is that liberal parties in Egypt have also criticised her action. It seems they are worried that her nudity will prove the hard line religious groups right. One side says you can’t do it while the opposition says you shouldn’t because it distracts from their message of liberation. It seems both sides believe that political power should come at the cost of personal freedom.
Aliaa’s original post
Israeli news site on the aftermath
…which has this snippet “Women rights activist Nehad Abou el-Qomsan said conservatives ‘keep adding layers to cover up the women and deny their existence.’ But, she said, what Elmahdy did ‘is also rejected because posing nude is a form of body abuse’”. How not doing anything to your body but letting it be as it was when you were born constitutes abuse is beyond my deductive reasoning.
Aliaa’s Twitter twitter.com/#!/@aliaaelmahdy
Thanks to Ben Hopper for alerting me to this