Fearlessly naked in Egypt

It takes guts to stand up for what you believe in when you live in a repressive country. While we in the West enjoy the freedom to post nude photos of ourselves whenever we want, there are some countries – in this case Egypt – where doing so can get you in a lot of trouble. It was in the spirit of protest that Aliaa Magda Elmahd posted naked pictures of herself on her blog to highlight the fact that the country has no artistic representations of the female form. With Mubarak out of power, the country is in turmoil as the “liberals” try and fight off the growing power of religious fundamentalists, and Aliaa’s nude posts has divided a nation that is still struggling with deep rooted Islamic “values”

Her move comes as Salafis have been pushing their attitude that women should be kept out of the public eye, promoting Saudi Arabia-style segregation of the sexes. On Salafi parties’ campaign banners, photos of the few female candidates are replaced by drawings of a flower.

It’s no mystery that Islam has a serious problem with women’s bodies, and their sexuality in particular (why else would you smother them in a giant bed sheet?). As far as they are concerned, women should be out of the public eye and remain both submissive and ignorant. Aliaa’s moves has made the liberal camp nervous. Conservatives were quick to accuse liberals of corrupting morality, and while they’ve tried to distance themselves from her, the very values they espouse makes it difficult to condemn. This is still a country where women wear headscarves and almost never show off any skin. To display one’s naked body is tantamount to pornography there.

It’s difficult to ascertain how this will play out, but I worry for the safety of this young women. Honor killings are not uncommon in Egypt, and she’s already received threats on her life. No doubt some violent young man would like nothing more than to make an example out of her. I fear that the cost of such bravery may be too high.

Comments (22)

  • avatar

    Evie7

    I’m really scared for her, too. I really hope she can remain safe from those ignorant psychopaths.

    Damn, that took a lot of guts.

  • avatar

    LeetheGirl

    Yeah… while I’m happy that the people banded together and removed a governing power that was not right for them, I’m concerned about the Islamist and conservative bastards that are scrambling to take his place. I don’t see it going in a positive direction at all. I almost wish the over-throwing had not happened.

    This is just going to lead to another country I would never want to visit because I wouldn’t be able to have any fun.

  • avatar

    Richard

    It’s a little hypocritical to criticize a country for their dysfunctional views on sexuality when you yourself post a censored image. Maybe the ‘we’re better than you’ message would hit harder if you put your money where your mouth is. If it’s art then it’s art and you should be willing to post the uncensored image without fear or shame.

  • avatar

    Jacob Fortin

    Posting a censored image on a site that gets visited by people at work is a favor to visitors, and doesn’t reflect my views on social norms. I don’t want a person’s ability to visit the site compromised simply to seem less hypocritical, Richard.

  • avatar

    LeetheGirl

    I notice a lot of people are criticizing the timing of her protest and I think I understand why. But at the same time, is this really the time to wait? Should she have held off until things settle down?

    Because by THAT time this woman may be living in a country where she can be condemned to death for this.

    Legally murdered for making naked photos of her own body.

    I don’t think this should be put on hold for anything, especially right now, and I respect her greatly for doing it.

  • avatar

    Richard

    You could post the censored image on the home page and then the uncensored NSFW image after the jump. But whatever, you’re free to run your site as you wish, I just see it as emblematic of our own ass backwardness in regards to nudity, especially with respect to violence which we glorify in movies and video games.

    I don’t wanna seem like I’m equating our dysfunction with theirs, the way they respond is infinitely worse than anything we might do in the West, I just think we have a ways to go ourselves.

  • avatar

    all7days

    Find your porn elsewhere Richie.

  • avatar

    Jacob Fortin

    Actually richard, i can’t do a “after the jump” thing on the current system i have, otherwise only members can see it. It’s an annoyance I hope to fix in the future. It’s best not to assume what you don’t know.

  • avatar

    Richard

    @ALL7DAYS You merely prove my point sir. Nudity =/= porn. I do find my porn elsewhere, I don’t need TGA to host it, however if Jake is going to rail against an unhealthy attitude towards sexuality the least he could do is not personify it.

    I’ll take him at his word though, he can’t post an uncensored image losing traffic. I’m not sure I like his tone though.

  • avatar

    Richard

    without *losing* traffic

    Is an edit feature in the works by any chance?

  • avatar

    .

    Richard… D you think everyone should be nudists? Some people do not wish to see a naked female. For those that do there are naked art websites. It is not porn but that doesn’t mean everyone wants to see it. I’d hope there are young children that engage with this site and if it had a naked uncensored image their parents might not let them on it. Your argument is ridiculous on many levels. Google search the provided name to see it… not hard.

  • avatar

    Denevers

    The CNN web site mentions : “Elmahdy describes herself as an atheist.”. What do you think is worse in islamic world ? being atheist or exposing yourself nude ?

  • avatar

    LeetheGirl

    .@Richard, it may also be worth noting that the image is linked from another site that had already censored the image. If you want that much to see a chick’s tits try another site.

    .@Denver lol, I wonder. I bet they’d both be just as bad.

  • avatar

    Richard

    Oh yes ‘think of the children!’ God forbid someone under the age of 18 were to see a picture of a naked woman, why they would be scarred for life.

    I don’t NEED to see this woman naked, I don’t need to have Jake post her picture on his website. The fact of the matter is that SHE posted the naked picture of herself, so I think it’s safe to assume she wants it to be seen the way she posted it. Jake wants to censor it, fine, he has a site to run and money to make, you wanna defend him, fine, but don’t you fucking tell me that you’re taking some moral high ground while I’m some pervert itching for something to masturbate to.

    Jake is free to set his own standards, I’m not going to try and make him do anything, but clearly he isn’t marketing this place to young children. He regularly talks about adult issues on the shows and swears like a sailor. So excuse me for trying to point out what I think is hypocrisy in refusing to show nudity when pretty much everything else is on the table. Maybe instead of trying to slander me you people could have a look at yourselves and maybe question if your views on nudity and sexuality are really so fan-fucking-tastic that you can rail against the Muslim world and their issues.

    Do you think this is a healthy attitude to have in regards to nudity? You people jump down my throat when all I’m suggesting is that a picture of a naked woman be shown as was intended?

  • avatar

    Harepeace

    Richard: Smart thoughtful minds like yours will always make the dumbdumbs crazy. Don’t answer them – after all, they’re dumbdumbs! Its not as though you are going to have a thoughtful analytical conversation with them – they only want to “argue” for the sake of “arguing” … neeeeeext.

  • avatar

    LeetheGirl

    RICHARD: Hey, shit fuck.

    Read some of the posts above before going postal-stupid, stupid.

    Might clear things up a bit.

  • avatar

    Richard

    That’s the lest intelligent thing anyone has ever said to me, congrats.

  • avatar

    all7days

    Haha. Irony. :)
    Oh by the way Richie. I don’t think anyone cares about the nudity. It’s your claim of hypocrisy.
    The lovely naked lady is protesting the fact that she CANT pose naked without endangering her life. She is protesting the oppression of women. That’s the message.
    Jacob would have to endorse oppression towards females to be a hypocrite.

  • avatar

    all7days

    Oh and I need this site to be nude free or I get fired :D

  • avatar

    Richard

    Ya, nobody cares about nudity… except you, your boss, Jacob, and myself.

    So basically “You’re so backward! Your culture is fucked up because you can’t handle a nude picture! Now let me just censor this picture right quick…”

    If that’s not hypocrisy then fine, but it’s something, and that something is not healthy.

    You can’t deny that our attitude towards nudity isn’t as healthy as can be otherwise you wouldn’t be fearing loosing your job and Jacob wouldn’t be fearing loosing viewers/customers. I don’t wanna come of as some crusader looking to post nude pictures left right and centre, but clearly there is work to be done in our culture as well. And I mean you don’t have to go far, the British and I’m sure other European countries have a much healthier attitude. I’ve seen late-night talk shows which will do a story about something to do with nudity and they’ll show the uncensored image. That’s unthinkable in North America.

    Another point is that in a time before the internet, this story would break, CNN or BBC or whoever covered it would obviously censor the image and then any subsequent reporting would use that censored image. The actual, raw image would be lost. Because nobody cared enough to preserve it as is, they were all too busy worrying about ad revenue, or viewership or ‘the children.’ Nowadays in the land of the internet there are enough people who frankly don’t give a shit that they’ll host the uncensored image. I was just kind of thinking that this could be one of those places. Where Jacob would say ‘you know what, I’m with you Aliaa, I support your message and I’ll mirror your artistic expression.’

    In summation, I never meant my comment to cause such an stir. I can definitely see why it did, I did phrase it rather pointedly, but ultimately my goal was to merely present something which I thought was a little regrettable, a little hypocritical and something to think about. Like I said, I’m not trying to force Jacob to do anything. If it was my site I wouldn’t have posted a censored image, but this is his site so he’s obviously free to do what he pleases. I can’t help but think that if the mind-numbing stupidity with which I was presented in the form of ‘LeeTheGirl’ and others’ replies wasn’t there this could have been a more civil and though provoking exchange, but when someone throws shit at me I can’t help but throw some back.

    I’m not going to post any more on this topic, as I feel as though I’ve made my point.

    Two final things though

    1. People need to do less surfing the web at work and more working. I’m not a fan of the whole NSFW thing. Who gives a fuck about what’s okay to post for people at work, they’re supposed to be working not surfing the web… but that’s a rant for another day.

    2. Don’t call me Richie. I find it demeaning especially in this context and in light of your earlier post in which you childishly insinuated that I was merely surfing for porn.

  • avatar

    all7days

    1. My first post wasn’t serious :) I didn’t think you would take it as such as it made no sense…
    And I wouldn’t call replying to your statements a “Stir”.
    You obviously are a pretty serious guy. I always used this site as more of a laugh…
    2. Please don’t judge my work habits. It makes you seem like a twat. I work in an office and my break time is filled with surfing the web.
    3. And again it isn’t the nudity. It’s the oppression.
    Please don’t be confused.
    Your overall point is correct. (Nudity is fine)
    It just doesn’t fit in this context.
    Your original point was also different.
    You called someone a hypocrite because they are against oppression to women, but also censor nude pics. That’s a dumb statement (Sorry).
    4. Saying I “care” about nudity is incorrect. It’s more that I only like certain nudity…. Hot Chicks.

    P.S I called you Richie because I was trying to match the judgemental arrogant shithead tone of your first post :)

Leave a Comment

Scroll to top