4 October, 2022

Blog

Egyptian feminist’s blog received 2.5 million hits with her full frontal nude shot

By Colombo Telegraph –

Wearing nothing but a pair of stockings, red ribbon in her hair and a pair of flat red shoes, the black and white shot would not look out of place in a nude photography book.

Aliaa Magda Elmahdy, a 20-year old university student from Cairo, has sparked outrage in the Middle East with the controversial full-length image, posted on her blog last week. But this is no ordinary art project. It is the work of a feminist Egyptian activist who is making a bold and potentially dangerous statement.

It has since received 3 million hits and thousands flooded the site with insults. Some denounced Elmahdy as a ‘prostitute’ and ‘mentally sick’ or urged police to arrest her. Elmahdy’s posting is almost unheard of in a country where nudity is strongly frowned upon – even as an art form and could lead to her being jailed.

Most women in the Muslim majority Egypt wear the headscarf and even those who don’t rarely wear clothes exposing the arms or legs in public. On her arabic blog, Aliaa defends her actions, writing: ‘Hide all art books and smash naked archaeological statues. ‘Then take off your clothes and look at yourselves in the mirror, then burn your body that you so despise to get rid of your sexual complexes forever, before subjecting me to your bigoted insults or denying my freedom of expression.’

But her attempts at protesting limits on free expression may have backfired. Rather than garner support from the Liberals hoping to win the November 28th election, they are keen to distance themselves from the blogger. They fear she will taint them in the eyes of deeply conservative Egyptians and, ruining their chances at competing with fundamentalist Islamic parties.

Egypt, a nation of some 85 million people, is polarised between Islamists and liberals ahead of the elections, the first since the February downfall of former President Hosni Mubarak.

Members of the most hardline Islamic movement, the Salafis, have warned voters that liberals will corrupt Egypt’s morals. ‘This hurts the entire secular current in front of those calling themselves the people of virtue,’ Sayyed el-Qimni, a prominent self-described secular figure, said referring to Islamists. ‘It’s is a double disaster. Because I am liberal and I believe in the right of personal freedom, I can’t interfere,’ El-Qimni said on Egyptian TV.  The April 6 movement, one of the most prominent liberal activist groups that led the 18-day uprising against Mubarak, issued a statement denying claims by some on the web that Elmahdy is a member of the group.

The posting prompted furious discussions on internet social media sites, with pages for and against her put up on Facebook. One activist, Ahmed Awadallah, praised her in a Tweet, writing, ‘I’m totally taken back by her bravery.’ A supporter, who identified himself as Emad Nasr Zikri, wrote in a comment on Elmahdy’s blog, ‘We need to learn how to separate between nudity and sex.’ He said that before fundamentalist influence in Egypt, ‘there were nude models in art school for students to draw’.

Elmahdy and her boyfriend Kareem Amer, also a controversial blogger, have challenged Egypt’s social conventions before.

Earlier this year, they posted mobile phone video footage of themselves debating with managers of a public park who threw them out for public displays of affection.

Amer spent four years in prison for blog posting deemed insulting to Islam and for calling Mubarak a ‘symbol of tyranny’.

– Maysa Rawi –

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Latest comments

  • 0
    0

    I believe she is real radical girl. I respect you my dear sister

    • 0
      0

      who cares about your educational status idiot. keep you alter ego under your pants.

  • 0
    0

    Of course she is! her life may in danger now. she is really brave!

    • 0
      0

      well done- the human body is an art- regardless of which religion! Lets not find her next week getting stoned to death.

  • 0
    0

    She will be killed!

  • 0
    0

    THUSHARA JAYARATHNA: nodakin p####, you will just go an make role models of who ever do a bloody shit which is not common. a real shame on you! and this is not bravery I admit that. if this is bravery I guess even prabakaran was brave, this is just shame on you guys!

    • 0
      0

      What a brave girl! I hope things start changing there thanks to people like her. From what I’ve heard from female friends who have spent time in Egypt (one lived there for almost a year, because of her studies) women get abused on a daily basis – they get groped in broad daylight, there’s the constant verbal sexual harassment and it doesn’t matter whether you are covered or not, local or foreign. I simply cannot believe all the horrible things I read on blogs and on Facebook. It makes me feel sad and so angry! Doesn’t freedom have to be equal both for men and women? Conservative, liberals or whatever – they should all learn the simple thing of respecting their mothers, sisters and daughters first!

    • 0
      0

      @Gayan, A brave and lovely human being. She is not ashamed – and no one should be ashamed of her – quite the opposite in fact. Anyone who is criticising her really is making it clear that they just don’t understand the principles involved in her political and artistic struggle.

      • 0
        0

        are you wanking by looking at her? she is not brave nor intelligent to post nude picture of herself online. It is like Pamela Anderson porn video.

    • 0
      0

      what VP has to do with this nudist? At least he made you shit in your pants for 30 years.

      • 0
        0

        Get rid of this thamil Ass hole ! this guy not worth it for blog

  • 0
    0

    Epic! Wish u strength!

    • 0
      0

      I find this a bit silly. Egyptian women can wear bikinis in certain places & have their freedoms. Most girls I know are not forced to wear scarves and this is a very patonizing assumption. Some women adopt it just as a loose throw over whilst others are stricter. Women; like men, are allowed to be spiritual by their own free will. I know many good Egyptian women who wear scarves & many who don’t…not a big deal. It seems apparent that most are likely to assume she is Muslim. This is a country of 10% Christians; albeit conservative Christians, you can bet your bottom dollar they will distance themselves from her too. There is a crucifix on her blog afterall. Tired of people who never visited Egypt, never sat or conversed in an Egyptian home with an Egyptian family trying to prove that they know best. I’m proud that the human form is still held in high regard in my country. For the record we are exposed to female nudity & beauty on a daily basis just like you, no men…sound familiar?

    • 0
      0

      Amazing millions of people horrified at the sight of the human body. So tragic and if you’ve ever sunbathed nude on a nudist beach you would understand why. Its a lovely experience, liberating and natural. No sex or lust involved whatever, just you and what god gave you.

  • 0
    0

    Motive behind demonstrating her nudity is difficult to judge. But in Middle East I have seen Egyptians women wear top to bottom for to cover themselves how ever I have heard that’s only for the circumstances. .A few of my Omani friends told me they would remove everything even before being asked. I did not believe it that time but now it looks like what they said 30 years ago was correct.

    • 0
      0

      Art, like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder. Those who criticize her artistic impressions, be they Muslim, Christian, Jewish or other, are held back in appreciating the form of this young lady. Nudes have been around in art for centuries in all countries and religions. Nudity and art only shock those with no appreciation of what their deity actually created. I am not religious, but based on all the teachings of your creator, the creator made perfect human forms, naked. Man covered up his creators handiwork. Who is the one who disrespects your creator, an innocent young woman or the ones willing to insult her for showing the creators handiwork? I know which side I would chose

  • 0
    0

    I wonder all these people saluting her for her bravery , will allow, their girl friend, sister to be like Aliaa, Sri Lanka society does not approve a Sinhala girl to marry a Tamil man even if they meet in the university. so how can these people congratulate /celebrate Aliaa I wonder?

    • 0
      0

      a couple of points should be noted. first of all, this young girl is a student at American university of Cairo with tuition fees well above $10,000 a year in a country where 90% of the population earn less than a third of this amount per year. She comes from the very small privileged class in Egypt and has had an upbringing pretty much alien to most Egyptians. Hence she cannot claim to represent Egyptians and as such cannot impose her ideals or the ones of people in her class on the rest of the country. Also, you want to protest with nudity, do it like john Lennon and Yoko Ono, simple, innocent and to the point. Posing, as if in a low budget nude magazine would only give the impression she is desperate for attention and is using the so called “revolutionary attitude” as an excuse. The other major point, for which she could be excused as she is probably too young to understand, is that by offending majority of the people you want to preach, you just make them more intolerant.

    • 0
      0

      Nature is to be admired for it’s beauty and complexity, and the human body is as surely a part of nature as is a tree, or a waterfall. Well done, Miss Elmahdy, for showing your repressed neighbours that beauty is not synonymous with sex, and that it is wrong for us to be so afraid of ourselves that we end up demonising what is divine. For those ‘People of the Book’ who object. Please remember that your God apparently thought it was okay for the First Couple to run around naked.

    • 0
      0

      You’re putting the cart before the horse and, indeed, unknowingly supporting the point the poster was making.

      It is you who sexualises the image of a naked woman. The image itself is not objectively sexual. How could something be objectively sexual? It is your subjective reaction to it which is sexual. It might just make you feel uncomfortable, but it is this denial of responsibility for one’s own feelings which leads scared men in the middle east to lash out and repress the object of their own desires, rather than controlling and taking responsibility for their personal reactions to externalities.

      The point of the photo, if you didn’t get it, was that it is not this woman’s responsibility to cover up so as not to make society feel uncomfortable, but that the onus is for other people to take responsibility for their own feelings and emotions.

  • 0
    0

    She is mad… but it’s not her fault. Islam has driven her mad.

    • 0
      0

      This isn’t sex or nudity in the way we’ve always known it – this is a defiant act of brilliant courage – to make a point. I don’t know whether it will have the impact she wishes but she certainly deserves a hearing for her bravery. Sadly, I suspect it will endanger her life to a degree where she will be lucky to escape from Egypt. If that’s so, then she is the most deserving of immigrants because against all the odds she tried with all her being, to make a difference in her country.

  • 0
    0

    Save her life!!!

    • 0
      0

      Bravo, Aliaa Magda Elmahdy!

      • 0
        0

        It’s about time muslim women stood up for their rights and stopped being doormats. Mind you,if you are covered up from head to toe,it saves a lot on cosmetics

    • 0
      0

      @Polman,You clearly have no real knowledge about Muslim women or their rights. We have plenty. We are given them. And we take them. Muslim women aren’t doormats, that could apply to anyone. Go get some knowledge. From some real people, not what the media tells u.

  • 0
    0

    What is it with people in this world and their idiotic beliefs – religious or secular? We are all born naked and naked is our natural state. Why are these people so full of hate and fear? It’s just extraordinary to see how much violence and anger is expressed over nothing more than a naked woman? UNBELIEVABLE. Once upon a time we all wandered around the world semi-naked and no one bothered, no one had “issues”. But now our minds have become diseased with idiotic beliefs that are horribly destructive and so against nature.

    • 0
      0

      I am proud of her. More women should do this in the Middle East. To go from a full veil to full frontal is awsome. The men in the middle east would be so worreid. It is not sexual and a very good way of making a statement. It shows how far the Muslims in the midd;e east are from western society when this causes an outcry.

  • 0
    0

    I ask all Muslims and non muslims to put aside your hateful atitudes and stop your oppression of women.. this is 2011, embrace your new found freedoms in the middle east, freedom of expression is for everyone.

    • 0
      0

      And by posing nude and showing the picture online for everyone to see she was trying to make what statement exactly?Surely there are more tasteful ways of making a statement and expressing your opinion than taking your clothes of and enabling everyone to see your private parts.That’s just plain dumb.

  • 0
    0

    Christine, women do drive cars in Egypt, and many of them are highly educated. I have an MD in psychiatry. You still don`t get hijab right, do you. It is meant to give MORE FREEDOM to women, by making them worth more than a body. In Muslim countries, a man can not see more than the face of women, if he wants to have an affair, he must marry her. The result: less single moms and abandoned children. And the man will not be able to have a one night stand with her then run away.

    • 0
      0

      thank you dilrukshi !

  • 0
    0

    I’m praying for you sweetie, one day you’ll all be free.

    • 0
      0

      She is doing it for a cause, separate the nudity and just see her courage and the objective for what she has taken such a bold step which can possibly even get her killed in a conservative society. Her face is expressive and she deserves all the support she can get.

  • 0
    0

    She isn’t trying to be sexy or seduce a demographic. Its truly amazing but I fear what will happen to her.

  • 0
    0

    I’m normally not someone who appreciates public displays of nudity at all, but her comment took me off guard. Really well reflected and powerful! A very brave, intelligent young lady!

  • 0
    0

    None of you understand because none of you are MUSLIM. i am! and i think these comments are disrespectful as you base your judgements on stereotypes you see in Iran or Afghan, where the muslims there are EXTREMISTS. its heartbreaking to me that everyone treats muslims differently.All im saying is that you keep a open mind about islam ad you might see the beauty of it. Also women are not treated as objects ad have equal rights as men and the whole no education thing is BS as i am currently studing dentistry in HARVARD university

  • 0
    0

    This is incredibly brave and made me feel quite emotional. I just hope the consequences don’t prove to be much for this wonderful young lady.

  • 0
    0

    That means freedom…

  • 0
    0

    Beautiful, brave and selfless girl. A Rosa Parks moment. I pray she stays safe from harm and wish her the best of luck.

  • 0
    0

    She is the next Emmeline Pankhurst. History in the making! Courageous young girl showing that we shouldn’t stereotype religion. Peace.

  • 0
    0

    Poor girl surrounded by neanderthals, it’s not worth your life luvvy – take care. I feel so sorry for muslim ladies who must be so very frustrated at a bunch of men telling them what to wear.Imagine if they told the men what to put on, not to drive, not to be educated etc. Dear goodness, why is it so unfair? Surely the mums want more for their daughters but then maybe they are frightened.

  • 0
    0

    I think this young woman may go down in the annals of history. Her brave statement should resonate within all of us.

  • 0
    0

    I just wonder why people have so much interest in a naked human body. If god made man / woman in his own image why is it so wrong to see a naked body? It is the corrupted minds who need help.

  • 0
    0

    why is she showing off what is referred to as a cunt!

  • 0
    0

    would any of you people who have positively commented on this woman, kindly get your sister and mother to also bare all and let us see if you can bear the adulation of the sick people who write in.. please , please !

  • 0
    0

    Nothing to say

  • 0
    0

    Are you sure about this? The blogger may well be called Grant, who lives above a chip shop in Peckham. The photo may well be his ex or a random photo found on the internet. Did the Guardian check it’s facts? I hate to be so cynical about the whole thing, but that we’ve been here before.

    I have no doubt women are having a tough time in Egypt, as they are in much of the rest of the world. The question is – what should the world do to ensure that women get a better deal? Should we have boycotts or sanctions or make conditional aid arrangements or should we occupy religious establishments – the Vatican, Mecca, St Paul’s and any otehr place and demand that they look at how women are treated?

    • 0
      0

      Someone living about a chip shop in Peckham who happens to write fluent Egyptian Arabic?

      But yes, you’re right that we should be wary of another ‘Gay Girl in Damascus’ hoax, but this does appear to be the real thing. Mahdy seems to be a well-known figure in the Egyptian feminist/secular movement, and this is by no means the only photo of her out there. In fact, there’s another one in the linked blog page above.

  • 0
    0

    Personally, I don’t condone posing nude in public. It smacks of fetishism if anything. But then again, to each his own or so they say; more so when you are just 20, fresh from being a rebellious teenager.

    In all likelihood, the young woman is a “marked man” now. Things might not turn trumps up for her in this new Egypt. Should the ihqwan take over, she and others like her could end up in some freshly-built concentration camp in the desert.

  • 0
    0

    This gal has balls, kudos for being so brave Miss

  • 0
    0

    More than 30 years ago, Jimmy Carter fumbled the ball and Iran was turned to Shia islamists

    George Bush, despite his best intentions, delivered Iraq to the ayatollahs on a silver platter.

    Muamar Qaddafi was an autocrat, no ifs or buts about that; however this Sunni al-qaeda bunch is potentially more poisonous. Tunis is small potatoes overall but Egypt isn’t. The world at large can’t afford an islamist regime in Egypt. Sooner or later it will come to blows.

    The same goes for Syria, btw. That fascist regime in Damascus is bad news but the alternative there isn’t much better.

Leave A Comment

Comments should not exceed 200 words. Embedding external links and writing in capital letters are discouraged. Commenting is automatically disabled after 5 days and approval may take up to 24 hours. Please read our Comments Policy for further details. Your email address will not be published.