What do I call her? Fearless.
The 20 year old Egyptian nude poser has received global criticism over the last week for her recently released naked picture.The picture sparked national and international controversy because she posted a nude image of herself on her blog in a society where nudity and sexual freedom is frowned upon. She states that the pictures are “screams against a society of violence, racism, sexism, sexual harassment and hypocrisy.”
Many Egyptian women wear a veil and abide by the patriarchal public morality but Elmahdy’s picture completely disregards that order. It acts as a resentful response to the years of gender oppression women have faced in Egypt.
With this picture, Elmahdy is openly defying the Egyptian system and societal norms, setting off a wave of outrage in her country. The outrage is challenging the masculine hard-line Islamists in Egypt who have been running the country for the last 30 years and are currently trying to secure power. In a country that is going through a full on revolution, the timing of this picture could not be any more controversial for the scheduled elections next week. How liberal are the liberals?
Elmahdy is testing her civil freedoms within political parties while addressing gender apartheid. This desperate request for equality and freedom opens the doors for much broader issues. The bold picture is confronting tyranny and the leaders of her country who treat women like second-class citizens.
To understand how poorly some women are treated in Egypt we can point to the most recent example where the military carried out a manual, two finger “virginity tests” on young female protesters. This is rape. It is a way for the military to prove their power and humiliate women on the public front. But Elmahdy is fiercely defying this system and challenging the status quo.
This is not the average act of protest but it is powerful one. She is not running through Tahrir Square to make her statement; her message is simple and clear: “I have the power of my body, not you.”
With less than a week away from elections, the 20 year old Elmahdy is indirectly questioning the Egyptian society to re-think the future of Egypt. The criticism and lack of support she has received begs the unmasking of the liberal political ambitions with the elections next week.
Elmahdy is allegedly facing a court case over the image. Whether she is facing charges over adultery or insulting Islam is not clear yet but this picture cuts to the bottom line “give me my freedom.”
In her recent interview with CNN, Elmahdy said “the (sexism) against women in Egypt is unreal, but I am not going anywhere and will battle it ’til the end.”
Is Egypt ready for this level of liberalism? As a self-proclaimed Atheist, should Elmahdy be punished under Islamic law? Is this scream for freedom disrespecting cultural values? Can the human body be a viable threat to the authorities?
More information: tweet with hashtag #NudePhotoRevolutionary or support her Facebook page http://ow.ly/7DEyH
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