Once again, Egyptian find themselves waking up to a new revolution, but this time it is called “Nude Revolution”, with a flood of comments, debates and media articles, big controversies swept the Egyptian society for three days as Aliaa Elmahdy, 20 years old blogger posted eight self-portrait naked pictures on her blog.
Breaking all taboos, Aliaa`s blog (http://arebelsdiary.blogspot.com/2011/10/nude-art.html?zx=b786aca240401663 Link Contains Graphic Materials) gained a skyrocket hike in number of visits, getting more than 1,5100,000 hits in three days time span.
Under the heading “fan a’ry,” which means nude art, Aliaa described the pictures to be "screams against a society of violence, racism, sexism, sexual harassment and hypocrisy," as she wrote on Facebook.
While placing nude or revealing pictures on the Web rarely raise eyebrows in the
West, in conservative Egypt what Elmahdy did is an unprecedented act of rebelliousness.
Instead of getting presents from family and friends, Aliaa, or what came to be known now as Egypt nude girl, spent her 20th birthday as the talk of the hour in many off line as well as online platforms, in her commentary Hassnae Bouazza, Dutch-Moroccan journalist wrote this comment “There was an immediate storm on the Internet: some people thought her courageous, others dismissed her and claimed she was either crazy or confused. Admittedly, taking your clothes off in an islamic country not only requires enormous bravery but also at least a touch of insanity”.
Posting under her real name, a lively debate ensued under the hashtaged #NudePhotoRevolutionary, thousands of tweets rushed discussing and debating the topic strongly. While some praised her courage and defended her freedom of expression, others left outraged fury comments.
Some of the twitter comments
“Until every woman has the right to do as she wishes with her own body there is no democracy, not here
& not in Egypt @randajarrar, Egyptian living the states said that
However Menna Alaa @TheMiinz from Egypt states that Aliaa “didn't prove a point to me”
“We, Egyptians, are still arguing about a ''civil'' state. Sorry, #Egypt is
not ready yet for your step.”
The more conservative Egyptian, HebaFarooq stated that Aliaa is attention seeker “to my humble opinion, it was nothing but a mean to get attention. And I have read about and studied art!”
On the other side, Mohamed Hamdy another blogger hailed El Mahdy step, calling her
“the nude girl in the time of covered minds”
However, some people fear that Elmahdy's pictures might affect the revolutionary image. "Egyptian
liberals will now be seen as pro-nudity, and that could really damage their election campaign," said Ruwayda Mustafah, blogger for the Huffington Post and Global Voices.
Some people even criticised the artistic nature of her pictures. "The lighting is awful & the composition is dreadful break all the social boundaries you want, but don't call it ART," tweeted Lilian Wagdy, an Egyptian artist.
However more comments condemned the Egyptian society which gave a big buzz about this topic, calming that it shows the hypocrisy in which the society suffers.
During 1930s until the early 1970s, Egyptian women enjoyed greater personal freedom in terms of wearing western style garments, including bathing suits. Headscarves were a rare sight among middle class and university female students.
Aliaa urged that Egyptian society had come to be much more conserved, as fine arts students in the 1970s were trained to draw portraits through the use of nude models. This practice no longer exists in Egypt.
While pictures which showed Elmahdy completely naked and uncensored, angering many Egyptians, some observes commented that Egypt’s revolution was more than just political.
“Egyptians need to challenge
social taboos and change the status quo look at women, stating that The
revolution has opened the doors for a broader range of issues to come to light”
El-Mahdy, who describes herself as a liberal atheist feminist, is the girl friend of Karim Amer, Egyptian blogger from Alexandria who was arrested by Egyptian authorities for posts on his blog and sentenced to three years of imprisonment for insulting Islam and inciting sedition and one year for insulting the Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak
Aliaa defended the move on Twitter as an act of “freedom of expression”.
In a tweet, she said " took my nude photo myself in my parent's home months before I met @Kareemamer
[her boyfriend] and I'm atheist since I was 16".
Introduction of her blog showed that Aliaa was aware that she would receive many sexist
remarks because of the photo. “Hide art books and smash nude archaeological
statues, then take your clothes off and look at yourselves in the mirror. Burn
your self-despised bodies in order to get rid of your sexual complexes forever,
before directing your sexist insults at me or denying me the freedom of
expression,” Aliaa said