Today I am linking to an article in “The Guardian” by Mona Eltahawy, called:
Egypt’s naked blogger is a bomb aimed at the patriarchs in our minds
It begins like this:
“When a woman is the sum total of her headscarf and hymen – that is, what’s on her head and what is between her legs – then nakedness and sex become weapons of political resistance. You can witness how nudity sears through layers of hypocrisy and repression by following Aliaa Mahdy, a 20-year-old Egyptian who lit the fuse of that double-H bomb when she posted a nude photograph of herself on her blog last week.”
And ends like this:
“While Mahdy’s act has been hashtagged (#NudePhotoRevolutionary) and her name tweeted and Facebooked endlessly, others did not receive such attention. Samira Ibrahim, the only one of the women subjected to “virginity tests” who is taking the military to court for sexual assault, has neither a dedicated hashtag nor notoriety. Another woman, Salwa el-Husseini, was the first to reveal what the military did to them, but news reports have said she can’t raise a lawsuit because she doesn’t have identification papers.
Not only did el-Husseini speak out, she courageously agreed to be filmed at a session of testimonies on military abuses. Again, hardly anyone knows her name, her recorded testimony isn’t racking up page views, and she was called a liar and vilified for speaking out. Both women have vehemently maintained they were virgins.
If “good girls” in headscarves who kept their legs together only to be violated by the military speak out and no one listens, what’s the message being sent? When the military justified its violations by saying “those girls aren’t like your daughter or mine. These were girls who had camped out in tents with male protesters in Tahrir Square”, what’s the message?
Some in the liberal camp have accused Mahdy of “harming” the revolution by allegedly confirming the stereotypes of revolutionaries that its opponents hold. Shame on them! Why allow those opponents to set the agenda for “good” and “bad”. Since when do revolutions allow their conservative opponents to set the agenda?
When Mohammed Bouazizi, fed up with humiliation, repression and poverty, set himself on fire in Tunisia last January, essentially taking state abuse to its logical end, he ignited the revolutionary imagination of the Middle East and north Africa. Aliaa Mahdy, fed up with hypocrisy and sexual repression, undressed. She is the Molotov cocktail thrown at the Mubaraks in our heads – the dictators of our mind – which insists that revolutions cannot succeed without a tidal wave of cultural changes that upend misogyny and sexual hypocrisy.”
Here is a link to Aliaa Mahdy’s blog