Frankly, I forgot that in most of the world it’s not cool to be naked. Probably because in New York you get high fived when you wander around topless in a park. But when you post a nude photo of yourself on your own blog in Egypt, as Aliaa Magda Elmahdy just did (check out her pictures here, because we frankly want to drive more traffic to her blog) the reaction is very different. While Elmahdy claims she’s upholding the spirit of the revolution, leaders have disagreed.
A spokesman for the liberal party claims that
“the movement does not have any members who engage in such behavior. We are conservative youths, and we always encourage our members to be role models as far as ethics are concerned,”
Meanwhile, Sayyed el-Qimni, a secular Egyptian pundit, remarked:
“This hurts the entire secular current in front of those calling themselves the people of virtue.”
While her blog has received over 1 million views, the reaction on the Twittersphere – check it out at #nudephotorevolutionary – has also been surprisingly negative. Some statements include:
My two cents about
#NudePhotoRevolutionary: Truly do feel sorry for her. She’s barely 20 & misguided. This will shadow her forever,
All those “cool” #egyptian men applauding #nudephotorevolutionary let me see the applause when ur wife,sister or girlfriend drops her pants!
The lighting is aweful & the composition is dreadful break all the social boundaries you want, but don’t call it ART
In response to the criticism, Elmahdy has said on her blog:
“Try nude models who worked in Fine Art Faculties in the early 1970s, hide all the 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.”
We’re really, really on her side. The only problem is that this might give more conservative movements in Egypt power when they suggest that if liberal parties are victorious then traditional values will erode. But if the only values that are being eroded are the fact that women can’t post naked arty photos of themselves on their blogs, well, that seems like an okay one to let go. What do you think?