So an art student named Aliaa Magda Elmahdy in Egypt decided to post nude photos of herself on her blog to “defy restrictions on freedom” and Twitter basically explodes. (Seriously – check the #NudePhotoRevolutionary hashtag and the tweets culled by this Lebanese site or Google her name.)
Anyway, she allegedly identified herself as a part of the April 6 movement (I wrote about them here for AIAC) and while the April 6 movement folks jumped to defend their morality (or something), she denied ever having claimed to be part of the movement. Regardless of whether she did claim to be part of their movement or not, the April 6 response is pretty paranoid (not to mention extremely offensive). A spokesman for April 6 stated,
The movement does not have any members who engage in such behavior and the girl is only an agent of State Security. They want to tarnish our image after our role during the revolution and the increasing support we get from the Egyptian people.
Do you all not honestly remember the anonymous Egyptian general who defended the army’s “virginity checks” and torture of at least 17 female activists with this little gem?
The girls who were detained were not like your daughter or mine,” the general said. “These were girls who had camped out in tents with male protesters in Tahrir Square, and we found in the tents Molotov cocktails and (drugs).
We didn’t want them to say we had sexually assaulted or raped them, so we wanted to prove that they weren’t virgins in the first place,” the general said. He added: “None of them were (virgins).”
Looks like April 6 is totally cool allying themselves with State Security when it comes to being patriarchal jerks.
But some of the commentary about these photos from the West is equally perplexing. Fears of “Islamism” and ‘women dressing more conservatively’ (??) give way to some truly bizarre denials of the West’s own patriarchy and conservatism. For instance, this, from the NY Daily News:
While placing provocative pictures on the Web rarely raise eyebrows in the West, in an increasingly conservative Egypt what Elmahdy did is an unprecedented act of defiance.
Oh brother. Doesn’t anyone watch Egyptian music videos anymore?