Egyptian Blogger Explains Nude Photo

ElmahdyShe's 20, she's an atheist, she's a liberal, and she lives in Egypt. Aliaa Magda Elmahdy's recent experiment in self-portraiture on Twitter — in which she posed in stockings, cute red shoes, and nothing else — has made her a minor celebrity and pissed off a lot of people. (She's even been denounced by the allegedly-liberal April 6th Movement, the most secular and utopian of the Egyptian groups to emerge from the Arab Spring.)

Now, Elmahdy's submitted to an interview with CNN. Harrowing fact: Elmahdy's boyfriend was sent to prison for four years for criticizing Islam. Sample exchange from the interview:

CNN: How do you see women in the "New Egypt" and will you leave the country if the ongoing revolution fails?

Elmahdy: I am not positive at all unless a social revolution erupts. Women under Islam will always be objects to use at home. The (sexism) against women in Egypt is unreal, but I am not going anywhere and will battle it 'til the end. Many women wear the veil just to escape the harassment and be able to walk the streets. I hate how society labels gays and lesbians as abnormal people. Different is not abnormal!


  1. Max says

    “Women under Islam will always be objects to use at home.”

    Are you listening, Western “liberals” and “feminists”? Is it finally getting through?

    Brave, heroic woman.

  2. Jeff K. says

    Well, at least SOMEONE in Egypt has a clear head on her shoulders in regards to religion.

    However, I think that if she were an American doing the same thing to protest Christianity, I doubt that she’d receive nearly as much publicity or praise this side of the Atlantic.

  3. huh says

    Jeff, like women are not allowed to undress for cameras in Christian countries…

    Oh wait they are! Even Ukraine has girls protesting topless against sex tourism and slave trafficking of women: (nsfw)

  4. says

    A message to every Gay person who thinks he or she is the most radical thing since cinnamon toast when using the word “queer” as a self-identifier: Listen to what this woman says. “Different” does not mean abnormal! And “queer” does not mean “different”.

  5. jason says

    I don’t see a woman taking her clothes off as being good for women in general. It’s good for the men who get to perv at her.

    This female Egyptial blogger is thus simply turning herself into a different type of object from the one she rails against. She’s still an object. If she had any consistency in her point of view, her boyfriend would have taken his clothes off to.

    I don’t think she has any credibility in her point of view.

  6. jason says

    Why is it that female nudity is equated to a more open society? I think it’s simply a different form of pandering to the sleazy straight guy fantasy. If women aren’t covering their bodies to defer to men’s religious wishes, they’re removing their clothes to defer to men’s pervy wishes. Both represent subservience to men.

    We in the GLBT community need to stop encouraging sexism of the type that this Egyptian female represents. Sexism and homophobia go hand in hand, don’t forget.

  7. Briggs says

    LOL @ Stuffed Animal. You don’t get to decide what people call themselves. Some prefer queer b/c it is more inclusive and indicative of how they feel. Your non-sequitor on the word “queer” is silly and your quip about using it to be radical is a pathetic straw man.

  8. Chunks says

    You’re absolutely right Jason. Back to the burqa lady… Jason thinks that will be much more liberating for you than nudity!

  9. Toro Castano says

    Jason you’re so first wave. She owns her body, her sexuality, her image. She can even objectify herself if she so chooses.

  10. C says

    Part of her point is to be an object–a highly visible object. The alternative the society is giving her is to become silent and invisible.

    This should be familiar to anyone who’s ever been in the closet.