AN ACT of defiance last year by a young Egyptian atheist, who posted nude pictures of herself on the Internet, this week became the focal point of an extraordinary female backlash against religious fundamentalism.
Aliaa Magda Elmahdy’s brave stand gave UK-based ex-Muslim Maryam Namazie the idea of launching the Nude Photo Revolutionaries Calendar in support of the blogger, who said that the pictures she posted were:
Screams against a society of violence, racism, sexism, sexual harassment and hypocrisy.
Elmahdy describes herself on her Facebook page as :
An atheist living for the past five months with her boyfriend, blogger Kareem Amer, who, in 2006 was sentenced to four years in a maximum security prison for criticizing Islam and defaming former president Hosni Mubarak.
Yesterday – to mark International Women’s Day – the calendar was launched on Namazie’s blog.
What with Islamism and the religious right being obsessed with women’s bodies and demanding that we be veiled, bound, and gagged, nudity breaks taboos and is an important form of resistance.
The calendar is designed by Sonya J F Barnett who said:
I felt that women needed to stand in solidarity with Aliaa. It takes a lot of guts to do what she did, and the backlash is always expected and can quite hurtful. She needed to know that there are others like her, willing to push the envelope to express outrage.
Among those supporting the calendar initiative were Nina Sankari, who said:
In solidarity with Aliaa Magda Elmahdy, I would like to stress that our bodies (and thoughts) belong to us and to nobody else.
And Anne Baker said:
Men in frocks constrain, control and intimidate women the world over in the name of God … it has to stop.
Poppy Wilson St James added:
I find it strange that it is more acceptable to seen on screen violence and guns than even a nipple. There is something wrong with our mindset if that is what we accept as the norm and shy away from nudity which is a completely natural state.
You can join the “Scream” on Facebook and on Twitter under the hashtag #NudePhotoRevolutionary, and you can buy and download the calendar via Namazie’s blog. Proceeds will go towards supporting women’s rights and free expression.
Hat tip: BarrieJohn