Nudity is of interest of mankind from times after they have started dressing up! We can see the influence of nudity right from the oldest literature and art forms. Portraying nudity is one of all time favorite of painters, photographers and cinematographers. Nudity, especially that of women, has an international market value and hence is an economic commodity. Even though nudism is accepted in some part of the world, it is an internationally prohibited activity by the societies.
There are incidents in the history that the naked women body becoming a political issue. All over the world there were many nude protests against war, sex tourism, bullfighting etc. In India in Manipur many women protested accusing mass rape of Indian army over there. In Kerala, India, there were political protests by low cast women called “chest covering revolt”. It was for their right to cover the chest since it was banned by the upper casts (early 20th sanctuary ). Now the ongoing fight in Islamic countries is the opposite, to uncover the body.
Aliya Magda El-Mahdi a 20-year-old student of journalism at Cairo’s American University, who describes herself as a secularized liberal feminist, an individualist and a vegan, posted nude photos of herself and her boyfriend. She said she was protesting against social inequality, Islamic censorship, racism, gender discrimination and sexual harassment.
Her description in the blog is as follows
“Put on trial the artists’ models who posed nude for art schools until the early 70s, hide the art books and destroy the nude statues of antiquity, then undress and stand before a mirror and burn your bodies that you despise to forever rid yourselves of your sexual hangups before you direct your humiliation and chauvinism and dare to try to deny me my freedom of expression”
You can see the blog here http://arebelsdiary.blogspot.com/
Now the question is that what is forcing her to pose herself undressed before the world. Is it only for the publicity?Does she really intend to free the women from religious fanaticism? Or if she is just a stupid teenager girl who don’t know the seriousness of the issue?
The last comment can be easily falsified if you look at her previous posts. Now the thing is publicity. One can go up to any extent to get publicity. But the question is that on the cost of what? Here her life has become insecure because of her action. We will not be surprised tomorrow by hearing the news of assassination of Aliya. Religious fanaticism is proliferating like anything nowadays. So we can’t say its a mere publicity show.
Protests against Burqa have a long years of history. Burqa is now become a symbol of marginalization of women by religion and societies. Stagnant nature of orthodox religions abandons the reforms in the societies. Its not solely about about “Islam” (even though the present issue is) but rather an orthodox society. Burqa may be suitable for the climate of Arab countries, but mimicking the same in all other climates is a stupidity. Moreover it spreads a wrong message that exhibiting a women’s body, even face!, is one of the greatest sin. This is a rule of male dominant society not of a religion.
Thus the nudism by Aliya is not for the sake of nudism but clearly is a protest against the orthodox community , a call from the Areb female world for the freedom of expression and a voice of oppressed against the pseudo moral people. Some people’s opinion is that the way of protesting is unacceptable. But if she had protested with a mere placard we would not have informed about such a protest. And moreover what elegant way of protest you expect from a community which is being marginalized right from the known history. For their voice to be heard to the outside world, it should be loud enough. That is what Aliya did. She utilized the emotional weakness of people (regarding nudity) to popularize her struggle. That is the need of time. And in maximum discussion it is not her body that being discussed, but the issue of freedom of expression.
I appreciate Aliya for the courage she has shown. She showed that nudity is also a political weapon. It can shake the pillars of the pseudo morality and religious hypocrisy. Its a beginning. The struggle (not the nudism) should spread the dark corners of society for a better social condition.