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Nudity – Courage or Naivety?

A self portrait

…but not just any self portrait stirred up a worldwide debate. The young woman wears nothing but red ballerinas, a same colored hair bow, and nylons. For us, in the western world, where we are frequently confronted with nudity, in news, television or magazine covers, this is nothing exciting.

However for the country where Aliaa lives in, it indeed is. Aliaa is an Egyptian art student claiming to be member of the protestors in Tahrir Square.

On her personal blog she writes provocatively:

„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“.

With publishing the powerful combination of images and phrases, the young woman aims to demonstrate against the suppression of women and the conservatism in her home country. Furthermore the blogger refers to her natural rights to do so.

The first time when this topic touched me, was when I read the Spiegel article “Stark, klug, verhüllt” (Der Spiegel, Issue 48, p. 92 ff). Catching my interest and afterwards doing research on the web about the “naked Egyptian girl” revealed various astonishing and controversial blogger opinions.

The observer

T. Fouad for instance explains whether Aliaa has any rights to publish nude photographs of herself or not:

  • Regarding to her natural rights, yes. As a human being, she has the right to freedom and it is her choice how to interpret it
  • Natural rights are equal for every human being, all over the world
  • Whereas legal rights differ from one country to another because they include the specific cultures and governments

This implies, that she has on the one hand the natural rights due to her human being, on the other hand she carried out an forbidden and also taboo action due to the legal Egyptian rights.

Concluding, Fouad, a Muslim himself does not judge her movement and leaves two options how to further deal with this situation, depending on what kind of country the Egyptians want to live in:

  • Either burn or stone her, as in the Middle Ages
  • Or for a more advanced country: considering legislation, having in mind how much you want to give up from your freedom, when establishing new laws and regulations

Contrary to her supporters who describe Aliaa’s actions as brave and heroic, also contradictory blog posts appear on the web. CWKhalil completely disapproves of Aliaa’s call for freedom.

The opposer

The author claims that nudity does not have anything to do with freedom. Furthermore, she, being an Egyptian woman feels offended and degraded by the self portrait of Aliaa. In her opinion Aliaa does not represent the Egyptian women since it is her decision to pose nude while others choose a differenet way to oppose the current system. For Khalil it rather seems like a pornographic act and does not portray the fight for freedom.

While reading this blog, the question arouse whether the 20-year old woman actually intended to speak for the whole female Egyptian gender? A CNN Interview with Aliaa does not convey the image to me that she meant to take the parole for the whole country but rather to stand up for her opinion.

The External

Looking at divergent opinions, it is very interesting to see how differently people react to a provocative action. Even though we live on a planet where millions of kilometers separate Egypts from Germans, we are able to overcome this distance and to communicate with each other while discussing topics that catch individual interests. What strikes me the most is, that people feel the need to communicate their thoughts and feelings and to encourage others to do so as well.

However, it is equally important to evaluate the blog posts, as it was mentioned in my foregone post. Personally I think it is a great opportunity to hear other opinions especially when they are directly from the region where the events occur. When would I have the chance to talk to an Egyptian person during the next week?

Additionally I would like to add a short video about: Nudity – The new way of protest?


About Fernanda

Hi, currently I am in the 2nd semester of the study program International Business Management at the HWR Berlin. Amongst others we are taught the course Business Applications where we founded the blogging group "News woth Juice". The aim is to combine and finally present the very general topic "news" with business appliaction matters. Thus the repertory of posts is very broad. Since my interests lie especially in social-political and organizational areas, I focus the research on those topics. However "field trips" to other discussions occur as well while maintaining the overall subject news. Especilly interesting the analysis of the role news play in both daily and professional life.


5 thoughts on “Nudity – Courage or Naivety?

  1. Hi,
    a very sound blog post! It’s critical, relevant and covers lots of aspects and opinions. I especially like your introduction, which definitely arouses the reader’s interest. Also, I think you have a very smart layout, -the foreshadowed picture the reader has to wait for and the bold, centered meaning above!

    Posted by Larissa | December 1, 2011, 8:45 pm
  2. As your blog post gives different opposing arguments and blogger opinions it seems very professional. The post is very well written and with the headers and the layout it is easy to read through. I liked your post very much and I will definitely follow your blog!

    Posted by Kathrin | December 2, 2011, 8:36 pm
  3. Hey Fernanda,
    great post you wrote. The topic you chose is so controversial and often raises many questions. For us it is not a big deal to see a naked woman or man but in other countries you may get thrown into prison for that or even worse. A really intersting topic that can be discussed endlessly.

    Posted by Saskia R. | December 3, 2011, 6:34 pm
  4. A very striking blog post Fernanda. In my point of view you did a very good research, it appears to me very professional as Kathrin just wrote.

    It is indeed very interesting how people react differently to provocative actions, but also fascinating that there are people who stand up for their opinion, although it is controversial to do so in the country where one live or rather where Aliaa lives. And when she is doing this, she automatically acts a parole for other women in Egypt even though she actually does not want to in the closer sense.

    Posted by juliajogs | December 15, 2011, 9:20 pm


  1. Pingback: Finding the way through the web and weaving my own « News With Juice - January 25, 2012

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