From The Guardian UK: http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2011/nov/18/egypt-naked-blogger-aliaa-mahdy
By posing naked, Aliaa Mahdy has brilliantly challenged the misogyny and sexual hypocrisy of Egypt's leaders
When a woman is the sum total of her headscarf and hymen – that is, what's on her head and what is between her legs – then nakedness and sex become weapons of political resistance. You can witness how nudity sears through layers of hypocrisy and repression by following Aliaa Mahdy, a 20-year-old Egyptian who lit the fuse of that double-H bomb when she posted a nude photograph of herself on her blog last week.
It was in Egypt, after all, that the ruling military junta stripped women of both headscarves (detained female activists were made to strip) and hymens when it subjected them to "virginity tests" last March, by which a soldier inserted two fingers into their vaginal opening. What are the military's "virginity tests", but a cheap tactic to humiliate and silence? When sexual assault parades as a test of the "honour" of virginity, then posing in your parents' home in nothing but stockings, red shoes and a red hair clip is an attack towards all patriarchs out there.
Supporters and detractors quickly lined up to comment on her blog, where the counter for pageviews outpaces a pendulum many times over. Far from the immature naïf some have tried to paint her as being, Mahdy knows exactly where it hurts – and kicks. She wrote:
"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".
She might have been born 10 years into Hosni Mubarak's rule, but Mahdy understands the way personal freedoms have steadily shrunk in Egypt. The double whammy of military rule – in place since 1952 – along with the growing influence of Islamism, ensured that. Mubarak would fill jails with Islamists, but would fight their ideas not by giving civil and personal liberties room to express themselves, but through conservative clerics employed by the state. When the only two sides fighting are conservative – even if one of them is just conservative in appearance – then everyone loses. And women don't just lose; they're also used as cheap ammunition.
Continue reading at: http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2011/nov/18/egypt-naked-blogger-aliaa-mahdy