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Nude photo revolutionary

In a controversial act of personal expression and sexual liberation, an Egyptian woman has posted nude photos of herself and others to her personal blog.   


Lauren Rae Orsini

Internet Culture

Posted on Nov 14, 2011   Updated on Jun 3, 2021, 1:24 am CDT

In the Western world, a woman posting nude photos of herself online is par for the course.

In Egypt, where women’s bodies are a political issue, it’s a revolutionary act.

Last month, 20-year-old Egyptian Aliaa Elmahdy made waves across the social Web by posting nude photos of herself on her blog, which, obviously, is not safe for work.

The post—the only entry on the blog—includes several other photos of nude subjects. Elmahdy, who said she posts under her real name and took the photos in her parents’ house, concluded the post with three censored nude photos of herself.

“The yellow rectangles on my eyes, mouth and sex organ resemble the censoring of our knowledge, expression and sexuality,” wrote Elmahdy, her Arabic words translated by Egyptian news source Almasry Alyoum.

There are 200 comments and counting.

“I’m very impressed and inspired by your courage. The revolution in Egypt needs to be a catalyst for greater freedom of expression,” wrote an anonymous commenter yesterday. “It’s your body and it’s entirely up to you how you choose to express yourself.”

One month after the fact, the entry is still fueling discussion on Reddit, Facebook, and Twitter, some of which centered around her age.

On Facebook, Elmahdy updates her personal page with continuing international coverage of her daring act. She now has 860 subscribers.

“I so love YOU and RESPECT YOU Aliaa! I just dicovered your blog this morning and I am still speechless! Thank you so much for giving us a lesson in what having courage means!” commented Facebook user Najat Kessler.

On Twitter, the trending topic Elmahdy started, #NudePhotoRevolutionary, is still going strong, with more than 700 mentions in the last week. Here, the discussion is more polarized.

“My two cents about #NudePhotoRevolutionary: Truly do feel sorry for her. She’s barely 20 & misguided. This will shadow her forever,” tweeted @etharkamal.

“All those “cool” #egyptian men applauding #nudephotorevolutionary let me see the applause when ur wife, sister or girlfriend drops her pants!” tweeted @MayAbdelAsim.

Still, Elmahdy’s supporters outnumber her naysayers. In a political climate where “female modesty” is an election issue, Elmahdy’s actions have struck a chord.

“A woman exposing her body for freedom is wrong? Or is it wrong that women’s bodies are dictated by men & men alone?” tweeted @AmandaAzim.

Photo by Aliaa Elmahdy

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*First Published: Nov 14, 2011, 1:03 pm CST