Egyptian feminist activist Aliaa Magda el-Mahdy has posed naked twice protesting against the flesh taboo in Arab societies, and the Islamic Sharia-inspired Egyptian constitution. She first appeared naked on her blog in a pose I read as “this is my body, nothing to be ashamed of, no pressing need to cover it." Egypt's reaction to this came to reassure the image of a society reveling in stone-age principles, its morals threatened by the picture of a nude girl. Fatwas were issued for her head and many assumed the roles of psychiatrists diagnosing her with irrationality and deviant behavior. The story occupied many newspapers, websites, and talk shows and became the workplaces talk topic. They proved her point.
Aliaa wanted to show how Egyptians, and Arabs, vehemently fear the female form. If liberated, women would bring to end everything Arabs thrive on, everything they understand and live by – superiority of men, women’s lack of sensible mental capacity and grounding honor in body parts. Without weapons or ideologies, a naked girl has brought them to the edge of sanity, they saw what they hold sacred desecrated without any consequences, no Armageddon or Apocalypse ensued.
Just like European aristocrats knew enlightenment would break their grip on their subjects, and it did, men of god in the Middle East - kings, presidents and their Sheikhs - are verily aware that sexual liberation will depose their authority. Sexual satisfaction is a corner stone for contemplating self-actualization, without it Arabs function like trained bots, carrying orders but never stopping to appreciate their true potentials possible through the great scientific leaps we are witnessing. Sexual tabooing causes frustration, on the long term it debilitates the taste for art and beauty which are driven, in part, by sexual pleasures.
Aliaa has posed a challenge to minds long rotten but not yet dead. Her signal, among others, will eventually deconstruct the virtuous-body myth.