Other activists followed Mahdy. “In Tunisia,” writes Meyton, “Nadia Bostah was attacked after she posed semi-nude for a magazine cover and then re-published the image on her Facebook page. Anger was quick to follow. In Pakistan, popular actress Veena Malik was criticized for posing nude for India FHM – although no ‘parts’ were showing.”
The stories highlight “the struggle women have in the region,” writes Meyton. Indeed, the Coalition of Islamic law graduates coordinator Ahmed Yehia told him that “it is an insult to the revolution as these persons who pretend to be one of the revolutionists and asking for sexual freedoms, they are giving the uprising a bad name. It is our duty to fight corruption and this is a corruption case, we people who are trying to corrupt society with foregion and unacceptable customs like the sexual freedom they ask for.”
“What is corrupting about a blogger posting her nude body on her blog?” asks Meyton. “In today’s Internet Age, there are naked pictures across the web, most more graphic than the one Mahdy posted. At the end of the day we can choose to click the link or not to either view the image or avoid it. ”
But the problem is that Egypt’s women, says Meyton “continue to face a double-edged sword. Take for example the attacks on Egypt’s Tahrir protesters, women in specific, who were accused of ‘fornication’ and ‘drug use’ by the ruling military junta in the country. Women face an uphill battle, with a snowball towering toward them in Egypt and around the region. To do what they want with their bodies seems to not be their own personal decision, but the decision of the men that control their destiny.”
Meanwhile, clerics announcing that women shouldn’t be allowed to shop for zucchinis, carrots or anything else that could be mistaken as a phallic symbol will continue to make the headlines — instead of coherent debate on women’s rights in Egypt, sighs Khan on the al-Arabiya editorial page. ”I don’t see the nut jobs retreating into corners for time outs. That is until and unless saner voices prevail and respond — not ignore — to their madness in equally loud measure.
“Failure to do so means the freak show will go on until there’s little left to laugh about.”