Finding Alyaa Mahdy’s Spot

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There is a Chinese proverb and curse that says “May you live in interesting times” and I always say that whoever lived in 2011 could happily die fulfilled with interesting moments. Global revolutions, rumors of Armageddon, regimes toppled, world leaders brutally killed and screen legends passing away one after the other. A couple of weeks ago, interesting incidents got a new twist and #NudePhotoRevolutionary was trending on Twitter.


When I checked it out, it transferred me to a blog post of a 20 year old girl called Alyaa Magda Mahdy who photographed herself wearing nothing but stockings and red shoes. A nude photo, what’s the attraction? That’s all I said but when I scrolled down and saw the seven digit number of page visits that I couldn’t even pronounce,I knew that she was hitting under the belt. So why is Alyaa Mahdy on the spot?


According to her Facebook bio, Alyaa is a 20 year old Egyptian woman who calls herself a blogger, Atheist, a Secular Liberal Egyptian who is interested in men and women. Her nude photo has become Egypt’s new obsession that made international headlines including CNN and The Huffington Post. As a result of being newsworthy, General Prosecutors turned their heads towards the matter and called for legal action through the execution of Islamic law penalties against Alyaa and her boyfriend Karim Amer, who is also a blogger.


Sex sells. Porn is a billion dollar business. That’s the main reason the online world grew up faster than any other technological breakthrough in history. No one wants to read Playboy online when they can have a motion picture of their favorite celebrity getting caught in the act. There are numerous websites where you can find nude pictures of men and women from The North Pole to Luxor with a click of a button without having to say “I didn’t see the tape but Mido my neighbor saw it and told me about it”. There are numerous websites where you could find Egyptian men and women having sex.


I think what made people interested in Alyaa’s case is that she’s a young woman from Egypt who came out calling for sexual freedom and not just having an amateur sex video. The main attention came when people found that they relate to her, the exact same thing like Egyptian films with sex scenes that were made back in the 70’s during the time of war when some Egyptian actors were bankrupt. Some of us secretly watched the Youtube versions of these scenes that were snapped from our older generation’s video tapes. It’s always interesting when you can relate to the people in the picture whether by language, race or a personal relationship. Nahed Sherif’s scenes will always be more interesting than Britney’s, that’s a fact.


Alyaa stated in her blog (which doesn’t contain any blog posts expect the nude one) that her photo goes under the category of Nude Art but when you zoom in, you don’t find except a naked girl wearing stockings and red shoes that look like they belong to a waitress from the 60’s. If that’s art, then millions of Egyptians won’t support her due to artistic differences. On her Twitter account and blog she calls for freedom of art and expression which still has nothing to do with just showing her breasts and vagina to the public. No message in the picture, no artistic measures behind it, absolutely nothing. She’s also stating in her Facebook information and Twitter bio that she’s an atheist. I have atheist friends, and I didn’t know that they’re atheists until we got into a religion related topic. Normally atheists don’t talk about their religious views the first time you meet them and don’t write about it in their social media profiles unless it’s a result of anger.


Religious beliefs are very personal. Nude art lovers don’t talk about their passion the first time you speak to them. There is no much disparity between Egypt’s ‘conservati¬sm’ and the west’s ‘civilized’ philosophy towards such case. Nudity is viewed quiet the same everywhere and has nothing to do with a country’s artistic or liberal background. America’s regulation of ‘Moral Majority’ restricted the censorship of media outlets that promote an “anti-family” agenda and opposed to state recognition and acceptance of homosexual acts. In my opinion, this girl is a sucker for attention. She has nothing to say and unfortunately, she has taken more attention than thousands of Egyptian women who struggle for a real cause on daily basis. Putting advice and prudence aside, it’s a matter of fact that while I’m writing this article, I’m missing out the voice of other women in need who want me to pass their message through. While you’re reading this article you’re missing out on another one that discusses real life issues and that doesn’t have to be a Third World catastrophe it could include fashion and entertainment too.


I’d like to think that Alyaa Mahdi doesn’t exist. It’s like Al Pacino’s ‘Simone’ in which he invented a computerized actress that became the fantasy of everyone who watched her. On the other hand, our feedback to her photo does exist. The idea of the photo being a global hard sell is taking place on daily basis, but her body isn’t breaking news. Liberating people’s minds from this story is the ultimate freedom. If Alyaa Mahdi proves to be really interesting, I’ll re-edit my ‘interesting things to do before 30’ list.

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