Aliaa Al Mahdy: Rebel With A Cause

By: Alexandra Kinias

Egyptian blogger Aliaa Al Mahdy can easily pass as the girl next door, yet at a closer look, she is not the normal type of girl one usually runs into. In her words Aliaa describes herself as secular, liberal, feminist, vegetarian and individualist Egyptian. The day after she celebrated her twentieth birthday, Loleeta, as she calls herself on her Facebook page, was charged with inciting immorality, debauchery and defamation of religion. Aliaa’s crime is posting a nude self-photograph on her blog, A Rebel’s Diary.

Aliaa’s unprecedented act shocked the conservative Egyptian society. Her action not only raised eyebrows, but also questioned her sanity. But the young rebel defended herself and her freedom of expression. “I have the right to live freely in any place,” She wrote on her blog. “I feel happy and self-satisfied when I feel that I’m really free.” Under the picture she wrote one word Revolution.

On her Facebook page Aliaa explained that she posted this picture to defend her freedom that is being hijacked by conservatism. She wrote that she was “echoing screams against a society of violence, racism, sexism, sexual harassment and hypocrisy.”

She refuses to be judged or criticized for her actions. “Try models who posed naked for Fine Arts students in the 1970s, hide all art books, and destroy all naked statues. Then take off your clothes and look at yourselves in the mirror and burn those bodies of yours which you despise in order to get rid of your sexual complexes forever. Do that before you hurl your discriminatory insults at me or rob me of my freedom of expression.” She said.

There is a very high price for freedom, but it seems that Aliaa Al Mahdi is willing it pay it.

To read more:

Washington Post: Egyptian activist’s nude blog sparks controversy as liberals try to distance themselves

Washington Post: Egyptian activist nude self portrait causes online fury



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27 responses to “Aliaa Al Mahdy: Rebel With A Cause

  1. Tamim

    What an arrogant young lady……..however, no surprise that she has such strong opinions, they must be based on huge experience after all she is at the ripe old age of TWENTY!!!!!!

    Get some perspective Ms. Mahdy, grow up and then come back and confront the nice people you’ve hurt such as your parents; brothers and aunts and uncles (who might as well be your parents) and your neighbours who love you.

    Then again, I must admit, your logic is powerful, if we love our bodies, we must walk around naked and put pictures of our privacy on a forum where the world can see…….we can just go back to being cavemen while we’re at it.

    Wake up Ms. Mahdy

    • Corey

      Wow, she hurt her family; or those impressing theocractic laws hurt her family?

      Who did she directly injure, by posing nude?

  2. imad

    hi alia almahdi you are great

  3. I liked your piece on Aliaa el-Mahdy
    I wrote one myself in my blog, thought you might find it interesting, especially that it is written by an Egyptian
    My best

  4. Mona

    Aliaa My Dear… Even though you’re young, you understand the meaning of freedom… UNLIKE majority of our Egyptian society that’s desperate for freedom but don’t know the meaning and even though I myself wouldn’t do that, it’s how you feel & express youself & I respect that totally.
    And people should understand that if it’s not affecting YOUUUUUR personal freedom, you need to accept others’ expression & LEAVE THEM ALONE. KUDOS FOR YOU ALIAA 🙂

    • Mary Tawfik

      I am an American, and find this behavior very unacceptable… Bringing shame to to the family… and selling herself so cheap. It has nothing to do with where one comes from, but morals and respect…

      • John

        Touting yourself as an American to garner the liberal sympathy is pathetic. We both know you are religious and conservative and have nothing whatsoever to do with liberalism.

      • Corey

        You bring shame to me, by saying you are an American, yet disagree with free expression.

        I find your behavior unacceptable.

      • nada

        Im a muslim female who was raised here in america most of my family was born here, America does not change ppl, ppl is the 1 who wants to change and blame it on america,i wear headcover since iwas6yrs old .my point is getn nude isnt the way to gain freedoom .fredoom in my opnion is workin among men,sports,education,relgion,sexualharasment thts wat u shud fight 4,posen naked is just ur seln ur body y ur pretty u dont need that?

  5. Brian

    I wish her well. What is it with all the ‘fury’ over this. Isn’t about time human beings grew up?

  6. Siddeeqah Sharif

    I don’t think I could ever do what she did and as shocking as her photos were I applaud her for having the balls to live life the way she chooses to. Which regardless of what people may say has not actually hurt anyone.

  7. Cheryl

    I applaud her! The human body isn’t dirty, and she is expressing herself the way she wants. Nobody is getting hurt, and she is right to stand up against sexism and hypocrisy. She’s a brave girl who knows more than many of her so-called righteous elders: the old way isn’t working, and it’s hurting women, so it’s time for a change.

    • Shannon

      so the new way is to walk around naked, until we get bored and then someone comes out with clothes on and we are shocked at thier bravery and freedom of expression. way to go sister!

  8. Egyptian

    I am an Egyptian female, and even though I wouldn’t do what Aliaa did, I don’t see how her actions are so morally appalling or “blasphemous”. A girl put nude pictures on her facebook and twitter pages, it is not like she went into your homes and stripped naked. It is about time we recognize our society’s double standard; we call Aliaa a whore because her behavior is unislamic, but we rush to watch her nude photos on her webpage even though that in itself is unislamic behavior. I can’t tell of the amount of people who criticized Aliaa and admitted to watching her photos. Truly a society with double standards. This society needs a social revolution more than anything.
    Let us live and let live.

  9. Canadian

    Letter to Aliaa:

    I would never protest the way you’ve chosen to protest. However, I completely defend your right to do it and understand your reasoning.

    All of these protesters who insist that you are shameful, stupid, or somehow undermining their revolution, clearly don’t get what freedom means. They are for “freedom, but…”. This shows that they don’t truly grasp the meaning of the word and aren’t much different from the former regime that they wished to oust. If you truly believe in freedom, you understand the saying “I might not like what you have to say, but I will defend your right to say it.”

    You are not hurting (or dishonoring) anyone with your banal little photo (‘though I guess it isn’t so banal in your part of the world, hence this firestorm over it). Honor and shame are culturally relative and people need to realize that our personal actions are our own and reflect on us personally in terms of honor/dishonor (whatever those terms might mean). Too many women are killed around the world because of backwards ideas surrounding “honor/dishonor”.

    Good luck, girl! Stay strong, stay safe!

    A Christian Canadian Gal

  10. alice of wonderworld

    you inspire me Aliaa thankyou
    and ur story filled me with glee of sisterhood
    i did a similar thing in toronto
    but when i came home to london
    i got locked up by social services
    on command of my family

  11. Jack

    I LOVE THIS GIRL!! She is thinking ahead – she doesn’t accept a flat democratic solution, she wants complete freedom, and she is the right step towards that!! I cheer on you from Denmark!!

  12. Khalil


  13. hiba

    Go Alia!!!! You’re my hero!

  14. Albert Chin

    we come here with nake too in the first place….i’m not suprise

  15. ya ALLAH..what happen to u aliaa?? is ALLAH blocked yur heart from Nur..

  16. Craig Brown

    She was born naked and it was God’s will for her to be born that way.
    Stupid human’s lie and claim to know what God’s will is.
    Stupid people are shamed by the beauty of nature which leads them to even more stupid and violent acts rather than living in peace.

  17. mina

    I am trying to understand your way ,you show that you are free of every judgement ,you learnt me how is easy to be brave and how is difficult to showing.
    you know the core of freedom. the women of your country need to you and the persons like you, there is no way for saving your country.

  18. Ness

    Personal expression is a beautiful thing just as the human body is a work of art. I only wish I had more nude pics of myself at 20.

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