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Freedom unveiled: Iranian women strip to slam repression

Published time: March 09, 2012 15:22
Edited time: March 09, 2012 19:22

"My nudity is a 'no' to political Islam," says an Iranian activist while posing topless to the camera (Freeze-frame from

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Iranian women living in exile in Europe have stripped off for a video to promote their nude calendar in an effort to fight sexual oppression in their home country.

My nudity is a ‘no’ to stoning to death,” say the defiant women in the YouTube video, posing topless to scream against “a society of violence, racism, sexism, sexual harassment and hypocrisy."

In analysts' opinion, nudity is a powerful protest tool in the Islamic world, where women cover every part of body, except the face and hands, with loose shadow-proof robes. In Iran, a Muslim woman wearing shorts may spend up to four months in jail.

The controversial promo is set to boost sales of the Nude Photo Revolutionary Calendar released for global sales on International Woman’s Day. The calendar honors an Egyptian blogger, Aliaa Magda Elmahdy. In November Elmahdy, outraged with a ban on nude models in Egyptian universities and books, set the Arab world on fire by posting a full length picture of her naked self on the web.

In the late 1970’s Egyptian official art schools saw a social ban on the tradition of nude models. Besides hindering arts studies, the ban brought certain censorship into mainstream arts, including cinema.

Islamism and the religious right are obsessed with women's bodies. They demand that we be veiled, bound, and gagged,” sighs Maryam Namazie, the human rights activist behind the nude calendar featuring Iranian women.

Namazie’s initiative sends one more message of homage – to the Iranian actress Golshifteh Farahani. After posing topless in Madame Le Figaro magazine, the actress received a phone call from the Iranian government, who warned her against returning home.  

Islamists want us covered up, hidden, and not seen and not heard; we refuse to comply,” Namazie writes in her blog.

In Iran, the nude calendar and promotional video stirred controversy even among local feminists.

Azar Majedi, of the Organization of Women's Liberation in Iran, has slammed the initiative for exploiting women's nudity for profit, just as the tabloids do, reports The International Business Times.

Majedi adds that the calendar is an “absurd caricature” of Aliaa Magda Elmahdy, as fighting for Muslim women’s rights in tolerant Europe is nothing compared to raising your head in Egypt.

"One does not have to live in the Middle East and North Africa to feel the threats of Islamism," Namazie replies in her blog. "But, nonetheless, threats or no threats, in Egypt or not, isn't this the whole point of international solidarity?"

Comments (4)


Trenz 05.07.2014 18:14

Yes, by all means the miseducation of muslim men has to finish. The way they treat women is shameful! Their rights clearly serve to comfort their egos and patronize primal instincts. They refused to understand women nature, accept it and take the challenge. Cowards! The God wished women to cover their bodies, not speak their minds, not make decisions, and be physically mutilated? WHAT AN UTTER BU L L SH I T!!!! Shame on you! Learn to grow up at last Muslim men!


Isobel 05.07.2014 11:07

I have known Arab women in other countries who don't object to covering up in public because they feel exposed if they don't but dress in modern clothes at home. One woman said when travelling in Europe she couldn't decide whether to wear a veil or not, so some days did and some didn't, and she thought the hotel staff might think her switch between the two appearances made her look insane! But she couldn't decide what made her more comfortable, although that was her choice though.


Isobel 05.07.2014 11:05

I can understand protesting against repression, but not sure a nude calendar is the way forward. That is almost exploiting yourself to prove a point.

Iranian women can expose their faces though can't they, which is different from some countries. That probably sounds a bit complacent coming from a woman with freedom in the West but I was just comparing various cultures.

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