Here’s the story of Amina Tyler, a 19-year- young woman who has brewed a storm of controversy in Tunisia. Tyler around 10 days ago posted two photos of herself topless on Facebook. The first image showed Amina with the words “F*** your morals” written across her chest. The second has the words “My body belongs to me and is not the source of anyone’s honor” written in Arabic.
Apparently, she told a Tunisian newspaper that she posted these pictures to make the voice of Tunisian women heard and stand up against oppression.
Tyler became the founder of the feminist movement FEMEN in Tunisia in February. FEMEN is a well-known activist group popular, as some readers will know, for protesting against Putin and former playboy Prime Minister Berlusconi. Amina has officially carried this movement to the Middle East.
Women played a huge part in rallying alongside their fellow male citizens to bring down the dictators ruling their nations. The main political beneficiary of this change, as we are seeing, is the rise of Islamic movements. Many are now saying that as a result of this trend the rights of women are under threat.
Rumors circulated around the web that Amina disappeared and was placed in a mental institute. A lawyer representing Tyler’s family then denied these rumors. Amina is apparently safe and back at home.
Millions of women around the Arab World are all supporters (if not participants) of protests for gender equality, especially in a countries like Tunisia where technically speaking the government in the 1950s stipulated equality of sexes. Discrimination still exists obviously, and protests that denounce an article in the draft Tunisian constitution that describes women as being complementary to men are ongoing.
The question is though, should posing completely naked and posting the picture to the general public be the way to go about any gender-equality protest? Amina evidently has a lot to say and women will stand stand by the idea that she has, but most Arab women will not agree with her methods. If she is against objectifying women posing naked is definitely NOT the right way to convey that message. This is especially true in nations where Islamic movements are gaining traction. Such acts will only become fuel to their fire. Protests that will be productive are those that encourage a moderate Islam that supports gender equality.
There is much to be done in the realm of gender equality for the entire region, but are methods like those of Amina’s the way to go?