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New publication by Sara Mourad

Wednesday, January 02, 2013

Sara Mourad

Annenberg doctoral student Sara Mourad has published a piece in the journal Jadaliyya titled “The Naked Bodies of Alia,” about Egyptian activist Alia al-Mahdy and nude photographs she posted of herself.
Demands for sexual freedoms are not part of the mainstream secular discourse in the contemporary Arab world, which is why Alia’s first intervention was seen as unnecessary and untimely. But, as Mlaya Mikdashi summed it up, Alia was not “waiting for the ‘right moment’ to bring up bodily rights and sexual rights in post-Mubarak Egypt. She is not playing nice with the patriarchal power structures in Egypt. She is not waiting her turn.” In fact, these patriarchal power structures, in their different ideological manifestations, have constantly evoked “cultural traditions” as that which must be safeguarded against imperial onslaught, or savage capitalism, or loose secular morals. Cultural traditions are to be protected from religious obscurantism by some and from satanic liberalism by others.

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