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    Topless Feminist Protest Comes to Tunisia

    By Roua Khlifi | Mar 18 2013 Share on Linkedin Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Google Share on pinterest Print

    Tags: Femen , gender equality , Inna Shevchenko , main-featured , Tunisian Femen ,

    Logo of Femen Tunisia.Photo credits: Facebook page of Femen- Tunisian Fanpage

    Last Monday, a 19 year old Tunisian woman named Amina posted on Facebook a photo of her naked upper body bearing the slogan “my body belongs to me, and is not the source of the honor of anyone.” She announced that she is representing the Femen movement in Tunisia.

    Founded in 2008, Femen is a Ukrainian feminist group that organizes topless protests to advocate for women’s liberation. Its activities have spread to other countries, with branches of the organization active in locations such as France and Germany.

    “We have members in Brazil, Germany, the U.S., Canada, Switzerland, Italy, Bulgaria, and Tunisia,” Inna Shevchenko, a leader of Femen, told The Atlantic in January 2013.

    Earlier this month, Femen member Julia Javel announced on France24 that Femen will open a branch in Tunisia to protest the oppression of women.

    Amina, the Tunisian woman who posed topless, told Ettounsiya TV: “In July, I saw the photos of Femen and I started reading about them. I liked that their message was radical.  It was the first time I saw women who are not posing naked for the camera but are angrily protesting. I contacted them and Skyped several times.”

    She added, “if I posted a picture of myself wearing a t-shirt with that slogan, it wouldn’t have any impact. I want the message to be read this way. (A woman’s) body is hers — not her father’s, her husband’s or her brother’s.”

    Amina’s photos sparked controversy among Facebook users. Some applauded her for her bravery, while others believed that her actions were immature and would only endanger the struggle for women’s equality.

    “I received death threats,” Amina said. “But I don’t think that what will happen to me can be worse than the situation of women. [...] When a woman takes off her shirt, that means she has reached the breaking point and can’t take it anymore.”

    She added that Tunisian women must “wake up” and realize they are living under oppression.

    A video of a woman identifying herself as Amina’s aunt and denouncing her niece’s actions was posted yesterday on YouTube.

    “Amina does not exist anymore for me,” she said. “She is responsible for her acts, and we are devastated by what she did. Our family is educated and open-minded and we did everything we could for her. Her father has been crying and has been in a miserable state.”

    She added: “I hope she pays for her actions. She does not represent her country or Tunisian women.”

  • By Roua Khlifi  / 
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    Comments

      zarboot /

      I don’t understand our lame media giving an unequal platform for lousy people and terrible organizations.

      We are basically picking up the worst from any new idea that pops out anywhere else and compounding it through poor taste “journalism”.

      We are living in a Tunisian environment full of chaos and non sense…

      What a shame this revolution has gone to. The idiots, the unstable, the intellectually weak, the radicals, the uncultivated… get their ideas amplified, but the sagging truth (pun intended) is that we remain a 3rd world country with a 3rd world mentality – and our media is sadly contributing to it.

    1. Sabrine /

      What people need to do is to learn to focus on themselves. What Amina does or does not do is not a social issue. She did not harm anyone so no one has a right to butt in on what she should or should not do. Plus she’s over 18 years old which means she’s legal. The fact that this issue is magnified and EXTREMELY HATED ON only proves and goes to show a womans place & position in the Tunisian society. People should just take a GREAT look at themselves in the mirror. A lot of the people complaining are the ones allowing discrimination and inequality in ther families and generally in their lives and society. It has gone so far that a lot of people don’t even realise that these are real issues. They fail to realise that these things are discriminating, inequal and disrespectful. Further, a naked body does not always mean something sexually “negative” nor something pornographic. It does not always have to be viewed as something sexual. Amina did this with a meaning she wants to get across to the people, with a message she wants to convey. The message of TRUTH. Many people fail to view and comprehend the message thus ignore it and only choose to see her tits. This only goes to show how sexually objectified woman truly are in todays society. Now, if you do not like the picture simply don’t look at it or click the ‘x’ button. Simple as that. Voila, now go back to your normal life. Let me tell you that you do not have to agree with what she did nor what she does, but that does not give you the right to call her names nor turn this into a social issue, that actually just says more about you and who you are as a person than what it says about her. She did not stroll around in the streets naked. She just simply took a picture in her own privacy with a purpose and a message of truth. And that surely is her choice. Lol at her aunt making a video stating the things she stated. It just makes me laugh. The only reason I can find as to her making that video is because she knows generally how a good amount of Tunisian people are. They shit talk and point fingers because they have nothing better to do all day. And her aunt doesn’t want anything “shameful” surrounding her family or putting up a picture of “how they are as a family”. She only spoke out because she is scared of peoples “shameful looks”, it was not out of love but out of shame. And lol at her aunt stating her father was miserable and devestated. Overreacting much? Now, for example if he found out his son fucked 20 girls in the same week, I am sure he would not have been as devestated as with Amina’s case. Even though her case is much much much much lighter. What does that go to show? Yup, exactly. And I know I am only assuming right now, and I could be wrong, but I speak from a lot of experience living with Tunisian families and meeting a lot of Tunisian people, families and witnessing the inequalty. I am not saying every tunisian is like this, but don’t be blind and we, Tunisians, know that a good amount of our population is like this. And that is FUCKED UP. Now that’s a social issue ;) Because that behaviour is destructive to a lot of people and towards a lot of families. There are a lot of important social issues to focus on, such as economics, discrimination, poverty etc. etc. but as usual the media and government are fucked up, manipulative, they focus on these things on purpose because they want to mind control you. They want to rule you. Because most politicians and people with power are fucked up and only care for money and power. So they give you what they think you want to hear to keep you blindly and stupidly following unimportant news thus leading to stupidity. Freedom of expression my ass!! A good amount of y’all just want people to express themselves in ” a typical tunisian way / manner” or “the typical tunisian muslim way” lol please. Give me a break. What a lot of you fail to realise is that everyone is different and unique, but most of you just want to suppress people into being the way that is “acceptable” or live the “typical tunisian life, the tunisian way”. What a lot of people fail to realise is that things have changed, and instead of moving backwards let’s move forward. Fact numero uno: Not every tunisian is muslim. Those of other beliefs should have the exact same rights and be able to express their beliefs and opinions just as every other muslim. We are all human beings and as long as we don’t harm one another we have the right to express ourselves in whichever way we like. THAT is true freedom of expression. Now stop fucking segregating and seperating and cutting out anything unusual, unknown or different from “the typical beliefs of a tunisian”. NOW that is truly being open minded, allowing everyone to freely express themselves without having such harsh reaction towards it. Allowing people to be exactly who they truly are. As long as there is no harm in it. Let’s unfold the uncensored truth of a woman’s position and worth in a Tunisian society. Opressed and discriminated. Only then can we move forward. The end.

      • 9arnita /

        alright…that was along rant that I couldn’t finish.

        but just on 2 points:
        -It is not legal to show your saggy breasts to the public in Tunisia (even online)…heck it is not legal to show PERKY breasts.

        -It is not OK to show her breasts “because she didn’t harm any one”… follwoing the same logic, one can go by the ibn khaldoon statue in downtown Tunis and masturbate….no one’s hurt, right!

        Anyway…Tunisians in their newly acquired freedom forgot 3 essential things:

        -be aware of how smart/dumb you are…
        -if you are not aware of ho dumb/smart you are, ask someone who is really smarter than you.
        -if it turns out you are dumb….shut the hell out and spare us.

        • Sabrine /

          First of all, you didn’t read the whole thing so it is clear that you don’t understand ;) Second of all don’t twist my words around and go to extreme examples such as masturbating in public. Your example is a very very very bad one. Both you and I know that. You’ve written barely nothing on the subject(article & my comment) itself. The words you’ve written are those of a typical ignorant person.

          Lol at your attempt to judge and insult me. That is just sad and pathetic. Lol “Shut the hell out” I suppose you mean “shut the hell up”. I encourage you to go take your own advice & reflect on your glaring ignorance.

          When you dont like someone’s opinion you stoop low and attack them instead of telling them constructively and respectfully why you disagree with them. I am not calling you dumb/stupid or smart but your comment sure is written in a dumb way.

          • 9arnita /

            my bad…I meant “shut the hell up”…i was typing fast…i kinda meant “shut up” and “get the hell out” in one phrase…so “shut the hell out” came up…

            still, you get hte point i think :)

            • Ale /

              You know whats really really sad? You are a woman, and you are critisizing antohr woman for defending your OWN RIGHTS. You should be ashamed of yourself. Yo mean that if your boobs are not pretty enough its illegal that you show them? I hope that wasit, and you should too. Showing your breasts in the muslum world means death. This girl was so brave you dont even get it. Yo wanna chew rocks like your mom? be trated like a piece of meat? have your husband step al over you? hace men beat you? You wanna fight? Tehn say someting smart, instead of men bullshit and stupidities, you wish you where half the woman Amina is… You are ignorant and selfish, you should read the whole Koran, it says a lot more than you are told. but you probably preffer it that way, dont you?

            • Tania /

              Islam stand rights of women I don’t support the retar mentallity of some people… thanks to them Islam think wrong about Islam… close mind people.. if you truly know Islam u know that SUGGEST wears hijab cover and thus… basing on that it will avoid men get horny.. but NEVER forces to wear hijab or cover, believe in whatever u want because deffend yourself as human, Islam esscentially wants respect between men n women, and care each on their soul faith ideology atheist or not… stop judging that girl who u are?? GOD?? ALLAH?? NO!!!…9arnita .. shame on u.. stop acting like a retard care of your life faith good for u if u wanna live like that nobody cares live your life , u must be so good muslim to feel u in a level superior.
              Islam isn’t oppression RESTARD MUSLIMS like 9arnita are the shame of the religion…
              BELIEVE ON WHATEVER U WANT AS LONG AS IT GIVE YOU SELF RESPECT… Being naked isn’t dont have self respect, is a question of ideas, if u dont like dont watch, only GOD ALLAH JEHOVA knows your heart, so shut up good muslim 9arnita, and stop cursing!

    2. zarta /

      Well…it appears this chick in question is mentally unstable…an entire brouhaha and a soap opera made out of this for a random sick person…

      • Sabrine /

        You do not know her and clearly you don’t like what she’s done because you have called her mentally unstable. I could call you mentally unstable for you calling her mentally unstable without even knowing her. But it is also clearly not my place to judge you like that because I don’t know you.

        What she wants is real democracy and abolishment of discrimination, she bared her body for it and most people didn’t like it, but she did it for a great cause. She did not rape or torture anyone, it is her own body but I am in total awareness that most of the Tunisian people are not mentally ready for such a move. It is a shame that the people do not see her real intentions and only see breast but not a message. You could applaud her for putting the discrimination of women in Tunisia in the limelight. It is true we are discriminated…a lot! Many women are not victims in the act of discrimination either, they are accomplices; they want their girls to be virgins when they don’t even give a second thought to their sons, they teach their girls to take care of the household chores while the sons play playstation or hang out with friends. Calling a girl in Tunisia “a good girl” isn’t necessarily a good thing, because what they generally mean is a girl that doesn’t stand up for herself and never says no to her family and relatives. In Tunisian society, a woman’s words are not as strong as a man’s, in the eyes of a lot of the people of this country. I know, one can say “but girl, that’s not in the law, that’s just people choosing how they “want” to live”. But when it is in such a huge amount that it shapes the culture, norms and society of the country and harm other people it becomes a social issue, a big big social problem. Many people have told me “but we’re much better than Libya and most other 3rd world countries”… So that means we shouldn’t evolve for the better and be the best society that we can be because we are better off than some countries. So you’d rather be number one in a “competition” than listening to the cries of suppressed individuals and working for justice?! Many people in Tunisia are obsessed with not causing so called shame and dishonor to the family or the country. So instead of thinking of the true best for their children or other loved ones they think of what the best way is to “look good” infront of everybody else. Everyvody in the world want to look good infront of others but their(Tunisians’) way is extreme. You don’t live for yourself anymore or even just your family but for the entire society, where no one can have their own mind set. If I am different I get judged, If I am not muslim I am an outsider, if I am a woman I have to act in a certain way, If I am a woman and I speak my mind I am “not well raised”, if I am a man and I speak my mind I am standing up fo my rights, if I am different I am mentally unstable and not normal… what is “normal” is not always right and what is normal to you may not be normal to me. I’ve talked about a lot of things here, it’s because it is all linked together, causing discrimination and it is never right whatever you one says, there is nothing that can justify discrimination.

    3. Bila /

      What a stupid argument “It is not legal to show your saggy breasts to the public in Tunisia (even online)…” You may need to follow your own advice and SHUT THE HELL UP.

      A totla hyporacy, if I remember correctly, our beaches are full of 1/2 naked women. And what are you going to to do about all the movies made in Tunisia full of nudity. Beside, should we just shut the whole internet service in Tunisia, or should we prosecute every singel person in the world who published a naked picture.

      And to my knowledge, there are no laws prohibiting any person from going naked online in Tunisia. Or at least, let’s say our legislatures are too busy pickering and didn’t have the luxery of time to update our 100 years old laws(when interent didn’t exist). As far as I m concerned, Internet is not Tunisia and could only used when they could prove the picutre was taken in Tunisia. That is way too different from a person masturbating by Ibn Khaldoun staue.

      What makes most of the argument stupid is trying to overlay the social and religion views over the state of law. The law is what matter, your idea and what is permitted or not is just your own way of thinking and nobody is required to follow it.

      May be she is stupid for showing herself naked, but at least she was able to uncover the faced of many other stupid people in Tunisia who were her vehicule to fame.

      I see Tunisia as full of hypocyte, they want to have double life. Be a good person by imposing the islamic law. But want to be free as the people in the west. Make up your damm mind, either this or that, they both don’t mix. You want to follow the religion, than you have some good examples to follow. And yes, they are the pople we use laugh at all time!!!

    4. PJ /

      Hmmm when women make up 50 % of custodial parents – not 91 %, when women make up 50 % of prisoners, when women pay 50 % of taxes, when women pay 50 % of child support, when women make 50 % of workplace deaths, when women make up 50% of military combat troop deaths, when women go to jail for domestic violence 50 % of the time, when women go to jail 50 % of the time for not paying child support , … ad infinitum. Then and only then can they claim some equality – which is in the opposite direction of Femen Cretin. Violent femen want more special entitlements and priviledges that puts them – because of their arrogance – above children, boys, men and real women. To hell with femen !

      • Sabrine /

        I have not read about Femen so I don’t speak for them, but your reasons for equality and inequality are bizarre and unreasonable. There are a lot of things that women do that men don’t do too. It is not the female civilians that decide the rules and regulations, it is more so the government of Tunisia. So if you want to cry out about the things you find unfair you should reach out to the government which is mostly run by men. Plus to say that 50% of prisoners should be female is absurd! That is not equality, that is bulls**t. There are many factors in your comment that are just absurd. I think some people have a twisted idea of what equality is or they just don’t want democracy, real democracy! I hope for a better change, both for the country and for you, PJ.

    5. Sarah Springham /

      “The struggle for women’s equality” and “as long as there’s no harm in it” are phrases taken from the comments above and illustrate the dilemma in which Muslim countries find themselves in. Equality for women does not suit traditional Muslim men and therefore for them, there is harm in it. Traditional Muslim women also perceive a threat in the struggle, as illustrated by the reaction of Amina’s aunt. This is a young person’s revolution, and they seem woefully under-represented in the political institutions of Tunisia, which is where this debate needs to be hammered out. Young Tunisians need to get involved in politics and build pressure groups to fight for the rights that they want and deserve.

    6. Deborah Jamil /

      Everyone (that includes Arabs) is looking at a depiction of a woman’s breasts every time they see the word Allah written (drawn) in Arabic, so what’s the big deal? Arabic is a pictographic language based on body parts, esp. reproductive body parts. When you look at the Arabic alphabet, you are seeing pregnant bellies with breasts, male genitals, with and without an erection, semen, female genitals, ovaries and eggs.

    7. Mohamed benmor /

      Tunisia is an African country, it is only natural that women like men can be topless, we were born without clothes.
      Tunisia use to be open to anybody who want to go topless or bottomless.What is the hang up, if you do not like it don’t look.

    8. Tania /

      Islam stand rights of women I don’t support the retar mentallity of some people… thanks to them Islam think wrong about Islam… close mind people.. if you truly know Islam u know that SUGGEST wears hijab cover and thus… basing on that it will avoid men get horny.. but NEVER forces to wear hijab or cover, believe in whatever u want because deffend yourself as human, Islam esscentially wants respect between men n women, and care each on their soul faith ideology atheist or not… stop judging that girl who u are?? GOD?? ALLAH?? NO!!!…9arnita .. shame on u.. stop acting like a retard care of your life faith good for u if u wanna live like that nobody cares live your life , u must be so good muslim to feel u in a level superior.
      Islam isn’t oppression RESTARD MUSLIMS like 9arnita are the shame of the religion…
      BELIEVE ON WHATEVER U WANT AS LONG AS IT GIVE YOU SELF RESPECT… Being naked isn’t dont have self respect, is a question of ideas, if u dont like dont watch, only GOD ALLAH JEHOVA knows your heart, so shut up good muslim 9arnita, and stop cursing!

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