Author Emily Dietle

My focus is on state-church separation & social issues. I'm an avid reader, and feel that one of our most valuable tools is the free movement of information and ideas. | @emilyhasbooks

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There has been some concern expressed about my intent to participate in an upcoming calendar to support free-speech and women’s rights. I say ‘intent’ because it’s a call for submissions, and while I’m submitting a photo, entry is not guaranteed.

The calendar is being created by activist and blogger Maryam Namazie in support of Aliaa Magda Elmahdy a college student and blogger from Egypt.  Aliaa chose to stand up against rising Salafi oppression of women by posting a nude photo representation of herself online, and is now being prosecuted for “violating morals, inciting indecency, and insulting Islam.” Those in power are seeking to punish her according to Islamic law, which could include execution.

The assumption from many detractors is that if one is nude, one is also lewd.  This simply isn’t the case.  Nude representations of the human form can be artistic and powerful, and the pose I have chosen is both.  The only negative impact I foresee will be caused by judgmental and misogynistic people reinforcing stereotypes with crude comments- the very people that need to hear the message that women’s bodies are nothing to be ashamed of. This calendar will be a tasteful (non-vulgar) display of the beauty and strength of women united for free expression and civil liberties.

I’ve been asked about the effect this will have on my child.  Whether or not my entry is accepted, and when an appropriate time arises in the future, I will tell of how Mommy exposed her full natural beauty to stand up against hatred towards women. It would be a great opportunity to educate my child about the history of free expression and women’s rights.  Listen up: our bodies are nothing to be ashamed of. If it weren’t for people who took a strong stand against misogyny and for free-expression, we’d still be in an age where showing your ankles was taboo. Look to countries that still practice misogynistic practices, without opposition, they are successful at their attempts to bind and control women.

There are people who are actively trying to silence and shame women, in this country and abroad, and it is up to those of us who can make an impact to do so.  My involvement with this calendar has nothing to do with religion, other than it being a stand against those (this time in Islam) that wish to control women.  It has everything to do with my values, and yes- atheists have them. I have no shame about my body, and this calendar isn’t being created to please others sexually or otherwise, it’s to make a stand against those who fear & despise women and want them to be hidden in society.

Follow the movement: #nudephotorevolutionary on twitter
and at Maryam Namazie’s blog.