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Women's Day Nudity

Balatarin

 

Maryam Namazie appearing semi-nude at the Louvre on International Women’s day has generated strong opinion both for and against the act. Those opposed view it as vulgarity that works against the cause of women’s rights in Muslim societies. Those in favor see it as a brave act that confronts patriarchal attitudes, exposing gender bias even among those with modern liberal views on gender equality. We’ll have to wait and see which view is more on the side of history. Regardless, Namazie‘s display qualifies as a work of art.

 

Here’s why:

1. Her demonstration took place on the grounds of the most visited art museum in the world . An art museum is one of the few places where the nude human body is displayed as a form of  public expression. This shows an awareness--at some level-- that Namazie's intent isn't to offend but to publicize a state of mind. Any shock or offense was perhaps necessary as a tool of artistic rhetoric but it wasn’t Namazie's primary message.
 
2. Her altering the Iranian flag was cleverly symbolic. She cut out the “Allah” symbol and wrapped the flag around her waist in such a way that her vagina would be where the “Allah“ symbol used to be. By itself this isn’t enough to be strong art.  But combined with her suggestion of a visual parallel (see above graphic based on Namazie's idea), it works as a reasonably competent visual arts expression.

Here’s a criticism:


Namazie clutters her clever visual statement by writing on her body.  The Femen group which influences Namazie’s style of protest uses nude body graffiti to good effect, but Namazie’s own visual innovation with the flag goes further if it remains undiluted by the overly urban feel of Femen body graffiti. Also the Farsi writing, "Woman = Man" on Namazie's body is a separate metaphor, a mathematical one, and so her display suffers from a case of mixed metaphors.

 

 

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Editor's note: Additional pictures can be found on Defending Iranian Democracy

Balatarin

Ari Siletz @AriSiletz

Ari Siletz is the author of the Mullah With No Legs and Other Stories. His works have been anthologized in several collections. His latest short story appears in Tremors: New Fiction By Iranian American Writers (University of Arkansas Press 2013).

Sebastopol, California

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Zendanian

Zendanian An injury to one is an injury to all.

Bread and Roses

Back in the days when there was a REAL women's movement, they didn't undress, or exhibit anything other than their firm belief in equality and their even firmer fists. And they achieved a lot of their goals because they were into grass roots mass organizing from bottom up, low key and long term struggle. Not this "instant gratification" exhibitionism. By the way of this rather petulant introduction here's a great poem from those days, enjoy.

Bread and Roses
By James Oppenheim
1882-1932

As we come marching, marching, in the beauty of the day,
A million darkened kitchens, a thousand mill-lofts gray
Are touched with all the radiance that a sudden sun discloses,
For the people hear us singing, "Bread and Roses, Bread and Roses."

As we come marching, marching, we battle, too, for men --
For they are women's children, and we mother them again.
Our lives shall not be sweated from birth until life closes --
Hearts starve as well as bodies: Give us Bread, but give us Roses.

As we come marching, marching, unnumbered women dead
Go crying through our singing their ancient song of Bread;
Small art and love and beauty their drudging spirits knew --
Yes, it is bread we fight for -- but we fight for Roses, too.

As we come marching, marching, we bring the Greater Days --
The rising of the women means the rising of the race --
No more the drudge and idler -- ten that toil where one reposes --
But a sharing of life's glories: Bread and Roses, Bread and Roses.
-----------------------------
1912 Bread and Roses Strike
http://www.massaflcio.org/1912-bread-and-roses-strike




Bavafa

Bavafa   Free copy of all e-mails, posts and voice conversation at NSA depository, no sign up is required and it won't cost you a dime only your freedom. Mehrdad

Ari jan,
Good to see you back.

I honestly fail to see how displaying nude is one way to protest against the gender inequality which exist in all societies, including Iran.

Also, how would the act of replacing the word Allah with the genitals help their cause by insulting and thus pushing away those religious hard cores.

All I can say;
خدا شفا بعده

Mehrdad




Anglo_Phile

Anglo Phile

But seriously folks don't you think Ms Namazie would benefit from some dietary plan? The way she is going by next year it would be hard to find a size 28 flag to around her waiste unless specially orderd to the worshipful company of the Islamic Republic's flag makers. BTW, how could she find an IRI flag in the first place?

MRX2412

MRX2412

Anglo you can't blame her for that. When you live on a Welfare specially in capitalist society governed by a Monarch (Did I just say that!) you tend to over eat! I would say working is the best solution for her , followed by attending a gym and a having Brazilian wax once in a while.
what I can't figure out is why all the women/men that struggled through the history for their cause be it Ghandi, king, Mandela, suchi, sotudeh you name it have not shown us their private parts to us!!!!

Zendanian

Zendanian An injury to one is an injury to all.

Gandhi, MLK, Mandela lived before advent of Post Modernism & mixed media art!

amirparvizforsecularmonarchy

amirparvizforsecularmonarchy I Love Waterfalls and Find One of the most humorous things in the world; is the notion that Americans are a greater force for good & more civilized than Nazi's, Mullahs and Communists.

They were also men mostly and not Women fighting for Women's Freedom of Expression. Soutodeh is fighting for Justice, which doesn't need nudity.

MRX2412

MRX2412

I don't know Amir I think we are not progressive enough. from now on I want to see every one's schlong, that goes for Rajavi, Reza Pahlavi, Rouhani, ahmadi you name it!!!

amirparvizforsecularmonarchy

amirparvizforsecularmonarchy I Love Waterfalls and Find One of the most humorous things in the world; is the notion that Americans are a greater force for good & more civilized than Nazi's, Mullahs and Communists.

Hahahahahahahahaha, those who believe in democracy would have to say yes to you if that is what the people want, if the majority of the people freely and fairly support you in your aims why not? The problem arises when the benefits of seeing a candidates schlong are lied about and people are deceived into wanting to see if for untrue reasons. Though it wouldn't happen in the USA due to opposition by religious folks. I propose we wisely stick with what has worked well for Iran, with the addition of requiring strong separation of church and state and representation by locally elected councilors, namely the Persian Monarchy and actually appreciate what a top down system with a partial and limited bottom up system can do better than a democratic system.

zeebajune

zeebajune

I don't think by showing her nude ugly body get her anywhere,
so next time cover it up and come up with better way to protest.

VisforVoy

Visfor Voy Voy! Is an Iranian expression of great frustration. A play on the film and comic book adaptation "V is for Vendetta". Get it? Object to Iran, and put energy into Pragmatic (not reckless, dangerous or foolhardy) Opposition to it.

These kinds of outrage shock tactics are designed to just make you think. Not ncessariy to define what you should be thinking.

I would say she gave more positive to the Allah symbol by her choice of flag location. A woman's V is technically the source of all life, and one could argue holy. I would have chosen a completely different orifice.

I am disappointed however.

Why is it our nudists aren't as attractive or as hot looking as the usual Swedish, French nudists?

Given the beauty of Iranian women you'd think if you wanted to draw attention...

amirparvizforsecularmonarchy

amirparvizforsecularmonarchy I Love Waterfalls and Find One of the most humorous things in the world; is the notion that Americans are a greater force for good & more civilized than Nazi's, Mullahs and Communists.

I love the idea. You are right, so I have a list of hot Persian women I would also like to see nude and I think it is essential to the human rights of all Iranians that we involve some hot Iranian women in our project to fight ignorance and praise nature and beauty, the good and true side of gods work.

This is not to make light of our serious situation, its just that the deranged mullahs and their immoral followers which we are dealing with want to kill people for expressing themselves in practice even thought they conceal it and really we need to expose that their involvement in peoples rights is not acceptable.

Iranians deserve any channel they want in their homes, haji khareh khoda or Persian Playboy, Freedom of Harmless Expression is Number One.

varjavand

varjavand Reza Varjavand (Ph.D., University of Oklahoma) is associate professor of economics and finance at the Graham School of management, Saint Xavier University, of Chicago.

I know when we reach the peak of hopelessness, we resort to radical action. While I support the cause outright, the question is: should we do a wrong thing for a right reason? Fifteen minutes of fame aside, such unusual way of protest is counterproductive and may create more backlash than support. What is the difference between what she did and what extreme Muslim do under the name of religion? Nudity is not the best way to express ourselves.

JahanshahRashidian3

Jahanshah Rashidian

Honest people in their right mind see in this action merely a Nude Protest against the misogynistic Islamic regime, whereas the people tied to the regime’s front or being patriarchal/ traditionalist / conservative... see preferably nudism.

Anglo_Phile

Anglo Phile

And we have a third category Monsieur Rashidian: les voyeurs!

Dois-je en dire plus?

bambi

bambi

As far as the style, perhaps she was trying a mixed-media approach with the artistic license.

bbigli

bbigli

You know what, It is none of anybody's business. Her body her and right to chose. she is neither brave nor has done anything wrong, she simply exercising her right as person. If this is so hard to understand then there is something wrong. stop judging others,for people of the world are waking up to the truth and truth shall set them free,

zeebajune

zeebajune

There are children around.
It is not nice to walk around like that.

P.Galenous

P_J. An Iranian!

Question is whether or not her streaking accomplishes anything...accepting the fact that what she does, is her business alone!