One could hear Aliaa Magda Elmahdy's name on the lips of thousands worldwide after the 20-year-old Egyptian activist posted naked photos of herself online in an effort to shed light on injustices against women in her country.
Elmahdy posted the naked photos on her blog [NSFW] and conservatives and liberals alike have responded in denunciation, reports the Huffington Post.
Elmahdy, who is seen in one photograph wearing only stockings and red heels, includes the caption [the photo] screams against a society of violence, racism, sexism, sexual harassment and hypocrisy. She became a Twitter trend under the hashtag #nudephotorevolutionary.
Elmahdy describes herself as an liberal and an atheist. She has been living with her boyfriend, blogger Kareem Amer. Amer was sentenced to four years in maximum security prison for speaking out against Islam and former president Hosni Mubarak.
The 20-year-old activist gave CNN Cairo an exclusive interview about the motivation behind the nude photographs and her continued fight for freedom.
Continue Reading Below
After the photo was removed from Facebook, Elmahdy gave her friend permission to repost it on Twitter.
A male friend of mine asked me if he may post it on Twitter. I accepted because I am not shy of being a woman in a society where women are nothing but sex objects harassed on a daily basis by men who know nothing about sex or the importance of a woman, she told CNN.
The photo is an expression of my being and I see the human body as the best artistic representation of that. I took the photo myself using a timer on my personal camera. The powerful colors black and red inspire me.
Elmahdy said that she loves art and media and wants to utilize her knowledge to expose the truth behind the lies we endure every day in this world.
She does not describe herself as a political revolutionary, though many have dubbed her as such.
I was never into politics. I first joined the protests on May 27 because I felt the need to participate and decided I might be able to change the future of Egypt and refused to remain silent, Elmahdy told CNN. I made it clear that I was not part of the April 6 Movement.
Elmahdy is very candid when discussing sex, regardless of how the act is perceived in her home country. Most Egyptians are secretive about sex because they are brought up thinking sex is something bad and dirty and there is no mention of it in schools. Sex to the majority is simply a man using a woman with no communication between them and children are just part of an equation.
To me, sex is an expression of respect, a passion for love that culminates into sex to please both sides, she added.
Elmahdy then goes on to discuss her sexual relations.
I do practice safe sex but I don't take pills because I am against abortion. I enjoyed losing my virginity at the age of 18 with a man I loved who was 40 years older than me. Kareem Amer is the second man and the love of my life.
Her parents are trying to support her throughout this ordeal, however, they believe her boyfriend is to blame for her brazen ways. They accuse Kareem of manipulating me, she said.
He has been my support system and has passed along their text messages to me. I dropped out of AUC (The American University in Cairo where she was a media student) months back after (my parents) attempted to control my life by threatening not to pay the fees.
Elmahdy is hoping to stimulate change in Egypt, which is founded on a governing rule that permits abuses upon females.
CNN questioned Elmahdy about forced virginity tests performed by the Egyptian military on multiple girls arrested in Tahrir Square.
I consider this rape, she said. Those men in the military who conducted these tests should be punished for allowing this to happen without the consent of the girls in the first place. Instead, the girls walk around feeling the shame and most of them are forced to remain silent.
It is troubling issues such as this that give Elmahdy reason to continue her quest for liberation. Despite those who have criticized her for her audacious action, and those who spew hatred towards her because of it, Elmahdy has no plans to cease her fight for freedom.
I am a believer of every word I say and I am willing to live in danger under the many threats I receive in order to obtain the real freedom all Egyptian are fighting and dying for daily.
To read the full interview, please visit CNN.com.