What we deem “offensive” says much about our values.
No doubt, there may be some who find the photos below offensive. I challenge you, though, to take a minute and consider the larger picture here.
Amina Tyler, Tunisian feminist activist, sparked a controversy a few weeks ago by posting semi-naked pictures of herself with these words painted on her chest:
“I own my body; it’s not the source of anyone’s honor.”
Tyler, the leader of the Tunisian branch of Ukrainian-based feminist group FEMEN, is speaking out against the patriarchal extremes of some radical Muslim groups that want to overturn the current polygamy ban and return to Shari’ah law.
The reaction by her government has been severe. Adel Almi, founding president of The Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice has led charge against Tyler, calling for extreme measures to be taken. Almi called for the girl to receive “80 to 100 lashes under Islamic law, further stating that due to the severity of her act, she deserves to be punished with rajm i.e. being stoned to death. ‘Her act could bring about an epidemic. It could be contagious and give ideas to other women. It is therefore necessary to isolate [the incident].'”
In the U.S., and most Western nations, we have the luxury of ignoring these things. We often look with a passing glance and move on about our day. And there are many who look at these photos and cry, “offensive!”
Here is what is offensive, to me:
When we spend our time, money and energy on things that keep us inward focused, to the neglect of the world around us.
When we will take time to look at, leer at and pick apart a Playboy video, but turn a blind eye to women who are baring their breasts to try and gain equality.
When we find time for funny cat videos and girls hula hooping, yet taking the two minutes to sign a petition seems too difficult.
Whether you agree with the intentions of the women protesting with FEMEN or not, let’s take time and remember that we are a community that has massive resources and potential to effect change. If the idea that this young woman may be stoned to death for standing up for the rights of women in her country, don’t just move on to the next article.
“All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men [and women] do nothing. ” ~ Edmund Burke