100 Women (Amina Sboui-Tyler’s experience)

One of the first ‘real life’ stories that Ella reported on away back in December 2011 included Egyptian Aliaa Magda Elmahdy, who blogged herself naked (apart from red shoes), and faced the wrath of  the country’s fundamentalists.

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She later fled the country, to Sweden, where she became involved with Femen, the radical feminist group, and joined them for protests.

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Later, she would continue her photographic exploits by publishing a photo of herself menstruating on an ISIL flag.

In turn, her initial actions would lead to several further protests in support of her, from women in Israel…

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…and a wider international campaign called Nude Photo Revolutionaries which produced a calendar.

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Some time later, Tunisian feminist Amina Sboui would also post a topless photo to social media, something else Ella reported on while challenging Femen’s tactics (Ella refers to her as Amina Tyler, the name given for her at the time, one she adopted after Stephen Tyler from Aerosmith).

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Amina Sboui/Tyler would later be jailed for writing the word ‘Femen’ in a cemetery, and while aligned with the group for a while, left it because she felt that they were being disrespectful towards the Muslim world in some ways (her criticism of the group coming a couple of months after Ella had reached the same conclusion).

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More recently she has penned her autobiography, ‘My body belongs to me’.

She has recently come back into the news in the UK thanks to the BBC’s 100 Women series, which explores the experience of women from different parts of the globe. A video of Amina Sboui explaining her actions is available here (possibly only available to UK users) and an article explaining the background to her experience is here.

Early in 2015 Amina plans to publish a magazine, called Farida (it means ‘unique’ in Arabic) which will be a ‘feminine feminist’s magazine’, and printed only in Arabic, aimed at a readership of 15-25 year olds. It will be interesting to see how the Arab world reacts to it, or if it begins to change the hearts & minds of women in some Arab countries.

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While the BBC isn’t cherished by our politicians, it is by the rest of us, exactly for projects like ‘100 Women’.

Trine

 

 

 

Continuing our ‘southern’ hemisphere tour: the onsen

Onsen are Japanese hot springs and they’ve featured in SL Naturist before, away back in 2012. I thought it might be time for an update on these bath houses as they do feature nudity, and because it also allows us to examine the naked cultures of the south(ern hemisphere). Yes, yes, yes, I know Japan isn’t in the southern hemisphere, it’s actually on a similar parallel to Spain or the northern states of the USA, but I think that when we exit Europe (or north America) we often tend to think of ourselves as ‘heading south’, and it’s the reason why I will be including ‘the Far East’ in our winter tour of ‘the south(ern hemisphere)’.

I know I’m playing fast and loose with the earth’s geography, but it makes some sense, to me, to include Japan and its attitudes to nudity, in our ‘winter tour’ (alongside S.Africa, Australia, Brazil et al). As the winter progresses we may also include the Indian sub continent (northern hemisphere) in our ‘tour of the south’. So please don’t write in to say ‘you do know Japan/India etc are actually in the northern hemisphere’. Yes, I do know.

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I’ve tried to include ‘real’ photos of onsen, and part of the elaborate washing and bathing rituals involved, a task made difficult by the internet’s preference for ‘posed by models’ photographs and almost entire absence of males, who also use onsen.

The etiquette of using an onsen is explained on this page (external link), and also in this video

A further video explains why tattoos are a ‘no no’ in onsen.

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Sai No Kawara-Kusatsu is the largest outdoor bath in Kusatsu. The natural spa is one of the most prolific outpourings of hot water of all the hot springs in Japan. The springs produce sulfurous spa waters with high acidity that are said to be effective against neuralgia and skin diseases. The town has been a popular destination since the 13th Century.

Sai No Kawara-Kusatsu is the largest outdoor bath in Kusatsu. The natural spa is one of the most prolific outpourings of hot water of all the hot springs in Japan. The springs produce sulfurous spa waters with high acidity that are said to be effective against neuralgia and skin diseases. The town has been a popular destination since the 13th Century.

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It’s hard to know just what the exact etiquette is regarding nudity. Some sources say that mixed onsen are available, others suggest the bathing is segregated.

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The onsen is a popular build in SL, with a variety of locations to enjoy them. The photographs above show numerous beautifully located onsen, and the SL builds are no different, uniformly being photogenic sims.

I began at the Sabai Sabai onsen, where males and females can pick up free towels (for both body and head).

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I confess that I was so confused by the conflicting opinions about nudity in the onsen that I…erm…checked out a user, hahaha, and yes, he was using the onsen as nature intended! Others arrived and waded in, although I noted that the ladies tended to use the onsen wrapped in the free towels while the men generally went nude.

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I moved on to the Empire Paradise onsen, which had a very realistic washing area, such as those shown in real life photos further up the page.

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Note how the entrance at Empire Onsen closely resembles the entrance to a real life onsen.

There’s a number of other onsen around the grid, but I’ve just picked a couple to give you a sense of what they look like and how they resemble the real life equivalent. I’m off to explore a bit more of Japan (in Second Life) before joining up with Trine again and jetting off somewhere else, hopefully this time properly in the southern hemisphere!

Abigail