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.
She later fled the country, to Sweden, where she became involved with Femen, the radical feminist group, and joined them for protests.
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…
…and a wider international campaign called Nude Photo Revolutionaries which produced a calendar.
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).
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).
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.
While the BBC isn’t cherished by our politicians, it is by the rest of us, exactly for projects like ‘100 Women’.