Graffito near a construction site/empty lot on Tahrir Street in Dokki, Giza. These are three images of women; from left to right, one wearing a niqab, one wearing a hijab, and one who is not covering her hair. The phrase below the images reminds us not to judge or rate women based on how they choose to dress and present themselves in public.
This stencil is one of several included in NooNeswa’s (نون النسوة) graffiti project “Graffiti 7arami.” NooNeswa is a campaign started by men and women that aims to challenge and change attitudes about women in Egypt. Below is their description of “Graffiti 7arami” from their Facebook page:
“Graffiti 7arimi is a graffiti campaign that will take to the streets of Cairo on the 9th of March - the anniversary of virginity tests
“Graffiti 7arimi is a celebratory event that aims to take back, even in a small way, public space for women
Through graffiti, the campaign will tackle and invert negative social ideas/stereotypes, and instead, build images that are positive and powerful to honor the women of our society.”
On May 9th, 2011, the Egyptian military ordered a doctor to perform virginity tests on 17 female protesters who had been detained while camping in Tahrir Square, a practice that human rights organizations say has been widely used by the military as punishment. In December 2011, a court in Cairo ordered that virginity tests on female detainees in military prisons be stopped.
The Daily Beast 19 March 2012: Samira Ibrahim, ‘Virginity Test’ Victim, Fights Egypt’s Military Rule
Egypt Independent/Al-Masry Al-Youm from 10 March 2012 : “A graffiti campaign brings strong female voices to the street”
Al-Jazeera from 11 March 2012: “Egypt clears ‘virginity test’ military doctor”