In Egypt, a viral video of a teacher belly-dancing has sparked a national debate about women’s rights and the country’s socially conservative values.
Aya Yousef was fired and divorced by her husband after she was filmed by a colleague at a work social event on a Nile boat without her permission. The footage shows her moving to the music alongside male teaching staff.
Belly-dancing reportedly dates back to Pharaonic times but now it’s frowned upon for women to dance in public.
The video of Yousef, who is wearing the Islamic headscarf and a long-sleeved dress for the daytime river trip, looks very tame by Western standards, however after it was widely shared on Arab social media in the past week, it prompted outrage among Egyptian conservatives.
Her critics claimed she had acted shamefully: “It clearly expresses the poor times we live in!! Anything is permitted,” wrote one Twitter user.
“Education has reached a low level in Egypt,” another commented, calling for intervention by the relevant authorities.
Yousef was then fired by the primary school where she had worked for several years teaching Arabic.
She has vowed she will never dance again and said that she had contemplated suicide during her recent ordeal. “Ten minutes on the boat in the Nile cost me my life,” she told journalists.
The teacher complained the affair was “a transgression of [her] privacy”.
She pointed out that she did not dance at a public institution or in front of students and said she planned to sue the person who filmed the video last month.
Sources: BBC, Womens News
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