The Girl in the Blue Bra

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The Girl in the Blue Bra was violently beaten in Cairo, Egypt after the Egyptian Revolution of 2011 ousting Hosni Mubarak from Presidency. Her bright blue bra was the only identification of her body, with images of her assault by Egyptian military men flooding the internet.


After the January 25, 2011 Egyptian Revolution, there was still a lot of civil unrest at the takeover of government by the Egyptian military SCAF. Tahrir Square was the site for the Egyptian revolution and also the site for smaller revolutionary groups to ask SCAF to step down and allow for a civilian transitional government.[1] Through video and photo evidence, the woman was running from SCAF forces when she was grabbed by military men.[1] Another protester tried to assist her until he was beaten with batons and could no longer help. The woman's black abaya came undone during the attack and exposed her jeans, stomach and blue bra.[2] Repeatedly stomped, the woman was assaulted until she seemed to be unconscious.[1]

Global response[edit]

As the internet circulated the image, large international broadcasting companies spread the story. CNN, National Post and NPR to name a few, covered the Girl in the Blue Bra.[3][4][5] Hillary Clinton even went on the record about this issue stating "systematic degradation of Egyptian women [which] dishonors the revolution, disgraces the state and its uniform, and is not worthy of a great people."[3] In response to the violent treatment, thousands of Egyptians marched into Tahrir Square later in December 2011 including the largest number of women in decades.[4]

Visual injustice symbol[edit]

The Girl in the Blue Bra was described as a "visual injustice symbol" by Thomas Olesen in a 2013 paper on the subject. This term means a symbol for a larger phenomenon, like the unjust treatment of SCAF and the Egyptian Military on the people of Egypt.[6] The visualization of a victim gives a face to the often faceless issues. This term was originally used with Khaled Said, a key component to sparking the Arab Spring earlier in 2011.[6]


  1. ^ a b c Sherine Hafez, (2014), "The revolution shall not pass through women's bodies: Egypt, uprising and gender politics" (Journal of North African Studies, Volume 19.2), Taylor and Francis, pp.172-185.
  2. ^ Sherine Hafez, (2014), "Bodies That Protest: The Girl in the Blue Bra, Sexuality and State Violence in Revolutionary Egypt" (Signs, Volume 40:1) The University of Chicago Press, pp.20-28
  3. ^ a b Kainaz Amaria, (2011) "The 'Girl In The Blue Bra,'" NPR,
  4. ^ a b Isobel Coleman, (2011),"'Blue bra girl' rallies Egypt's women vs. oppression," CNN,
  5. ^ Michael Higgens, 2011, "Police beating of ‘girl in the blue bra’ becomes new rallying call for Egyptians," National Post,
  6. ^ a b Thomas Olesen (2013), “We are all Khaled Said”: Visual Injustice Symbols in the Egyptian Revolution, 2010–2011, in Nicole Doerr, Alice Mattoni, Simon Teune (ed.) Advances in the Visual Analysis of Social Movements (Research in Social Movements, Conflicts and Change, Volume 35) Emerald Group Publishing Limited, pp.3 - 25

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