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Arrest of TikTok Girls in Egypt for Violating "Family Values"
Intersections of Religion, Gender and Class
August 7, 2020
A number of girls were arrested and sentenced to a couple of years in prison on charges of "violating the Egyptian family values" and "spreading debauchery." Vague as they seem, the accusations are usually connected to the imagined Islamic/religious/conservative nature of the Egyptian society. The girls were also subjected to "virginity tests," which was criticized by human rights defenders and activists, recalling similar tests conducted in December 2012 by the Egyptian military against female activists during one of the phases of the correspondent Egyptian uprisings. The imprisonment of TikTok girls contradicts the Egyptian prosecution claimed support of a #MeToo wave led by a number of Egyptian girls. While such support was praised by feminist activists, the latter are meanwhile concerned about the classist tendenies of the judicial and executive authorities when it comes to the TIkTok girls, who belong to slum areas and poor neighborhoods and villages inside and outside Cairo.