The #BringBackOurGirls campaign is the worldwide response to the abduction of 276 Nigerian School girls by Boko Haram, a militant Islamic extremist faction. Model and Sports Illustrated Cover model in 2007 and 2011, Irina Shayk joined the ranks of Anne Hathaway, Michelle Obama and Amy Poehler with her addition to the #BringBackOurGirls pictures, only she did it a little differently.
Posing topless with only the paper brandishing the hashtag covering up her breasts, Irina Shayk expressed her solidarity.
Her good intentions were met with scathing criticism.
Some claimed she posted the picture to turn the attention on herself. One person commented “Seriously? Do you even know what that means?” Another poster said, “This isn't just another photoshoot. These girls were kidnapped and you decided to show half your t***? How mature of you...!”
Admittedly, her pictures did not seem to fit the nature of the cause. For me, it’s quite bizarre to see someone unclothed advocating such a serious cause.
This uneasiness felt by me and the quick accusations of others raise more important questions about the nature of our society. Why is it that we are made so uncomfortable by nudity? Is Shayk’s nudity representative of feminine power or is she succumbing to the patriarchal norms of our society in order to bring attention to #BringOurGirlsBack or even herself?
Another person commented, “This is exactly the justification terrorists are probably using to prevent women from receiving "western education.” Perhaps, Shayk was attempting the opposite. By demonstrating that it is “ok” to pose nude on public social media in Western society, Shayk brings the shortcomings of a society that is extremely misogynistic to light. This maybe going too far, but perhaps Shayk attempts to say that in society where men and women aren’t segregated by their sex that atrocities such as the abduction would occur less frequently or not at all.
Then again, Shayk may have been completely misguided in her decision to post semi-nude photos with the hashtag Bring Our Girls Back.
Regardless of the cause or the meaning behind it, over six months have passes and the Nigerian girls remain separated from their families and homes. Media attention has turned away from this atrocity rendering the scathing comments null and inconsequential. At the end of the day, the Nigerian girls need to get home and in the long run, no one should really care whether or not someone posted a risqué photo attempting to contribute to the cause.