May 18, 2015

    Women Are Taking Leg Selfies After A Student Was Banned From An Exam For Wearing A Skirt

    "My dignity is not the length of my skirt." Men and women in Algeria took a stand against the university that banned the student.

    Earlier this month, an unnamed law student in Algeria was refused entry to an exam by a supervisor because her skirt came above the knees.

    Ben Hider / Getty Images

    The Law Faculty of Algiers argued that exam attendance "requires a decent outfit" and denied claims that it was discrimination.

    Speaking to TSA Algérie, Mohamed Tahar Hadjar, the dean of the university of Algiers' Faculty of Law, said that the supervisor made the right decision: "Wearing a short skirt is not authorised inside the university... It's their job to uphold the rules of the faculty ... it requires a decent outfit, for both girls and boys." He added that he believed it to be a "trivial matter."

    But for Algerians, the matter was far from trivial. Enraged by the university policy, student Sophia Jama created a Facebook group for people to share photos of their bare legs in protest.

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    The Facebook group – called "My dignity is not in the length of my skirt" – began collecting the photos in an album called "angry legs."

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    Jama said she set the page up in "solidarity" and so the student didn't "feel alone."

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    She told France24: "A woman's body has become a battle field in Algeria. If we keep silent, we women will lose a lot from our gains, regarding our freedom in public places."

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    Jama hopes her Facebook page becomes a "watch on what is happening to women every day" and monitors women's daily experiences.

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    She added: "Even veiled women support this operation because they face the same problems."

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    "By staying silent, we lose our small achievements and status of women in public space declines."

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    She referenced a recent incident in France in which a Muslim woman was told her skirt was "too long" and described both cases as being "symptomatic of countries that have not settled their political and economic problems."

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    In the meantime, Jama is encouraging people to keep sharing their leg selfies on her Facebook page.

    You can visit the "leg selfie" Facebook page here.

    Rossalyn Warren is a senior reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in London.

    Contact Rossalyn Warren at rossalyn.warren@buzzfeed.com.

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