Every social media user must have heard about Noor Tagouri by now. “Muslim girl featured on Playboy” “Hijabi graces the cover of Playboy” “The first veiled girl to appear on playboy”, and other similar titles were used to catch the attention of readers, especially the attention of other hijabi women like myself. “A hijabi on Playboy?” was the question that was going through everyone’s mind. However, the connotations of that question differed greatly from person to person.
From my personal observations, there were three types of reactions that were evoked by this news story:
- People congratulating Tagouri for making history by breaking social norms while wearing a hijab
- People attacking Tagouri for posing for such a controversial magazine
- People keeping their personal opinions regarding someone else’s actions to themselves
Firstly, I believe it is important to look at what Tagouri herself had to say regarding her decision to appear in Playboy, before we judge the situation. According to her, after finding out the magazine was gradually trying to remove nudity from its content, some of the reasons she agreed to an interview were for “Muslims, for women, and for everyone misrepresented in mainstream media today. I did it for young women everywhere that are struggling with their identity and feel misunderstood. I did it for the 10,000 who came before me that were bullied in private or publicly humiliated because they didn’t conform to societal standards of how a woman should present herself.”
Now there’s nothing wrong with Noor’s intention of wanting to increase visibility for Muslim women in the media and show how we are not different than the average Western woman. The problem arises when many people argue that she could have chosen to represent Muslim women through a different platform, one that doesn’t have a history of catering to a mostly male audience through the objectification of women.
The way Playboy has objectified women in the past not only invalidates the purpose of a hijab but goes against the teachings of Islam, which encourages women to be respected for their minds and not reduced to their bodies. As an online post pointed out, “as a woman, she’s free to do what she wishes. But as a Muslim woman wearing a hijab, she’s absolutely wrong in appearing on Playboy’s cover. Because that’s an endorsement of the whole Playboy establishment and what it represents”
However, the point I hope to get across in relation to this ongoing debate is that bad mouthing and verbally abusing Tagouri is neither going to change the fact that she appeared in Playboy, nor is it going to propagate the image of peaceful and loving Muslims we hope for the world to recognize us as. Even though her supporters have good intentions like her, and those who don’t support her have a valid point about how what she did is incorrect, what’s done is done.
So as easy as it would be to send out a tweet trash-talking her decision, the best things to do now is move forward, and try to prevent making any sort of hurtful comments against Tagouri online. They’ll only end up hurting her, bringing no benefit to you, and not solving the situation either. All in all, it’ll just be a waste of time.
This article was published in our March 2017 issue of MY Voice Magazine. For more articles like this, subscribe today!