The October issue of Playboy features a Q&A with Noor Tagouri, a 22-year-old journalist who wants to be the first news anchor to wear a hijab on television. This is undoubtedly new territory for Playboy. Arguably, it's new territory for most mainstream media—that's the thesis of this article in the first place.
But this particular article flirts with the fine line between respect and objectification of women. Only last year did Playboy stop running nude photos in its pages. So, naturally, the story is getting quite a bit of backlash.
On one side of the debate, people take offense with a woman in a hijab representing independent Muslim women. In too many instances, they say, Muslim women are forced to wear the hijab by men. So, using hijab-wearing Tagouri as a beacon of broken barriers rings false, and saying she is "making a surprisingly bold case for modesty" is offensive to Muslim women forced into modesty. An op-ed in The Washington Post also argues that Playboy takes advantage of Tagouri's narrative by plastering a personal and spiritual symbol across the pages of a salacious magazine, effectively highjacking the hijab for the purpose of a splashy photo-op.
The other side celebrates Tagouri for her choice to be so visible, for controlling her own narrative despite the controversial setting, and for being the first Muslim woman to sit for a photo shoot like this. This side defends her against slut-shaming and other backlash online—Tagouri also told her critics to get the "hate out of their systems." As a Muslim writer for Slate wrote about the backlash, "Sadly, it's just another example of a Muslim woman being told how to live her life."
What we know is that Tagouri chose to wear this hijab. She presented herself as a woman who makes her own choices, who expresses her identity openly, and who considers that hijab as a part of her identity. She was happy to pose for Playboy. She wanted her story out. Hers is just one story, but it's one more version of Muslim womanhood for everyone to—at the very least—consider.
From: Esquire US