Muslim journalist Noor Tagouri, 22, appears in the October issue of Playboy wearing a hijab. In the profile, she is in various poses with black pants, white Converse sneakers, a white T-shirt and black leather jacket.
She is the first hijab-wearing model to appear in the magazine, which stopped publishing pictures of nude women beginning with its March 2016 issue, The New York Times reported.
When Hugh Hefner began publishing Playboy in 1953, publishing pictures of naked women was considered a crime in many parts of the U.S. But Playboy’s high-quality photography and first-rate editorial content soon earned respectability that helped overcome that social taboo.
Ironically, the seemingly infinite free porn online made Playboy’s nude pictures obsolete. Publishing photos of a hijab-wearing Muslim like Tagouri is arguably a way for the magazine to use controversy to attract an audience.
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Tagouri, a Libyan American from West Virginia who works at the video news network Newsy, first gained recognition when she posted a picture of herself online, showing her sitting at a new desk with the caption: “The first hijab wearing news anchor on American television,” expressing her future career hopes. Using the hashtag #LetNoorShine, that post went viral, encouraging others to embrace their identities and pursue their dreams.
Although the viral campaign did generate some negative criticism, Tagouri took it in her stride. She told Playboy: “I don’t read or pay attention to any of it. It’s just negative energy and unhealthy. I make sure to keep a great circle of people around me who keep me grounded. Whether it’s at work or at home, the people who have my best interest at heart voice their concerns and their critiques, and I work on them.”
The Playboy profile has also led to some backlash within the Muslim community. An article on the website The Muslim Vibe.com, for example, was headlined, “Why as Muslims we can’t support Noor Tagouri’s decision to feature in Playboy.”
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The article’s author, Hussain Makke, summarized the general feeling he sees in the Muslim community:
Noor Tagouri’s recent decision to be featured in Playboy and her remarking that it was an honour has sent controversial shockwaves throughout the social media world. Muslims are torn in different directions on how they should feel about the issue which is a problem in itself. No longer are we basing our stances and opinions on our faith, but rather our whims and desires.
But as Tagouri puts it, “I just do the best I can to not worry about people who get upset because they don’t like something that I wear or say.”