Less than a year after Playboy made the shocking announcement that it would begin featuring fully clothed women in its pages, the magazine has stunned readers once again by featuring a Muslim woman wearing a hijab.
The woman in question is Muslim-American journalist Noor Tagouri, and her appearance in the October issue has been met with a mixture of praise and criticism.
She appears as part of Playboy‘s “Renegades” series, which serves to celebrate people who have “risked it all — even their lives — to do what they love.” Tagouri, who is 22 years old and works as an on-air reporter for Newsy, is described in the feature as being “on the verge of becoming this country’s first hijab-wearing newscaster.”
The photo, which features the young journalist sneering into the camera while dressed in skinny black jeans, Converse sneakers, a leather jacket and olive-hued hijab, has elicited mixed reactions from Muslims.
Unsurprisingly, the backlash is in reaction to the magazine’s past identity as a bunnies-and-breasts nudie mag. Among the most vocal is Nishaat Ismail, a London-based journalist and television host, who penned an opinion piece for The Independent decrying Playboy‘s reputation for objectifying women and criticizing Tagouri for distorting the Muslim narrative in America.
“In a time when minorities and in particular Muslims find themselves shipwrecked between the pressures of upholding western societal values and adhering to their cultural and religious obligations, many have chosen to forfeit their identities,” she writes. “Do we really need to go down the route of associating with an institution based on the objectification of women in the name of challenging perceptions and celebrating female empowerment? Are the voices of… Muslim women buried so deep under the cries of those who claim to speak on our behalf that our only available response is involve ourselves with Playboy, a magazine that has solely existed for the past 63 years for men to gawp at the bodies of half-naked women?”
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Tagouri, however, is accustomed to the negativity. “I don’t read or pay attention to any of it,” she says in the magazine. “It’s just negative energy and unhealthy.”
Her Twitter reaction was equally measured.
She appears in the 2016 Renegades feature along with comedian Ali Wong, musician Laura Jane Grace, skateboarder Jason Dill, sex activist Stoya, author Paul Beatty and developer Sean Murray.