First came Rima Fakih, the first Muslim to win the Miss USA title – and, with her participation in the pageant’s swimsuit competition, to push the public’s perceptions of Muslim women. Then came Sila Sahin, a Turkish German woman living in Germany, who recently posed for a cover of Playboy Magazine. The stereotype of the completely-covered-in-black Muslim woman has once again been challenged –this time with images of no dress at all.
Sahin explained her decision to model for Playboy thus, “I have always abided by what men say. As a result I developed an extreme desire for freedom … I want these photos to show young Turkish women it’s OK for you to live however you choose.”
Sahin’s connection between freedom and posing for a porn magazine is a difficult one to grasp. In leaving behind strict religious interpretations, which can at times be used to wield control over woman’s bodies, Sahin has moved into a more pernicious realm – one where woman are reduced to sexual objects and seen as nothing more than their physical selves. Sexual objectification is not exactly consonant with “freedom.”