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The Backlash Against Noor Tagouri is Far More Revealing than her Playboy “Photoshoot”

Written By: humarashid - Sep• 26•16

For those who don’t know, Noor Tagouri is a first-generation Libyan American hijabi Muslimah with aspirations to be the first American hijabi anchorwoman. She’s currently a news reporter for @Newsy, a video news network that publishes short videos about breaking news stories and feature pieces. Noor has done stories about Detroit being America’s first Muslim majority city, the White House’s first Eid-ul-Fitr dinner, and Moroccan pottery. She is currently in the Boston-area, where she’s exploring Salem for Newsy and preparing to speak at UMass.

noor-tagouri

Noor recently “posed” for Playboy (except she didn’t, at least not in the way I am intentionally implying), and the backlash has been considerable. For those of you bored by implication and insinuation, you can do what I try to do every day as a lawyer: Go to the source. For me, it’s usually statutes. For this story, it’s the Playboy interview featuring Noor Tagouri, who was named as one of Playboy’s 2016 Renegades. Noor also posted a behind-the-scenes video regarding the shoot on her Instagram, which you can watch here.

Noor’s partnering with, endorsement of, fierce support for Playboy is driving (mostly) American (but also international) Muslims crazy, but that’s probably a freebie given that this group equates her doing an interview with Playboy as an explicit heartfelt avowal of support for everything Playboy and Hugh Hefner have done since the publication came into existence.

(Can you *hear* me rolling my eyes?)

I’ll try not to let my sarcasm overwhelm my writing. I anticipate that it will be difficult.

Anyway, Muslims in America and across the world are outraged. The vitriol spewed across Noor’s various social media platforms is approaching alarming. There are extensive Facebook discussions about how a hijabi could desecrate herself and her religion and all Muslims worldwide by deciding to do an interview with Playboy.

(At this point, I will ask again that if you haven’t read the Playboy article yet, please do so. Don’t be one of those folks who forms opinions on things without having actually seen the source material.)

Noor is being called a race traitor, an agent of Western imperialism, an agent of Western secular liberalism that is out to destroy Islam from the inside, an agent of Western liberal feminism that is out to destroy Islam, a whore, a ‘hoejabi,” a munafiq (or hypocrite, a very serious charge to make against a Muslim, in historical context), and all other pejoratives you can think of.

All for the sake of an interview, and two pictures.

Let’s turn to the interview itself, first.

The Fashion, Styling, and Aesthetic of the Photographs:

Noor appears in the photos selected fully covered, wearing black jeans, white converses, a white top, a black leather jacket, and an olive green hijab. A nice color palette, in my opinion. Very neutral. The black-and-white combo is classic and understated, and the olive green provides some color but not too much – olive green is considered a neutral, after all, and, #protip, it’s a color that goes with basically all other colors, so if you’re accessorizing and not sure what will match, but wanting to stay away from white and black and oatmeal for whatever reason, olive green and a muted purple are two colors that will work.

Her outfit is modest. Her clothes are not skin-tight, and she is fully covered, only the skin of her face and hands (and a sliver of ankle between her shoes and her jeans) is visible. For some people (I’m thinking more of her critics here), that’s the hill they want to die on when it comes to modesty. Fine. Noor passes that “test.”

(And make no mistake, for a hijabi, there are many, many “tests.”)

She’s wearing makeup. For some people (again, I think of her critics here), this is apparently the first cardinal sin she committed. How dare she wear makeup! That’s immodest! Ironically, I saw many of these “it’s so gross that she got her picture taken with loads of makeup plastered on!!!” comments from hijabi Muslim women whose IG icon showed them wearing plenty of foundation (no one’s skin is that even toned, dear), loads of eyeliner, fake lashes, and more. I have no quarrel with the makeup – I roll my eyes at those who think it’s a sin to wear it, but everyone should do what they believe in. I have a big problem with the hypocrisy.

Noor is also accused of “puckering up provocatively,” a sin exacerbated by the fact that this is Playboy, I guess. Maybe it wouldn’t have been as sinful and debased if she was doing so on the cover of Newsweek? Who knows – I’m not going to try to distill the questionable logic here.

Except if you look at the pictures, she’s not puckering up at all. In one, she is yelling – legs shoulder-width apart, arms out, standing on top of a little ladder and YELLING. Yes, very sex. Much provocative. In the other picture, she is sneering. A lip-lacquered, edgy beauty ad campaign, Zendaya-esque pretty sneer, sure, but hardly a provocative pucker.

If there are other behind the scenes photos or outtakes of her performing fellatio on a popsicle or lifting up a niqab to reveal a perfect pout, I haven’t seen ’em. As it is, if these are the pictures folks are describing as provocative and sexual, I am awed of their innocence that THIS is what passes as sexual to them. (Or, I’m horrified that their sexual frame of reference is so limited and lacking that, again, THIS is what passes as sexual.)

The background is where I can understand people being upset, I suppose. It’s an American flag with bullet holes. In an age of Trump-emboldened racists physically attacking and even killing Muslims around the country, and unarmed Black men and women being shot with impunity, I can see how the image of a Muslim woman posing in front of a flag riddled with bullet holes can be seen as problematic by some.

My personal stance? If that’s the thing we’re most upset about, in general, then we’re in great shape. I’m being glib, but in all seriousness, I do understand why people find it problematic. I am not well-versed enough in that discussion yet; I’d like to read more about it. At first blush, when I saw the images, I was not upset by that, though. But then again, I watch videos of grown men having sex with infants as part of my job, so my spectrum of offensive v. inoffensive is already obviously very skewed and abnormal from the get-go.

The Medium Over the Message, and the Fetishization of the Hijab

So, okay, the images themselves are pretty modest by most standards. So why is Noor still being called a ‘hoejabi’ and, by some, an actual whore?

It of course has to do with the medium she chose: Playboy. It also has to do with a social phenomenon that grossly sexualizes the hijab, and I’m referring specifically to hijabi porn, with plenty of Mia Khalifa references bandied about. So let’s talk about that. And, of course, I can only speak as a former-hijabi.

Many believe the medium is the message. I agree with that to an extent, but it’s an oversimplification. The medium is only part of the message. Playboy has for decades been about pornography. It’s true that in recent years, they’ve moved away from distributing pornography, as Noor pointed out on her Twitter in response to the backlash. But it’s a little disingenuous to pretend that Playboy has absolutely zero connection to pornography – it certainly does, historically, and that association will linger for some time even if Playboy were to only run stories and photoshoots of nuns at a convent. So that was a little…well, I rolled my eyes at that tweet.

The sexualization and fetishization of the hijab is what has many, certainly including hijabis, upset. And this is a valid point: the sexualization of hijab has hurt many in very real ways, and there is no denying that. Plenty of hijabis can and have spoken about that better than I can as a non-hijabi, so I will leave it at that. And if you want to read about the creepy sexual fetishes men have for hijabis, well, just browse reddit. It’ll make your skin crawl.

It is clear from the photos that Noor is not intending to be sexual. (At least, it’s clear to me.) But intent has a very limited role/importance when we are talking about things like racism, homophobia, sexualization, misogyny, etc. So I hesitate to fly my flag on how SHE DIDN’T MEEEAAAAAAN TO, GUYS!!! We all know that, for example, even though someone doesn’t “mean” to be racist, their words and actions can cause very real pain and harm to POC. So that argument doesn’t get us very far.

These photos of Noor would not be seen as “sexualization” or contributing to the “fetishization” of hijab if they were, for example, appearing in Time or Newsweek or the Huffington Post or even on her own IG. Sure, you’ll always have those Muslims – they make my skin crawl and my teeth gnash – who feel that any image of a Muslim woman that shows any of her own agency, however modest she may be in it, is provocative and sexual and sinful, simply because the Muslim woman isn’t shying away, isn’t demure, isn’t the victim of a passing photographer but rather the author of that photo. That’s a horseshit perspective that I have no respect for.

So, yeah, the obvious argument here is for me to say, nah, these pics wouldn’t be offensive if she just put them up on IG, or if they were in Time magazine; we wouldn’t be crying out about sexualization or fetishization.

It matters because they were in Playboy. It matters because of that “medium is the message” concept. It matters to some that Noor is celebrating the interview and the designation of Renegade as an accomplishment, rather than being more sedate about it and very clear that she is using Playboy as much as they are using her – that it’s a media outlet with a wide readership that she is trying to reach.

Playboy will never escape the association with pornography. That’s my feeling. And any woman who appears in its pages will be tainted by that implication as well. Now, if Playboy sat down with Pope Francis or Prince William or Cornel West, they wouldn’t have the same problem. No, it’s specifically the *women* who appear in Playboy, whether nude or fully covered like Noor, who will have the window through which they’re viewed smudged with slime.

Imam Suhaib Webb, standing up for Noor, tweeted that even Malcolm X sat down with Playboy for an interview. This statement is problematic for a few reasons, and isn’t as good an analogy as I’m sure he was hoping it would be. There is a big difference between Malcolm X, one of the most important Black Americans in history, and Noor Tagouri. Sorry, Noor, but there is. (I don’t think she’d be offended by that statement, LOL. I’d hardly be offended if people said I was no John Marshall.) You simply can’t compare the two. Also, Malcolm X didn’t exactly celebrate his Playboy interview – he stated clearly that it was a White Man’s media, not for him, not supporting him, not about him, and he sat down with Playboy with all of that in mind.

So, yes, a big arguing point for many Muslims is that Noor sat down with Playboy and celebrated it, and in doing so sexualized the hijab and contributed to its fetishization.

I agree to an extent. There was nothing sexual about her shoot or her interview. At all, in my opinion. It’s mere sexualization/fetishization by association, not because of anything she did or wore or said. And that’s really unfortunate, that her message, which was quite worthwhile, was effectively lost in the shouts of outrage about the medium.

There will be readers, too, for whom her message is lost as well because she’s spank bank material. There will be some creepers who read the Playboy article and masturbate to the image of Noor sneering at them. That will make these creepers, the argument goes, more likely to masturbate to other ‘normal’ images of hijabis in ‘normal’ environments and out in the real world. Okay, fine, sure. Yes, men will masturbate to pictures of Noor. (I’m sure there are already plenty of men, Muslim men included, who scroll through her IG and masturbate to that. Let’s not stick our heads in the sand about that.)

But here’s the thing: there really isn’t an environment (except a masjid MAYBE) where a hijabi woman or ANY woman, really, will be “safe” from that. I’ve seen a man literally jacking off while he watched me walk by, dressed in the skirt suit I wear to court (as in, modest, professional, etc.). Our culture here is one of constant objectification.

Noor is an objectively attractive woman and I’m sure that men have been masturbating to her picture for years and will continue to do so for years. (Sorry if the way I’m saying it creeps you out, Noor!) Yes, Playboy knew what it was doing when it took an objectively beautiful, fair skinned, thin hijabi girl and put her in its pages. Sure, it does contribute to the sexualization of hijabis.

But, generally speaking, an attractive hijabi woman walking down the street also contributes to the sexualization of hijabis. (With a smaller audience, duh, so I understand that my argument doesn’t match up all the way there just based on how wide Playboy’s readership is.)

What I’m interested in here is the backlash. Guaranteed, the Muslim men calling her out for turning the hijab into a porn symbol (?????) somehow, have also said really gross, sexual things about women they’ve seen in their everyday lives. So pardon me if I don’t take them very seriously.

I’m more concerned with the hijabis that are troubled by what they see as sexualization, because I cannot speak about/to that. That’s not my experience, and I’m not going to dismiss their lived experiences. I trust them when they say that sexualization of the hijab is a huge problem. I trust them when they say that Noor has not helped the issue. Their perspective on this is more valuable than mine; these were just some niggling thoughts I had about the issue of sexualization.

Let’s Stop with the Causation Between This and Hijabi Porn:

And this only barely touches on hijabi porn, but that’s intentional: I am not persuaded of a causal relationship here, at all. Yes, some men love hijabi porn. Unless Noor suddenly drove up demand for that all by herself since this interview was released, like, why are we laying that at her feet? Yes, hijabi porn is disgusting and extremely offensive to Muslims because the hijab is a symbol of modesty and one’s relatioship with God, much like the yarmulke or a nun’s habit. Is Noor appearing in Playboy the same as Mia Khalifa’s oeuvre? Hell, no. That argument is weak and I’ve already spent too much time on it.

Sexualization and fetishization, yes, that’s part of this discussion. Drawing a direct corollary to hijab porn videos? Nah. Don’t come at Noor with that shit.

Muslims’ Policing of the Muslim-ness of Other Muslims: 

There is a big, big problem in our community in general of policing other people’s Islam, and that problem is exacerbated when it comes to hijabis. Hijabi women are seen as ambassadors of the faith, a mantle they never asked to wear and never took up on their own (unlike the hijab). I said earlier that hijabis were subjected to tests that non-hijabis just weren’t, and it’s a sad fact in our community.

God forbid a hijabi woman wear a t-shirt that rides up to show the curve of her bottom when she bends her bottom (much less actual skin!). God forbid a hijabi woman hold hands with a man (who, let’s be real, might very well be her husband, as many cultures that fall under the umbrella of Islam don’t really emphasize wedding rings), or is seen talking and laughing with one. God forbid a hijabi woman wear what others consider to be too much makeup. God forbid a hijabi woman laugh a little too loudly or sweetly when there are men present. And the list goes on and on and on. These are actual complaints I have personally heard issued about hijabi women; I am sure actual hijabis can relate much worse.

The backlash exhibits all of that. An alarming amount of Muslims have shown themselves extremely eager to question Noor’s worthiness to wear hijab (??? Ridiculous!), to question her morals, to question her modesty, to question her literal chastity (GTFOH!), to question whether she’s even a true Muslim.

*That* is so much more disgusting and offensive to me than if Noor had been spread eagle in an American flag-print bikini and a white hijab in the pages of Playboy.

No one is ever in any position to question another person’s personal relationship with God or that person’s personal religious beliefs. No Muslim is ever allowed to decide or even pass any kind of judgment on whether another person is Muslim, or “Muslim enough,” ever. That’s a literal teaching in our faith. God is very clear that we are to keep our noses out of that shit and mind our own lives.

We can disagree with other Muslims, we can talk to them about it, we can call them out about it, we can condemn their actions and words, we can caution other Muslims about them, but to question whether someone who identifies as a Muslim is actually a Muslim? Nope. That is not something we are entitled to do.

Muslims do an excellent job policing each other, anyway, though. It’s disgusting and infuriating. But no one suffers more as an object of that aggressive policing than hijabi women. God forbid they ever screw up. The cloth on their heads means that the rest of us can ask for their blood.

(Sarcasm.)

“She did it all for self promotion! This isn’t helping the cause!”

I am seeing this around the internet a lot: that Noor did this all for self-promotion, for fame, for getting her name and face out there.

And I ask: SO FUCKING WHAT.

Let’s assume it’s 100% true that Noor’s motives were 100% selfish. That she did this because she wanted greater visibility and exposure. SO WHAT. Everyone who gives an interview like this is promoting something, and the something is often themselves. SO WHAT if she was doing this all for publicity and to further her brand?

I’ve also seen Muslim men complain that “this isn’t helping the cause.” (Hijabi women, when they say the same thing, are speaking more specifically in the context of sexualization, and I give that more credence than the men talking about ‘the cause.’)

So, okay, this isn’t helping the cause.

Remember how I said that hijabis are seen as the ambassadors of Islam? This is another example of that.

What if Noor legitimately was not doing this for Muslims or Islam, but was doing it for herself? So what? She’s entitled to do that. She, as a hijabi woman, is entitled to promote herself and not her faith if she feels like it.

Said in a better, clearer way: Noor Tagouri is allowed to do something that doesn’t follow the very narrow, circumscribed path of Helping the Image of Islam. Everything she does does not have to “further the cause.” That’s an incredible amount of pressure to put on someone, and it’s unrealistic and sets them up for failure – puts them up on a pedestal so we can have fun pulling them down. It’s sadistic and, frankly, boring. We’re better than that.

“The MonoCulture demands, ‘Be Like Us!'”

I’ve seen this, too. People accusing Noor of falling for the trap and letting the hegemonic, Western, liberal, feminist, secular culture pull her into its folds in such a way that she compromises her Islam.

Nah.

Sitting down with Playboy, doing a photoshoot and doing a pretty nice (read: tame) interview with them in no way compromises her Islam and renders her devoid of all the things that separate Muslims from the values we ascribe to Playboy (nudity, hedonism, sexual commodification, sin, etc).

In the pages of Playboy, Noor is still very much the Other. Don’t lose sight of that.

Her being in Playboy does not make her typical Playboy fare. Her being in Playboy does not make her typical Western, liberal, feminist, secular fare. Her name, her ethnicity, her hijab prevent that quite neatly.

Her being in Playboy does not in the least compromise her Islam.

“Forgive her, for she knows not what she does!”

She is young, I’ve seen written. She is a young, dumb girl who is blinded by online stardom. Noor, please make some friends that will guide you on the right path. Noor, please seek advice from elders and Islamic leaders before you do something like this. Don’t be mad at her, she’s just a pawn in liberal feminism’s game! She didn’t know what she was doing, she fell in their trap.

No.

Noor is a smart young woman, but more importantly, Noor is a woman with her own agency.

She knew what she was doing. For better or for worse, whatever you want to ascribe to that knowing, Noor knew what she was doing. She knew that her choices would be discussed. She had to have known that some would praise her, and many would condemn her. She had to know that there would be backlash.

And she did what she did knowing all that, I’m sure.

I do not know Noor personally, but I know of her, and I know some of the girls in her social circle. Some of them are very smart young women studying Islam under some of our finest American scholars. And I know from her general social media posts that Noor knows her own fair share of Muslim leaders and Muslim scholars.

It’s as likely as not that she did talk to some of them like this. Who knows what advice she got? We know very little, because Noor herself hasn’t said much about this at all, presumably because she wanted to wait until people set down their pitchforks.

But all this “she didn’t know what she was doing” talk makes me imagine her as a little girl bumbling around and falling into the pages of Playboy without a clue. That’s not what happened; let’s give her more credit than that.

This might be one of those things that she grows up to regret. It might not be. That’s her business. But Noor knew exactly what she was doing here.

The Past and Future of Playboy:

A Muslim woman does not belong in the pages of Playboy, is the main theme among her critics. And I get it. I understand that perspective.

She’s hardly the first Muslim to be in Playboy, back when Playboy was a pornographic magazine, but she’s the first hijbi Muslim. And although I’ve already discussed why I think the “but Playboy doesn’t do porn anymore!!!!” argument is a wee bit disingenuous, I want to return to that a little.

The fact remains that Playboy doesn’t do porn anymore, or at least not like they used to. The publication still objectifies women, and there’s no shortage of scantily clad women on the site.

But there are also articles on that site about Grammar Girl, and Vince Staples, and making room for writers of color, and a catfish recipe, and asexuality, and the roots of skateboarding. Yes, Playboy has always had articles, but now that they no longer do porn the same way they used to, the articles are different, too. The style is different, the feel is different. Noor is not in the Playboy of yesterday, a few pages from Linda Lovelace. (Her story is compelling and tragic. If you think you can stand it, read about her.)

Perhaps, and by now it should be obvious that I’m employing the Islamic teaching to always make as many excuses as you can for someone else’s perceived shortcoming, Noor saw that Playboy was changing its direction, moving toward a more GQ-esque snappy pop-political journalism style, and wanted to be a part of that voice.

The Objectively Pretty, Skinny, Fair Skinned Muslim Girl Aspect:

I spoke earlier of Noor using Playboy (for exposure and their readership) and Playboy using Noor (superficially objectifying a pretty Muslim girl in a hijab), and this being part of what rubbed people wrong, too. But that begs the question: would we be so up in arms if Noor wasn’t … Noor? A gorgeous, fair skinned, skinny, possibly occasionally white-passing (but for the racialization of Islam) woman with a winning smile?

Let’s make it personal: would we be attacking a Muslim woman like this if it were me that posed for Playboy in this article?

I’m Muslim, although not hijabi (with no intention of ever being hijabi again, frankly). I’m far darker skinned than Noor. I wear glasses. I am short. I have no discernable cheek bones under this stubborn baby fat on my face. I could stand to lose ten pounds. I wear very little makeup and when I do, my discomfort in it is obvious.

Would I be subject to the same attacks from the Muslim community as Noor? Somehow, I don’t think so. And we HAVE to acknowledge that that is part of the problem, and that Noor’s objective attractiveness is a part of the lens through which we are viewing her and this situation. We’d be dishonest if we didn’t.

We can talk about Noor’s motivations. Most people are. But it’s all speculation on our parts, so we don’t know. Self-promotion, money, dawah (religious outreach), access to their wide readership for her personal brand, fame, a stepping stone to other media opportunities, notoriety, whatever. (In ticking off those things, we should consider also that this was a sincere attempt on her part to make American Muslims, and American Muslim women, more visible in a positive, empowering light, that would create more opportunities for other Muslim girls.)

But the fact of the matter is we don’t know what she was thinking, and we are ascribing a lot to her in this backlash that is probably undeserved. A lot of stuff I’m guessing we wouldn’t be laying at her feet if she wasn’t as attractive as she is.

But, hey, maybe I’m wrong. Maybe if it were me in Playboy, talking about the need for more Muslim women in criminal defense, or some other worthy and generally feel-good topic, I’d be subject to the same sexual slurs and abuse that Noor is receiving. What do I know?

Islam and Muslims are Not a Monolith, and Never Have Been: 

It is also important to remember that Muslims are not a monolith, and Islam was never written in stone. So many Muslims are decrying this and calling for a return to “shariah values,” instead of what they see as a more liberal Western Islam. Well, that’s great, but even the more traditional and conservative Islam they favor was never what they imagine it was.

Even in the time of Muhammad (S), attitudes and perspectives on Islam differed. Perspectives on and practices of Islam varied even across the limited geographic area of the Arabian peninsula, when the founder of the Muslim faith was still alive! Then trace the next 1500 years across the world and you really get a good sense that there is no one, single, Islam. It varies across time and geography and culture, which is why I find the condemning of “Western Islam” and “liberal American Muslims” as mildly amusing. Sure, you may not agree with the ideas of other Muslims, but to pretend that there is one core, cohesive, unchanging, pure version of Islam that they have intentionally strayed from is just silly.

Also, none of this is about “rights.” Noor has every right to do what she wants, and everyone else has every right to complain about it. Every lawyer instinct in my body cringes and seizes when I see that some media figure is being criticized for something he/she said, and people are complaining that his/her First Amendment rights are being violated. Nah. Read the Constitution. And then find something else to hang your hat on. So let’s dismiss that bullshit question of “rights,” outright.

This is about how we’ve responded. And we have behaved badly. This post can probably be read as a defense of Noor Tagouri. I don’t know that it is, and I don’t know that it’s not. But it’s certainly a push against the backlash she’s suffered. I don’t know that her sitting down with Playboy was empowering, or that it wasn’t. I don’t know what her motivations were. I don’t know whether this was an attempt at dawah (religious outreach) or not.

What I see is that many of the people complaining about it haven’t read it, or looked at the pictures. What I see is that many people are complaining that this will further legitimize hijabi fetish porn, which I think is a tremendous reach in terms of an argument. What I see is that we are all very quick to police the “Muslimness” of a Muslim woman, that we apply stringent tests to hijabis, and beautiful hijabis especially, that we may not necessarily apply to other Muslims or even other Muslim women. What I see is that an alarming number of Muslim men are very quick to label her a “fucking whore” that desecrates the beauty, modesty, and dignity of Islam, and then ask her for a blowjob.

What I see is that we have behaved badly, and even if there was some way to say that what Noor did was 100% objectively wrong, wrong, wrong, we still have a lot of difficult questions to ask ourselves about how we’ve treated her, and how we treat other Muslims.

My personal stance on this is unimportant, but I’ll share it, anyway. The medium matters, of course. But so does the message. To focus on one to the exclusion of the other does us all a great disservice. That kind of myopic view is nothing to be proud of. And is Noor Tagouri posing for Playboy, in terms of problems afflicting American Islam or Islam in general, really the hill we want to die on? I hesitate to play Oppression Olympics or outline any kind of hierarchy of problems that people “should” be upset about or focus on, but I’m also thinking of the relativity of all of this.

(However, I’m hesitant to say this in contest with a hijabi, whose experience of being sexualized in real life for her hijab cannot be ignored or dismissed. They are experiences I have not shared, so I cannot speak to them.)

The medium matters, but so does the message. Consider both, and consider how we police the hell out of each other and what purpose that actually serves our Muslim community – whether it helps it and makes it stronger, or it drives people away and isolates others. These are larger questions we should grapple with, and whatever lessons we learn we should then be able to apply to situations like these when they come up.

It’s pretty clear from this post in general that I don’t care about what Noor did. Good or bad, right or wrong (as if those things exist), smart or dumb. I don’t care. But I’ve found over the past several years that the list of things I care about gets smaller and smaller. Part of the reason this blog and my twitter feed have “suffered” is because I no longer feel the need to add my opinion to every random issue that is being discussed in our community. I just don’t care. My work exposes me to the darkest aspects of humanity, and I’m supposed to be upset about a fully clothed Muslim woman sneering in Playboy and talking about the importance of an individual identity? Nah. Pass.

It’s this backlash that upsets me – the vitriol, the sexual slurs, the slut-shaming. What was her crime? Associating with a magazine known for objectifying women and distributing pornography in the very very very recent past. OMG, lock her up.

It’s the strength of the reaction against her that makes me feel incredibly sympathetic for her. And so I’ll promote her, because now I’m going to be petty and hope she becomes more and more visible and embarks on more of these antics that give the rest of us a chance to really think about how we respond, while some of us respond in a way that reveals our worst instincts.

Noor Tagouri, Libyan American journalist. Occasional provocateur.

Follow her on Twitter.

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Read her stories on Newsy.

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Read her articles on the Huffington Post.

Also the worst part is that this situation wasn’t even remotely worth me spending hours writing this stupid rambling post and editing it, but we American Muslims/Muslims in general are just wild, frankly, and fall to pieces over inconsequential things. Ugh.

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