Tag Archives: Berlin

A Muslim actress in Playboy?

A Muslim actress named Sila Sahin has come under fire recently after she posed for Playboy magazine (the German version) and, of course, I’ve got an opinion about that. I’ve been thinking about this for a few days, wanting to make sure that I know exactly how I feel  and how to say it, because I think this is an important issue.

Sila Sahin, a 25-year-old Turkish German living in Berlin, has been branded a "whore" and a "Western slut" after appearing topless on the cover of the magazine's May 2011 issue, The Sun reports. (credit FoxNew.com)

First, let me admit that my original reaction was one of pure disgust, because out of all the things in life that cause me to knee-jerk into feeling helpless, hopeless, and bitterly angry, Hugh Hefner and Playboy rank right up there on top.

It’s not because of the nudity. I live in a nudist resort. And it’s not because of the sexual content. I have sex, I enjoy sex, I have no problem with it. I just feel like Playboy is the sleaziest of the bunch because it tries to pretend to be a classy thing as it objectifies impossibly gorgeous women, with the implication that the vast majority of women are too ugly to be “Playboy material.” At least Larry Flynt is honest that Hustler’s purpose is to be whacking material.

Anyhoo, after I had some time to think about this in an adult manner, (without the knee-jerk-reaction-due-to-personal-issues) I was able to take in what the article says about her reasons for doing it. She just makes so much sense when she says that the photos are a reaction to the “slavery” of her youth.

From Marjane Satrapi's book Persepolis, which illustrates what life was like for her, as a girl growing up in Iran.

Sila Sahin says, “What I want to say with these photos is, ‘Girls, we don’t have to live according to the rules imposed upon us’. For years I subordinated myself to various societal constraints. The Playboy photo shoot was a total act of liberation.”

Wow. I get that and I’m moved by that. I can’t imagine living under the strict rules that many Islamic women must obey, with the veils and burqas and complete subjugation. I don’t know how they survive. Heck, I find it hard enough being a woman in American society. So I do hear her message and applaud her for it.

But did it have to be Playboy? She simply jumped from the chauvinist frying pan into the sexist fire! Couldn’t she have done this for a woman’s magazine? I’m sure there are puhlenty of them who would have loved to help her “spread” her feminist message.