A so-called Muslim woman recently bared all for the German edition of Playboy magazine.
Sita Sahin, 25, proudly boasted, “What I want to say with these photos is, girls, we don’t have to live according to the rules imposed upon us,” Sahin was quoted in Playboy.
“For years I subordinated myself to various societal constraints. The Playboy photo shoot was a total act of liberation.”
So let’s look at Sita’s liberation: She makes a move from religious dictates to objectification. Both are subject for outside review and the approval of men. Liberation? I thought liberation had something to do with self-determination. Can she not see that both her worth and her sexuality are still being determined outside herself by men only? Apparently not. This is not liberation, it is more akin to moving from one cell to another in the same prison.
In the aftermath of the ensuing publicity storm, thousands of Muslims are spewing and venting on comment threads calling for her punishment. And non-Muslims are opining about everything from her bravery to her odd lack of concern about the possibility of being kidnapped and beheaded. Yet many seem to miss something obvious, which is that none of this is actually about religion, hers or anyone else’s!
Ms. Sahin is just another woman selling herself out, yet bragging that she’s freed herself from the exploitation of her “societal constraints.”
Sorry, Sita, this transparent publicity stunt reveals that you are still seeking the permission/approval of men. The only change you affected was swapping one group of men’s approval to another group of men’s approval—a move from religious dogma to porn’s dogma. From the dictates of Allah to the dictates of Hugh Hefner is not liberation. In fact, it is not even a lateral move. At least Allah loves you no matter what you look like, loves you if you have your clothes on and you refuse to objectify yourself posing in the nude. Hugh Hefner is far, far more conditional and dogmatic than Allah and wants to make money for himself from selling your images. Liberation is not selling out to the old guy in the silk pajamas, sucking on a pipe and peddling porn.
Many religious Muslims want revenge, to see her punished. Though they have a right to their reactions, yet, a lot of this seems way off the mark because obviously she is not a Muslim, only born to Turkish parents. I hope that these folks soon realize that Sita just put herself in deeper bondage than ever and pray for her real liberation instead of calling for her punishment.
Ms. Sahin’s PR people are salivating as much as the profiteers in the Playboy camp since the magazine is in big financial trouble. The ‘free’ online porn trend is rendering the magazine yawningly passé, not a fortuitous development for pajama-land’s real agenda: profit.
As with most tactics, this has been done before: remember the music video with a lingerie-clad Madonna seductively writhing like a cat in heat, clutching a crucifix? Different religion, but same marketing tactics…shock and moral outrage whipping the masses into enough curiosity to buy, buy, buy!
In this story, religion is used to mask the real agenda: profit. This entire charade is about greed. That’s marketing genius at work, presenting greed to the world as an act of liberation. And utter poppycock. Those seeking meaning in a chaotic world are left with one more confusing message put into their way quite intentionally. That is the real crime in this publicity stunt—the added layers of misleading messages.
I am as concerned about Ms. Sahin’s psychological integrity as I am her physical safety. And I am concerned for the welfare of our culture that confuses a woman selling herself out with real liberation, a culture that is so porn-saturated that sacrilege has become a common marketing ploy. We are all buffoons in this scenario.
The deeper and sacred truth does not require nudity on my part and sacrilegious marketing techniques to stand tall: objectification is not freedom; porn objectifies and demeans us all, every one of us.
Unwinding the marketing around the issue of porn will require many voices speaking their truths. What is true for you? What is confusing? Please share.