Cover Girl: First Swimsuit Model on an Arab-Language Magazine

Cover Girl: First Swimsuit Model on an Arab-Language Magazine

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By Ron Ecstasy on September 21, 2011

It’s easy to forget, here in the western porno-verse, that not everybody on this earth shares our same freedoms and rights of expression.  That  the image of a woman in a swimsuit could be a potentially contentious one for a magazine to print. This is exactly what the Arabic women’s magazine Lilac did this month.

In a move that editor Yara Mashour describes as unprecedented. Lilac printed the image of 22 year old Huda Naccache on its cover wearing a bikini.  In a region that, going lightly, is known for discrimination and gross rights violations against women, this is a bold move.

Yara herself expected controversy, and acknowledges that;

 [authorities] might censor it and refuse to allow it to be distributed. Some Arab countries like Lebanon shouldn't ban it, they are very liberal. The only barrier there is the political one”

Yara stands by her notion that this will mark a sea change in the Arabic women’s magazine industry.

“I am definitely not worried about the reactions, because I set the standards of my magazine, and the Arab woman is a fan of the magazine. She wants what I give her in the magazine. I expect the cover to raise discussions, but I don't expect an earthquake.”

 Publishing standards in many Arab countries are tight, even the UAE disallows the publishing of women’s legs, shoulders and backs in its newspapers.  Despite that, response to the new issue has been great, and the magazine reports that it is selling at an unprecedented rate.

 Whether this really speaks to some kind of essential change in the social attitudes of the region, or is a coincidental circumstance of the magazine being published in already fairly liberal Israel is unknown. The idea that young Arab women in the Middle East feel comfortable with that sort of imagery is encouraging.

 The obvious counter argument to this whole thing is “why do women have to lose their clothes to gain their freedom?” And of course, that’s a very tricky subject. But in this context, I think Yara and Huda agree that by printing that cover they’re doing a lot more than just showing a little skin.

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