Friday, 9 December 2011

Magazines, nudity and politics

Now here's a design question: is a Pakistani woman posing nude on a magazine cover in Pakistan a challenge to the pervading culture or merely a sop to the culture of men wanting to see naked female flesh. It gets more complicated when the actress – Veena Malik – sports an ISI tattoo, hence poking fun at the intelligence services of Pakistan and when she claims she wasn't entirely naked but that the magazine airbrushed out a thong. (Although, while she is suing the magazine for misrepresenting her, a thong is little to remove in terms of defining whether you are "nude" or not in the pose on the cover.)

Pakistan is not always soft – either governmentally or socially – on certain breaches of that pervading culture, so I wish her well and that she remains safe. And I will leave it to others to decide whether this is a Germaine Greer-esque challenge, or a wrong fork in the equal rights road and only a "win" for the continuing success of lads mags. Meanwhile, a satirical magazine in India imagines the ISI chief gracing the same magazine's cover…

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