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Breaking taboos and freeing your ‘Jasad’
Jasad Magazine has the Arab media world up in arms. Is the region ready for a risqué publication?
April 2, 2009 9:42 by Dana Moukhallati
Jasad (Arabic for body), a magazine recently launched in Lebanon, is breaking taboos and raising controversy in the nation. The taboo breaking magazine addresses issues such as masturbation and homosexuality. Joumana Haddad, writer, poet, and chief editor of the cultural pages of the Lebanese daily An-Nahar, personally financed and launched the first issue of the quarterly magazine in December 2008.
“It’s true this is a first in the Arab world,” said Haddad in an interview with AFP. “I put open handcuffs near the word Jasad on the cover of the magazine to illustrate that I wanted to unlock a taboo. We need to stop treating our bodies, especially we women, as if they’re something to be ashamed of.”
“We have so many issues to deal with without having the extra weight of needing to cover our bodies.”
The magazine’s subject matters offended Arab readers, who are predominantly conservative. The first issue, sold for $10, dealt with issues such as self-mutilation and cannibalism; while March’s cover story focused on the penis. Other subject matters include battered men and women, transsexuals and the Kama Sutra.
Furthermore, the magazine features regular column titled “My First Time”, where famous figures describe their first sexual experience, and art works by famous artists such as Salvador Dali, Pablo Picasso and Francis Bacon as well as regional artists from Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, the Palestinian territories, Saudi Arabia and Syria.
Even Haddad admits that some of the article and images in the magazine are shocking to the Arab world.
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