Maybe not. Pakistani model Veena Malik has filed suit against FHM India for using this cover photo, which she claims has been "morphed". The magazine says it has proof that the session was consensual and authentic.
And it's not just the nudity that's controversial, both in conservative India and Ms. Malik's home country. "ISI" is a reference to the Pakistani intelligence service.
According to The National Post:
[FHM India editor Kabeer] Sharma said the idea had been to take an ironic swipe at India’s obsession with the ISI.
A tag line on the cover that points to the initials, reads: “Hand in the end of the world too?”
“People, especially young people in both countries, want to move past this kind of thinking,” the editor said.
“It’s a very powerful picture — it took a lot of guts for her to do that. It shows a powerful, sexy woman not afraid to speak her mind.”
Speaking her mind, but then taking it back. Is this fear of backlash, or just a publicity stunt?
Either way, it's hard to compare it to Egyptian feminist blogger Aliaa Magda Elmahdy's not-for-profit and potentially deadly one woman online nude protest. (And note, with irony, the cover headline :Why naked protests are just amateur porn"!)
Putting nude models on the cover of a lad mag is hardly a step forward for feminism in Pakistan. But it does show that the global normalization of sexuality and nudity is affecting even very conservative cultures.
Lest we forget, Hugh Hefner started out not to pornify women, but to sexually liberate the repressed adults of the 1950s. Things went awry as Playboy outlasted the male-dominated society it grew out of, and today it is no better than its grandchildren publications such as FHM.
It's a dangerous road, to be sure, trying to sexually liberate women by sexualizing them. But will the end result mean a more sex-positive world? We'll see...
Tip and pics via Buzzfeed