Letter from the Editors: Body and Image

The human body is — and always has been — the center of political, economical, social and religious debates: it’s a sin, it’s a machine, it’s an agent, it’s a business.

Recently, the UAE legalized sex-change operations if the sex of the patient is physiologically or biologically ambiguous. Alongside that, Noor Tagouri became the first hijabi woman to be featured in Playboy magazine, sparking debates about whether the interview mocks the idea of modesty or whether it showcases a more diverse face of the United States and normalizes the presence of hijabi women among us. The human body is — and always has been — the center of political, economic, social and religious debates: it’s a business, it’s a machine, it’s an agent, it’s a sin.
The human body is often called an incredible work of art, implying that it is a one-dimensional, universal entity; however, our bodies do not form a singular collective. There are variations of ability, of sex and of skin color. These variations drastically change the way in which human bodies are approached, conceived and reproduced. Across history and around the world, the human body has been racialized, sexualized, colonized, exhibited, marketed, disabled, diseased and deformed. With the Body and Image issue of The Gazelle, we hope to uncover some of these stories, and how they impact the multifaceted NYU Abu Dhabi community.
Our aim is to ignite serious conversations about disability, eating disorders and body image in and around NYUAD — conversations that go beyond debates on Facebook and our publication, that enter town halls and policy-making platforms which govern how our bodies interact with the continuously shifting environments we are exposed to, whether in our Campus Center or a homestay in one of the Global Network University sites.
We hope to spark debates that will make us question our individual and collective comforts and discomforts.
Khadeeja Farooqui and Connor Pearce are Editors-in-Chief. Email them at feedback@thegazelle.org.
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