Thursday, May 15, 2008

Money Isn't Only 'White'

Is the fashion industry's attitude toward featuring 'minorities' changing?

This overly optimistic Times UK article, titled Jourdan Dunn is the color of money, seems to think so.

While I agree that small steps are being taken, I disagree with many of the statements made in the article, and am actually kind of horrified by them.

Why do I dislike this article? Let me count the ways...

"Beauty is what sells."
-So, does that mean non-Caucasian women that don't sell are ugly? And why does it always have to be about money? Yes, I know we all have to pay the bills, but shouldn't you have a greater purpose than just putting 'stuff' out there to make a buck? I think it should be about making a difference, creating meaning, and having the freedom to express yourself.

"Fashion is aspirational, magazines are aspirational, and to aspire you need to be able to identify to someone - at least a little. And readers don't identify with ethnic women. They don't see them as aspirational."
-First of all, you just need 'a little' in common to be able to identify with someone - that common thread could also be an emotion or experience. Secondly, you don't always have to identify with someone to want to aspire to be like them. Lastly, fashion magazines are not read by only white women!

"The ideal of female beauty in the fashion industry today is childlike... ethnic girls who fit into this stereotype are almost always the ones who succeed... Asian girls, with their uncurvy, boyish figures and neat features often fit into this mould, but models with pronounced African features - large, full lips, wide noses, and different facial proportions, as well as more curves, bigger bottoms, and fuller breasts - do not."
-Seriously, can we create a huger generalization about the physical appearances of these women? I've come across many Asians and Africans in my lifetime and they all have been different sizes, shapes, and colors. Stop putting us in a box or "mould" - we are all different!

"These days, ethnic beauty is pretty much invisible."
-The word ethnic has been tossed around and abused by the fashion industry. Ethnic = ethnicity = every single ethnicity. Ethnic does not refer to just cultures outside of Western and European societies. So, oddly enough, this statement is in some ways true (shocker!), because the representation of all ethnicities is "pretty much invisible."


ray said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
ray said...

yea..i pretty much agree with everything you've said about this article. and why couldnt the cover model have been...i dont know..actually black? i love kate too, but come on now.