Wednesday, October 14, 2009
I read a lot about fashion. But this was something that actually popped up on my Yahoo News and immediately caught my attention. A French-Dutch white model is seen in a 14 page editorial spread in black minstrel face. Understandably this class is not geared toward women but I thought this needed to be acknowledged. The model, Lara Stone, is not only seen in black minstrel face but in what I view as racially distinct clothing (a turban, a headdress, and as contemporary jester) as well as in positions of inaction. Why the magazine chose to present a white model in blackface when a huge pool of black models are present within the modeling industry points out the profit of controversy. French Vogue (the magazine of which this appears) is profiting from a history of racism and abuse because it can. These photos have not been asked to be pulled from the magazine but rather the opposite is happening. More people are buying this magazine because of the controversial material within it. Their profit from oppression is disgusting and should be seen as offensive. This model, these brands of clothing, and this magazine should all be protested and blacklisted for their continued racism and abuse of an oppression still current within our global society. This blackface not only plays on the oppressions of the past but it mocks them. In an age when black models are still in the minority this is throwing white superiority and control in the face of progression within the industry. Using a white model as black not only displaces a black model but mocks their ability to be a strong black person. In case everyone at French Vogue forgot black minstrel face embodied the black culture as ignorant, lazy, superstitious and generally inferior. French Vogue is capitalizing on this same image as the model is seen slouched and spread eagle! Selling blackface within the fashion industry as a progressive fashion moment is disgusting and proves how much the world and the fashion industry needs to learn about oppression. This is racism in a most perverse form.