Why Blame Vogue- A GLobal Double Standard?

I was just reading a post on Jezebel.com about how Vogue constantly uses White models on the covers of their International editions in countries that are not predominately White, i.e. Turkey, China, India etc. All I can say to that is why blame Vogue? It seems Vogue is basically giving these nations what they serve to their people everyday. Turkey has been fighting to be a member of E.U. (European Union) for so long with America advocating for their inclusion & hypocritically meddling in matters that are not their own, while failing to deal with matters on their own soil such as immigration reform particularly for Mexicans who are technically native American Indians. European nations such as France deem the  Asian/Arab Muslims  of Turkey unworthy to join White Christian Europe siting civil rights violations which many European nations are also guilty of. In many Asian countries like India, Japan, China & Turkey, white is right & sets the standard of aspiration.

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If you look at many of the magazines from these countries they also feature White models or Asian models who are as close to White as possible, so once again I say why be mad at Vogue when they are just going along with the nation’s standard. We are so quick to always want to blame our colonizers & white people in general for our own  inability to rid ourselves of our own mental enslavement. There has to come a time when we take responsibility as non-white nations in the images we ourselves portray to our own people and the rest of the world. Why are we always promoting a western way as the standard of global acceptance & making it, instead of promoting our own culture & aesthetics as the standard by which the people of our own nations & the west should come to embrace instead of always embracing the western way & aesthetics?

Things won’t change until we, the once colonized, get rid of the colonial mentality & stop having such a strong desire to be legitimized by those who once colonized our nations. We are constantly in an uproar about lack of inclusion in the White world instead of accepting that we are not & never will be White or White standard. We create a White superiority or White supremacy complex for ourselves when we decide that magazines, runway shows, designers, films etc. which cater specifically to non-white people or nations are somehow inferior simply based on the fact that it does not fall in line with the White or western standard. Why should black models be fighting to get on the runways of White designers instead of wondering why there aren’t more Stephen Burrows & Tracy Reese‘s showcasing their collections & giving Black models an outlet. Why is it unphathomable for a Black designer to send only Black models or all Black models with the token White model down the runway when it is perfectly acceptable for White designers to do so? Why aren’t these Black designers taking that stand & letting that publicity work for them as much as it has worked for Vogue to have an all Black issue & to have white models in Black face? We have always been an inclusive people from Africa to her Diaspora,  but we must learn that you can’t come to a gun fight with rocks. There is power in numbers & we need to stop being fooled that we are the minority ; thereby staying in the place of the minority who does not have final say or make the decisions of  national or global direction.

We are jumping up & down like crazy in elation to have a Vogue Black website instead of creating our own equally competitive websites/magazines, when there are more black millionaires & billionaires globally more than ever & billions of Black people all over the world with spending capital just begging to be served by a market that often sees them as an after thought. This goes for the Arab world & the Asian world as well. We need to stop blaming Vogue & start looking in our own closets & mirrors.  I am sure that had they put typically Turkish, Chinese & Indian models on the cover they probably would have sold less in those countries judging from the covers of their own national magazines. Are we supporting our designers, are we supporting our magazines, TV, Film & publication industries that cater specifically to us? Why do we run to purchase the new collection of African inspired designs from western designers when we bypass African designers who are inspired by Africa as a way of life, not just as a seasonal fad or trend? Can we even name a handful of Black, African, Asian & Arab designers as quickly as we can name their European/western counterparts even though most of the western designs are created by the hands of migrant labor forces within & without western nations? Once again I say, why blame Vogue instead of looking deep within & ending the cycle of western/colonial mentality which we perpetuate & accept amongst ourselves.

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6 Comments

  • MRoss

    March 2, 2010 at 9:16 pm

    Aretha – First and foremost, I don’t think that ethnic people are trying to be white – most of us know that we are not and never will be and I’m not sure what ethnic person is trying to be white. But what you propose is to bypass the western fashion industry and its publications and form our own, ethnic fashion industry. Yeah, that’s a good solution when Vogue and the industry have already accomplished their aesthetic in and on the world. It is not a national standard as you suggest. It is a global standard. The problem is that Vogue worldwide has subliminally infected the world with the image driven (remember a picture is worth a thousand words) aesthetic equal to white is right. You yourself, guaranteed have been seduced by white imagery without even realizing it. I personally live in a white dominated society that secretly tells me I have a particular checklist from which I can successfully choose my career. If I deviate too far out and attempt a career that is not on that checklist (an expected stereotype), the doors are locked… as if to say no, those positions are reserved for whites only. In fashion, that mentality is immediate and absolute… internationally. I know this because I experienced it first hand. I believe the goal is not to be legitimized by the colonials, but to be legitimized in the world. We are here, we’re not going anywhere. Acknowledge! We already know that because of oppression and being told “no you cannot and will not” automatically raises the bar and the drive to be better – they know it too. White self entitlement and white privilege is why they can continue to perpetuate the racist exclusion of ethnic people. It is NOT a white world and I resent you for spreading such garbage. It is THE world, where groups of color are held back, down and oppressed, made to feel less than, told that they are ugly and are unacceptable. If you can’t name a handful of designers – Black, African, Asian and Arab than how do exactly propose ethnic people create their own? Yes it’s them and it’s us. In the end, it’s all of us. We are the world collectively and it would make more sense instead of rewriting the entire script, to equally change players from time to time and to find and define what is beautiful in everyone not just one group. Everyone gets a turn. White people really bring very little to the table other than I am right because I am white. What they have, who they are, how they speak and what they wear is really all taken from ethnic people in some form or another. What you are promoting is separateness – haven’t we already been there, done that? It would be right to blame Vogue, because they claim progressiveness and inclusion by the title on their magazine, say for example American Vogue. Yet American Vogue, the magazine does not represent American life or its people by any stretch of the imagination… just like every Vogue magazines worldwide. We need to wake them up stop them from promoting farce and make them realize that we have power. Monetary power. There are more of us than there are of them and we can drive them into poverty if they continue to use colonial tactics and behavior against us.

  • Global Fusion

    March 2, 2010 at 10:16 pm

    @MRoss-You resent me for something I didn’t say, so maybe you need to read more carefully instead of jumping to attack. Where exactly am I promoting that it is a “White world”-I am telling you the opposite that White people are technically not the majority in the world, so why should their aesthetic be the global aesthetic & why are non-whites so bent on having our legitimacy from White publications etc. when we have the capital, population & buying power to create our own & to be the ones who set our own national standards of aesthetics to push globally.

    I come from fashion/entertainment-where I had my own boutique PR/Marketing/Adverting/Branding company for over 14yrs. & left it to launch a a production company to tell the stories of Africans/Africa & its GLOBAL FUSIONS because I heard one too many times from my White clients that they did not want me to put black models in the Ad. campaigns because they didn’t want to be considered “urban brands”-which if ur in the fashion community you know that urban now means “black” instead of just meaning cosmopolitan- but they made exceptions for Black celebrities because they brought the cool factor to their brands- basically they don’t mind putting a Rihanna, but the mind putting an Oluchi in an Ad., plus I was tired of having to fight for equal compensation to my White counterparts for the same work which often I went above & beyond the call of duty- which we often do because it is ingrained in our brains that that is what we must do to get ahead or to get anywhere close to fair play in white western society.

    I am far from a separatist, hence my production company being called Global Fusion Productions Inc. because I know, live & understand that our world is very much globally fused, but there are many who refuse to acknowledge that fact & to have it be reflective in their business practices -hence me saying we do not have to wait for White legitimacy because we have the power to create & become profitable just as they do in any business, but often we would rather complain & blame instead of finding a solution & doing. The other issue I raised is that we are quick to find blame & fault with White people doing what they do & know best which is representing & pushing White images/aesthetic, while we fail to look at ourselves for not representing & pushing our own cultural aesthetic but rather a western/colonial version of ourselves. I am African & see this on a daily- with Africans wanting to dress, speak, look & act like westerners & for some people- yes it becomes literally wanting to look white by bleaching their skin- it’s a global issue that effects, people of African, Asian & Arab decent alike all over the world-so I am not saying anything that is not documented & globally known.

    You raised the question “f you can’t name a handful of designers – Black, African, Asian and Arab than how do exactly propose ethnic people create their own? ” -My answer is that you can’t name the designers not because there are not thousands of them who actually exists globally, but rather because most of us are too busy stuck on patronizing & knowing everything possible about Gucci, Chanel, Ralph Lauren, Calvin Klein & many other western designers when we don’t take the time to even seek out our own nor do they ever get the opportunity to even be showcased in our own national & specialized magazines which specifically is supposed to be geared toward our aesthetic -so the message we are sending is that White western aesthetic is right or the best or what we like, so why would they ever want to change? Why wait for someone to allow you to have a turn in their aesthetic that may or may not come when you can create your own turn? I am in no way promoting any idea of separatism, but rather promoting the idea of self empowerment by first to stop complaining about lack of inclusion in the white/western world of culture, cleaning up our own house & putting in the work to make it happen for ourselves & then let them come to us since as you said we are the purveyors of global culture. I want to live for the day when white models, designers,writers, photographers etc. are complaining about not being included in Black or other ethnic magazines- but oh we often utilize them even more than we utilize our own even in our won publications -so that probably will not happen because we ourselves promote that White is right- hence the complete point of this blog!

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