Thursday, January 26, 2012

Whitewashed

A new photograph of Beyonce has sparked quite a bit of controversy. The picture is a promotional image in support of her new album, and something just doesn't seem right...



















Here is a photo of her that has not been retouched:


























Beyonce's skin color is clearly lightened a great deal in the promotional photo. A similar outcry occurred back in 2008 regarding a L'Oreal ad that Beyonce was featured in:


























In addition to unnecessary and odd-looking digital altering of her facial features, her skin has obviously been lightened in the above picture. I personally do not believe at all that this was an accident or due to lighting. If by some chance lighting had caused this effect, they could have readjusted the image to reflect her true skin tone. I find these images to be outrageous, and I am not the only one. The following quote is from writer Yasmin Alibhai-Brown:

"Too many black and Asian children grow up understanding the sad truth that to have dark skin is to be somehow inferior. Of course, black and Asian parents work hard to give their children a positive self-image and confidence in their appearance, despite the cultural forces stacked against them. But when black celebrities appear to deny their heritage by trying to make themselves look white, I despair for the youngsters who see those images."


I hate to say it, but this is not an isolated incident. Check out this Vogue cover of Rihanna:





























Here is a before-and-after that shows how much her skin has been lightened:


















I think Rihanna is absolutely beautiful. You would think Vogue does too, right? Afterall, they chose to feature her on the cover of their magazine. Why, then, are they sending the message that she is not good enough, or beautiful enough, by choosing to digitally alter her in this way? This is a very destructive message to send, especially to youth who are easily influenced. This clearly sends the message that lighter skin is more beautiful. What a horrible, false message to send.

The following are images of Freido Pinto. Again, an absolutely beautiful woman. The first picture is from a magazine ad; the second is an untouched image:

















Guess who's to blame, again? You got it, it's L'Oreal! Here is the statement they released when questioned about the image:

"It is categorically untrue that L’Oréal Paris altered Ms. Pinto’s features or skin-tone in the campaign for Project Runway ‘Colors Take Flight’ limited-edition collection. Digital editing is extremely common in print publishing and advertising, where wrinkles, pounds and inches are routinely airbrushed off models and celebs to give them a flawless appearance."

Yeah, and skin is routinely lightened! Their response is a joke. How often are we seeing Beyonce's or Rihanna's skin inadvertently darkened as a result of digital editing? Exactly.

The following link will take you to a very important article on this topic:

Beauty Whitewashed: How White Ideals Exclude Women of Color

From the article, a quote that I agree wholeheartedly with:

"When we do see women of color represented as beauty icons in media, they almost always already fit white ideals--meaning they already have light skin tones, light-colored, straight hair, ideally “white” facial features, thin figures, etc. The most famous examples of black or multiracial women celebrated for their beauty or desirability consistently fit those standards, and coming up with examples who don’t is really tough. Tyra Banks, Halle Berry, Rihanna, Gabrielle Union, Ciara, Zoe Saldana, Brandy, Janet Jackson, Alicia Keys … the list goes on."

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Anonymous said...

Nadia, again, pure awesomeness! You got it! I love it!! I really don't understand why wouldn't those "role models" such as Rihanna and Beyoncée, both so goregeous and influent,and in the end, women that are always "talking" about black couture pride in their music and lifestyle, Well why woundn't they stand up for what they believe in and just tell magazines they won't cope with that, such as interesting Kate Winslet did once with a fashionmag that wanted to make her look much thinner than what she really was in the cover picture. I don't know if L'oreal would pay them more for agreeing with that or if they just 'don't see it' or care, both options really scare me a lot...

I don't think this is a coincidence at all, they don't look that stupid to be easely manipuleted by that evil media or low selfsteam enough to smply accept anything "imposed" by those. But in the end, who knows, right??

I love women that stand out for a/it's cause and defends it with real gutts. Last year model Coco Rocha prosecuted brazilian Elle (or whas it 2012) for showing on their cover MUCH more that what she wanted to show, and that was probably in agreement, since she always have stood up for what she would and wouldn't do

I think this attitud is amazing! And it was really funny seeing how Brazilian editors have stiil a lot to learn... Did they just thought Rocha was a little girl and that they would easily get away with it?

Lots of kisses!! Keep going!!! Please!!!!

Anonymous said...

Oh and about the whitened hair and surgeries and stuff, I really find that theme envolves lots of point of views and discussions, such as, if it really raises ones self steam I think it's ok, such as some asian women wants to curl their hair.

But then again, the feeling of self steam based on white "parameters" has been appearing through all over the media for such a long time and in so many, many different ways... That's kinda sad...

Xo

Nadia said...

you are so right about the 'white' image of beauty in our media. also, i had not heard about the coco rocha cover, but i just looked it up and am reading about it now. thank you for telling me about that! i am so glad you are loving my blog! thank you so much for visiting, and i love your comments!

Anonymous said...

I had a student in my class do a presentation on this when I served as the TA for the intro women's studies class. If you are just browsing around you would never really notice how the media does this on a consistent basis. Its disgusting how race plays a role when we do not even know it is.

Nadia said...

Thanks for commenting! Yeah, it is disgusting, and scary to think about the subtle ways it is happening and really having a subconscious effect on people in such a negative way.

Anonymous said...

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Anonymous said...

*too many typos in my last comment

Gabrielle Union, Janet, and Brandi need not be on that list of women who fit white beauty standards. The only valid point is that non of them are dark-skinned but as far as features go nothing about Gabby (asian-esque face), Janet (average to thick body), or Brandi (nothing about Brandi's face looks white) fits in. Also I am truly over the thin body = white thing. Seriously? I am a dark-skinned Jamaican and I have never passed 115 pounds....EVER. In fact, the darker a person is they tend to be much thinner and more lean than both white and light-skinned people as a whole. Look at Indians. The lighter they are, they have more of full belly-dancer type look. Now look at the dark-skinned Indians and notice how slender they are. It is almost universal. So people need to stop associating thick with black because it is completely incorrect. African Americans (and only certain places in Africa like Nigeria) have really thick black people, and that may be based on the food they eat.