Diversity in All Its Shapes and Colors

In a climate of immigration bans and building walls, the biggest names in 2017 make the case that there isn’t just one type of American girl—nor has there ever been. – *This is how Vogue starts its article on the March issue.*

Sometimes trying too hard does not give positive results. The more we overthink, the more we misguide ourselves. For instance, Vogue‘s march issue serves as a good example of sticking to the principles by illustrating diversity while staying relatively in the same safe place of the fashion industry. Maybe Vogue should have explained the idea earlier? Nevertheless, it already managed to open a topic for discussion.

For its March 2017 issue, Vogue decided to celebrate diversity, which did not receive expected positive response from social media users. This past week people were not happy with Vogue’s choice of models for representing diversity. Enough that Kendall Jenner and Gigi Hadid were on its cover, Karlie Kloss appeared as a geisha. However, we can view this image from different perspectives, right?

Gigi Hadid, Kendall Jenner, Imaan Hammam, Vittoria Ceretti, Liu Wen, Ashley Graham, and Adwoa Aboah were on the cover as representatives of “Modern American Woman.” The text under the image says: No form is the new form. If the word diversity, in this case, describes multiculturalism then Vogue did quite a good job in choosing models, since we have Imaan Hammam who has Moroccan and Egyptian roots, Italian model Vittoria Ceretti, Liu Wen who is from China, Adwoa Aboah with her Ghanaian roots, Gigi Hadid‘s father is Israeli and Kendall Jenner representing America. However, what strikes me the most, is the overall lack of diversity. In the contrary, if this word is about diverse skin color, then again, we see only light skin models. If this word stands for body shapes then the only model who is considered to be a “plus-size”  is Ashley Graham, and they still are considerably of the same height.

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The other side of this image would be seeing individualism as a meaning of the word diversity. So, it is not about appearance or cultural background, it is more about individualism that makes each person unique, diverse. Above all, The Beauty Revolution/ No norm is the new norm, disproves the above stated assumption.

We are always ready to jump into conclusions without thoroughly analyzing the situation. However, since the topic of the magazine is diversity, they tried to combine the American and Asian cultures by shooting Karlie Kloss as the main character in the Spirited Away photoshoot. I believe that choosing a “light-skin” model for this photoshoot was not a good idea. Since, if the main purpose of the photoshoot was to show the diversity in all its shapes and colors than it would be better to cast a dark-skin model. In other cases, there will always be no better model to represent the Japanese culture than a Japanese woman.

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Thanks to Mikael Jansson, the Spirited Away photoshoot appeared to be very beautiful. However, you cannot stop users from expressing their opinions towards a particular topic. Twitter had the most feedback on this March edition. Here is what we have:

Karlie Kloss later apologized for taking part in a Japanese culture geisha-themed photoshoot by making a post on her Twitter account.

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Each person understands certain things in their own way. Same applies here. Maybe if we perceive this photoshoot from the perspective of photography or any other aspect that worked well, it will seem successful and beautiful. After all, cultural appropriation can appear to be a scrupulous topic to try to draw conclusion from.


Reference:

Herreria, C. Vogue Celebrates Diversity With Karlie Kloss In Yellowface. Retrieved from http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/karlie-kloss-vogue_us_58a3853fe4b094a129f01f15

Singer, M., & Vinoodh, I. A. Models Ashley Graham, Gigi Hadid, Kendall Jenner on Diverse Beauty Being the Norm. Retrieved from http://www.vogue.com/article/model-diversity-ashley-graham-gigi-hadid-kendall-jenner-march-cover

Evans, D. Karlie Kloss Appears As a Geisha in Vogue’s Diversity Issue. Retrieved from http://nymag.com/thecut/2017/02/vogue-styled-karlie-kloss-as-a-geisha-in-2017.html

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