Tuesday, November 3, 2009

black is the new...black?

for an upcoming issue of V magazine, Sasha Pivovarova and Heidi Mount

when I first saw this image, I thought what was the point of this? my mind immediately turned to the countless images of blackface that were so popular in the 1900s, one CENTURY ago.

though I cannot relate with the black public, I can relate to what it means to have your "race" physically broken-down and socially constructed. asians went through this same shit with yellowface in which white actors packed on the eyeliner to appear more "oriental." this, too was done back in the day so why have we suddenly reverted to discrimination? aren't we supposed to be moving forward?

this image from american apparel haunts me for some odd reason. I first saw this ad in one of my comm classes last year and literally, could not stop staring at it. again, WHAT WAS THE POINT OF THIS? fashion, or not, this concept of painting faces will never resonate with me. arguing that one is done more "tastefully" than the other is barely a reason to justify blackface, or yellowface, anycolorface. it's just ridiculous to me. the day when models of color put on whiteface is the day I'll finally be able to drink again (remember, I have panreatitis? hahaha)

let me know what you guys think! is it acceptable, fashionable? or just plain bonkers?

sources: ny magazine & racialicious.com


Krissy said...

I don't know, I think I'm kind of back and forth on it. Like in some ways it could be seen as a positive thing showing that race doesn't matter. But in that same breath, it's also simultaneously saying that it does by shoving it down our throats. If that makes sense. :P

Feelmore said...

I can't even tell you how happy I am that you posted this. I recently posted something similar on my second blog: www.ill-list.blogspot.com about French Vogue doing the same thing this October issue.

There is nothing OK with this, in my opinion. Given the history of the painting of faces in this manner, it's just a boundary that should NOT be crossed. Fashion already shamelessly appropriates cultures, and now it's doing the same to skin color.

In a sense I agree with Krissy that there is an element of stating that 'race doesn't matter' but race DOES matter - it's almost a throwback to the 80's concept of 'color blind' which really means that one is not acknowldeging the personal histories tied in with one's race and culture which is just another form of racism. By stating that there are no differences, we are choosing to ignore the impacts that race really does have and that's not progressive at all. It's an excuse.

I could go on forever but the last point I want to make is that this is dismissive to an entire race. It's like, 'oh we don't need black people' let's just paint our white people black... hello?

Ok OK one more thing! :) just an interesting observation - when I posted my blog post on my facebook, I got really long rants about how this is ok from all white people but every single black person had a major problem with this. I think that should almost be enough to prove that there is a major problem with this. If black people have a problem with this, then there is a problem no matter what white people or even other ethnicites think. Similar to the use of the 'N' word in a sense ...

Julia said...

I love Sasha!

Heather said...

The first pic would be cool if it was the same model, but using two models and painting one black?? I guess it's just a color, like painting someone purple. I guess.

The AA Ad, well I think they'll do anything attention grabbing, good or bad.


Feelmore said...

I reposted and added a link to this post from my blog. :)


AsianCajuns said...

Oh my gawd! I saw on Refinery 29 the other day something like "Blackface is Back?" and I literally said "WTF"? I find this a really strange (and not in a shocking-lets-expand-our-artistic/cultural-minds-in-a-good-way) move for the "fashionable." As biracial girls (who are usually mistaken for Hispanic-- we are part Chinese) I kinda wish people will get over this weird racist/"not really racist" s&*^. ('Scuse the lady-like language). Thanks so much for posting this though! I think an open dialog about this weird/bizarre trend is an awesome idea.