Black's the Vogue!

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India is a country where light skin is coveted by all. Due to media-fueled images of beauty, demand for skin bleaching creams has hit an all-time high in the country and is projected to increase by 25 percent this year alone.


The skin lightening, hair straightening phenomenon is found all over the black world. Africans and African Americans alike all subscribe to skin  ‘toning’  and hair relaxing in a bid to look more like the stereotypical media-projected image of beauty. Little black girls from Cairo to Chicago can’t wait until they are old enough to have waist length blonde hair and when the reality does not match up to the fantasy, they simply go out and buy it. Don’t like the length of your nails,? No need to fix the ones you have, buy some. Boobs too small? Call on Dr. 90210!  Skin too dark? Bleach it! Hair too kinky? Buy a weave. It’s got to the point where a black sister wearing her own hair, nails and God-given skin tone is seen as half dressed, unpolished, unfinished!

Anna Wintour to the rescue! Perhaps in a geriatric epiphany to do penance for all its contributions to the eating disorders suffered by women in the modern world, Vogue in its April edition of its India print sets a new tone (no pun intended) when it featured a bevy of dark skinned beauties in bikinis on its cover headlined: The Dawn Of Dusk. The subheading on the cover reads: Vogue India celebrates the skin tone the world covets!


Is Vogue's effort sufficient to cause the darker skinned members of the Indian community to accept themselves as they are? Huffington Post muses that the cover tackles colour prejudice and aims to bust the myth that “pale skin equals beauty” but not all readers are buying it.  One reader M Ameerah Saleem, commented on FeelNubia's Facebook link to this story: "they all look 'light skinned' to me...there should be a variety of shades shown here". In a country where the dark skinned population fall into the Untouchable Dalit caste, the magazine was treading slippery grounds and it is impossible for the discerning reader to miss the magazine's attempt to remain politically correct. The absence of the darkest skinned models from the cover shot means that black women in India or anywhere else for that matter are still a long way off from tossing out skin bleaching creams, hair extensions and false nails. But its a start!!

Last Updated on Thursday, 07 April 2011 18:05
Written by Samira Ibnul-Hassan

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