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Vanity Fair Uses White Woman As Example Of Curves And Bronzed Skin

Vanity Fair magazine drew praises from across the United States last month when they rightfully diversified the cover of their annual “Hollywood Issue” to include actors and actresses of color after catching backlash for the lack of in previous years, but a spread in their latest issue seems to all-but counteract last month’s progress.

via Think Progress

The March issue of Vanity Fair drew headlines for the right reasons last month, when it featured prominent black actors on the cover of its annual Hollywood issue. For many, the cover signified a shift in attitudes about media representation, since the magazine, one of many in the Conde Nast empire, previously attracted negative attention for its exclusion of people of color. However, a two-page story in its latest issue shows that Vanity Fair is still stuck in the past.

On the surface, the publication (you can find it on pages 164 and 165) applauds female sexuality and self-empowerment, but a closer look reveals deeply-ingrained biases against women of color.

In an article comically entitled “Rear Admirable,” Vanity Fair showcases social media sensation Jen Selter, who skyrocketed to fame after posting photos of her butt on Instagram. The pictures used in the spread include a backside shot of Selter in a black corset, and another of the model in 1940s-inspired, fishnet lingerie. The accompanying text describes Selter as a “member of a rapidly rising subset of Instagram stars: young women unfraid to share their deeply bronzed, sculpted figures.”

The takeaway message is that showing off curves in a public way is not only a new phenomenon, but looking darker, “or bronzed,” is the new way to be beautiful. It’s a breath of fresh air to see curves and darker skin tones applauded by a world-renowned publication, but disappointing that Vanity Fair used a white Jewish woman to convey a newly-accepted norm.

We cannot and should not conclude that women of color have a monopoly on curves. Yet, Vanity Fair overlooked a number of women with naturally bronze skin and voluptuous bodies who were out there way before Selter.

It seems like Vanity Fair has a long way to go.

There’s certainly no shortage of curvy African-American and Latino women with naturally “bronzed” skin in Hollywood….yet Vanity Fair choose to go with Jen Selter. So much for progress.



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