Vogue, Karlie Kloss blasted for geisha photo spread
Fashion magazine in hot water again over current diversity issue
Critics are lobbing charges of whitewashing and cultural appropriation against Vogue, joining the rampant online criticism of the magazine for colourism and tokenism in its already maligned March issue.
The latest volume of the fashion monthly, billed as a "diversity" issue, is being blasted anew for a photo spread in which white supermodel Karlie Kloss is styled to invoke a Japanese geisha.
Apparently nobody sent the "yellow face is in fact racism" memo to Vogue. <a href="https://t.co/mPK8mDoNYu">https://t.co/mPK8mDoNYu</a>—@frglmasculinity
Emma Stone, Scarlett Johansson, and Tilda Swinton turn to Karlie Kloss. "Your turn, girl."<br><br>Karlie on phone: "Hello, Vogue? Make me Asian." <a href="https://t.co/zgUWIB022Q">pic.twitter.com/zgUWIB022Q</a>—@ira
IDAF this was an homage to a 1966 Vogue shoot. Sure, take the visual inspiration—Don't copy the dusty cultural insensitivty from 50 yrs ago <a href="https://t.co/gBOKbRugEq">https://t.co/gBOKbRugEq</a>—@ChinHuaLu
Kloss apologized for her participation in the shoot, which spread and drew widespread criticism rapidly online Tuesday after images were shared from the new issue.
This is why Vogue is cancelled. Their idea of "edgy" is hiring white people to imitate other races instead of just hiring diverse models. <a href="https://t.co/29lUkHfjLn">https://t.co/29lUkHfjLn</a>—@theglossier
Many questioned why the magazine — which included a Chinese model on its cover for the very first time with this March issue — wouldn't have simply hired a Japanese (or even more generally an Asian) model for that particular photo spread.
Whitewashing of Asian figures has been in the news of late, including in prominent Hollywood productions. Meanwhile, instances of cultural insensitivity and appropriation, from the fashion and entertainment industries to college Halloween parties, have also regularly raised a furor online.
- Why bindis, geishas and Caitlyn Jenner aren't welcome at Brock's Halloween party
- It's not just headdresses at festival; prof says Indigenous cultural appropriation widespread
- PHOTOS | Controversial casting choices of moviemakers
Diversity cover blasted
Anger over the geisha-inspired spread comes just days after Vogue earned social media wrath for the March issue's cover image featuring a clutch of currently popular young models.
The next wave of models are redefining beauty: the new norm is no norm. <a href="https://t.co/804dMdgWGI">https://t.co/804dMdgWGI</a>—@voguemagazine
Promoting the cover, the magazine drew from an accompanying article about a broadening definition of beauty as "a seismic social shift: the new beauty norm is no norm."
However, people soon pointed out that while hailing from different ethnicities, the women featured all have similar complexions and are nearly all the same body type.
Vogue is "democratizing fashion" by not including a single woman darker than a paper bag in an "inclusive" spread. <a href="https://t.co/ein18za44p">pic.twitter.com/ein18za44p</a>—@freeblackgirl
<a href="https://twitter.com/voguemagazine">@voguemagazine</a> While they may be different ethnicities, they all have the same facial features & structure so is that even real diversity?—@CarrieCnh12
The public to vogue: we need diversity!!<br>Vogue: *gets kendall and gigi again* <a href="https://t.co/sGQdpWwqz8">pic.twitter.com/sGQdpWwqz8</a>—@angelmuxoz
Others noted that the lone plus-size model included appears clothed and posed slightly differently than the others, with some accusing the magazine of digitally editing the image to make her appear thinner.
Woah woah... This <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/VogueCover?src=hash">#VogueCover</a> ... photoshop gone wrong (Gigi's hand), trying to make Ashely look thinner (only one with hand down) & more <a href="https://t.co/BsgDjrPlA8">pic.twitter.com/BsgDjrPlA8</a>—@BrodskyMadison
Shame on you <a href="https://twitter.com/voguemagazine">@voguemagazine</a> is GiGi's super long arm covering Ashley Graham's belly,Ashley dropping her hand to make her leg slimmer <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/vogue?src=hash">#vogue</a> <a href="https://t.co/korQux9DHv">pic.twitter.com/korQux9DHv</a>—@markparker2005
For her part, the model in question, Ashley Graham, responded to a fan via Instagram that she was not instructed to pose a certain way.