Diversity. Something that should not be a problem in 2017. And yet, it is.
The world and it’s outlook on beauty is such a funny thing to me. Funny, in that, I just don’t understand it. I truly do not understand how the standards of beauty emerged.
Who is to say one woman is more beautiful than another; the same goes for men. It is all based on outward appearance. It’s height, hair color, skin, eye color and shape, body figure, every part of you that is genetic. It is not your personality, your intelligence, your outlook on life. No, in this day and age it is how you are presented.
A year ago I sat down and started to write a similar post to this, but I did not complete it. It was pushed to the bottom of my ‘drafts’ and was forgotten about until now. A few days ago I watched Aimee Song’s new Paris fashion week vlog in which she briefly discussed the lack of ethnic diversity on the runway, and I was reminded of this post. Then two days ago I was up late watching TED talks and I stumbled across “Look’s aren’t everything. Believe me, I’m a model“. About a third of the way into the video, she starts to discuss her privilege as a white woman in the fashion industry. She recalls some statistics taken, which stated that in 2007, of the 677 runway models hired, only 27 of them were non-white. When I heard this I was stunned. Granted these statistics were taken 10 years ago, and this TED talk was 4 years ago, but I still find this relevant.
Now I don’t have the time or patience to determine the statistics for this past year or so, but I can’t imagine there’s been a huge change. Yes, I know for a fact that the number has risen from to over 4% non-white models. But let’s be honest, we see the photos, we know the number can’t be that significant. In the grand scheme of it all, there are thousands of women out in the world who long to be models. And only those who are deemed beautiful, break through.
I can remember getting a Teen Vogue issue on which Imaan Hammam and two other women of color were featured on the cover. And it was a pretty huge deal. I think it’s sad that I still see articles with titles such as “How [insert name] is breaking beauty expectations”. Why is it that in 2017 this is still an issue. I find it absolutely ridiculous.
If you look at who is considered a “top” model at the moment, you will see that majority of them are white women. There are, of course, some women of color, but be honest with yourself and acknowledge that too many are not. In regards to diversity off the runway, but still in the fashion realm, consider the recent news of Edward Enninful who made history by becoming the first man of color to be the editor-in-chief of Vogue.
If you’re interested in reading more about this topic:
- Appointment of Edward Enninful
- Naomi Campbell blasts fashion industry for lack of diversity again
- Diversity in the Fashion Industry: 5 Progressive Milestones