Last week, L’Oréal denied they had photoshopped an ad featuring Beyonce Knowles to make her skin appear lighter. Well, let’s just do a side-by-side comparison, shall we?
Here is the ad in question…
… and here is a photo I got by randomly Image Googling “Beyonce Knowles”.
Yeah, unless she was wearing a whole lot of the wrong shade of foundation for that photoshoot, I’m comfortable in saying L’Oréal is full of shit.
But the hilarity continues!
Now L’Oréal is being accused of darkening the ad for Essence, a publication aimed at black readers. Let’s just hope L’Oréal doesn’t sell the ad to Quadruple Amputee’s Monthly or Two-Headed Circus Freak’s Quarterly.
For fuck’s sake, what is wrong with these cosmetic companies? I mean, they hire these women to represent their products because they’re beautiful; then they tinker, airbrush, and photoshop away everything that makes them the slightest bit unique. Or try to “tailor” their beauty to specific markets.
And of course the conflation of “beauty” with “whiteness” (light skin, straight hair) is just all kinds of fucked up and gross. This seems as good a time as any to harp on the fact that Dove, of the “Campaign for Real Beauty” ads, is owned by Unilever, which sells the #1 skin lightening cream in South Asia. (They also make Axe Body Spray, they of the sexist and degrading commercials.)
It’s why there’s such a dearth of in-demand black models in the fashion industry. There’s Naomi Campbell, and… err… wait, one will come to me… nope, I got nothing. Vogue’s “solution” to this was to print an all-black issue of Vogue Italia. It’s an interesting idea, but like so many of fashion’s “solutions” to problems endemic in the industry (sweatshops, eating disorders), it looks pretty but does nothing to address the root cause.
Would this still be considered “blackface”?
*Please do not leave comments informing me that Beyonce is black. The title is a rhetorical question, duh. I’ve already approved one and replied to it; any further such comments will be reported as spam and ignored.