Asians in 'Vogue': They All Look the Same

Jill Baughman
12

Vogue

Don't get me wrong, any progress featuring minority models in fashion magazines is definitely a good thing. This December's Vogue issue is making headlines due to something incredibly shocking and mind-blowing. At least it is for Vogue.

They're featuring EIGHT Asian models. On a TWO-PAGE spread.

But Vogue says they're "redefining traditional concepts of beauty." Does that mean that Asians weren't part of the traditional concept of beauty before? Thank you, Vogue, for confirming what I've suspected about you all along: Your definition of beauty, apparently up until December 2010, is WHITE, WHITE, WHITE.

There's no doubt that these Asian models are gorgeous, and it's frustrating that more of them aren't featured more regularly. And in more than just a two-page spread. Still, Vogue even incorporated models from a variety of different countries, as Du Juan, Liu Wen, Bonnie Chen, and Lily Zhi are from China; Hyoni Kang and So Young Kang are from South Korea (represent!), and Tao Okamoto is from Japan.

But forgive me for taking a more cynical approach to this spread (even though this definitely is progress, as I said before, and yay, progress!). It really all depends on if Vogue will continue featuring minorities like they claim they will, or if the editors feel like they did enough by bunching a group of Asians into one spread and that will shut us naysayers up for a while.

Another point of contention: Remember Chris Tucker telling Jackie Chan in Rush Hour 2, "All y'all look alike!" With only being able to see the profiles on half of the models and all of them sporting the exact same hairdo, Vogue didn't do much to break down this stereotype. Shockingly, all Asians don't look the same, and it would've been nice to see them change up their looks a little bit. And the crazy fauxhawks certainly were an interesting choice.

But let's get back to this whole "redefining beauty" concept. Apparently according to Vogue, Asians have never been "traditionally" beautiful. It's taken until December 2010 for Vogue to finally "redefine" beauty by including Asians in that definition. Keep in mind that American Vogue has never featured an Asian model on its cover, and putting eight models on a two-page spread is newsworthy. These models have been in the business for years; there's nothing new or cutting-edge about their beauty. It's enough to make me roll my eyes and adds even more merit to my decision to quit buying fashion magazines.

Bottom line: Asians and all minorities have and will always be beautiful. That goes for Mexicans, Pakistanis, Sri Lankans, Native Americans, and any other race that is so terribly underrepresented in mainstream media. We don't need a fashion magazine defining beauty for us. Maybe Vogue is finally beginning to understand that concept. Let's hope that they can catch up to the rest of the world.

What do you think about Vogue's Asian model spread? Are fashion magazines becoming less relevant?


Image via Vogue

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