'Vogue' Tries Racism on for Size


vogue italiaAs far as I can tell, the latest trend in earrings seems to be the more GINORMOUS, the better. And as someone who is barely 4'11" and who can only envy someone like Gisele Bundchen's neck to ear ratio, I thought this in itself was a total disaster. Man, was I wrong! The real disaster seems to be that some people in the fashion industry (cough Vogue Italia) have nicknamed huge, oversized hoops "slave earrings." Did you just do a double-take? I know, so did I.

The fashion bible's website posted an online story about this "important new trend" not that long ago, citing how "slave earrings" (which was then changed to "ethnic earrings") are all about "pure freedom." Pardon?! Sadly, no, this was not copy extracted from a 1857 copy of 19th century women's mag Godey's Lady's Book. It was written this year by people who must be UTTERLY clueless.

Although it's since been tweaked, the original copy read:

If the name brings to mind the decorative traditions of the women of colour who were brought to the southern United States during the slave trade, the latest interpretation is pure freedom. Colored stones, symbolic pendants, and multiple spheres. And the evolution goes on.

Evolution?! More like devolution. Whoever wrote this is so racist, they don't even know how racist they are. They're also totally grasping at straws. See, the thing is these magazine people -- especially in the fashion industry -- seem to be constantly looking for a new hook. They can't just sell "hoop earrings" for the millionth time to masses of women. They've gotta jazz it up, attempt to make it new. And since retro or vintage is always in, I guess they figured they could try to reference something from the past that's not only totally racist, but, as Jezebel notes, sets us back decades. AWESOME. Two thumbs up for caldissimo racial insensitivity, Vogue Italia!

Proving just how clueless they are, the magazine's editor-in-chief, Franca Sozzani, said in a statement that the copy was "a matter of really bad translation from Italian to English." YEAH friggin' right. Way to lean on language barrier as an excuse. Vogue Italia must think the rest of the world is as stupid as they are. But we're not, and this debacle should leave a bad taste about the Vogue brand in any fashion-forward trendsetter's mouth.

What do you think about this racist misstep by Vogue Italia?


Image via Julie Robertson/Flickr

accessories, trends, in the news, discrimination, vogue


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miche... micheledo

After reading the first two paragraphs I was all ready to respond about slaves being any and every color and nationality.  Think of the slaves in Rome - every land they conquered they made slaves of.  Slaves have had earrings from the beginning. . . .

Then I read the original copy.  Specifically tying the name to black slaves in the US.   Dumb. Dumb.  Dumb.  Racist - I don't know??  The word gets tossed around all the time it seems.  But STUPID for sure.

BeLLa... BeLLasNewMoMmy

IMO the stir should quit on this subject. . .And writte about stuff that really helps us momS. . .

dirti... dirtiekittie

i'm over the whole "is this racist?" posts that have been going on lately. i know they're reflective of the news, but seriously - it's racist because you make it about race. when you remove the stigma from a word, it becomes powerless. perfect example - idiot. it used to be that folks with special needs were called "idiots" once upon a time for their lack of being 'up to speed' with the rest of the population. now, there are specific diagnoses that cover this, and "idiot" pretty much just means a very stupid person. but once upon a time, it meant so much more... maybe someday WE can say that, but not as long as everyone keeps trying to force things to be seen as one way or another. chris rock said it best - "let's all just keep f*ing until we're all the same color!"

Sweet... SweetJakesMom

Wow, I don't know what's more disturbing...the term "slave earrings" or the responses you've gotten so far.  Although I'm not surprised, I've made the comment before that the bloggers on the stir are throwing their pearls before swine.

The fashion industry is completely out of touch with reality.  They once told my friend that her bi-racial daughter was a "mutt" during a modeling call.  

Slavery is a dark scar in America's past, and shouldn't be ignored, but should NEVER be taken lightly.  Anyone who thinks this topic is not relevant better hope they are not on the other side if history repeats itself.

LiberalK LiberalK

@sweetjakes mom: I couldn't agree more with you. These comments are rude. If you don't agree with the blogger then atleast have the maturity to politely disagree. Name calling is so childish. We're suppose to be mothers.

Bertha21 Bertha21

@sweetjakes mom I agree completely! :) very well put

aeama... aeamathis

I would agree that the marketing is tacky and thoughtless but it doesn't meet the criteria for "racist".  The inspiration for the earrings might have come from ethnic slaves but it can be marketed in a more tasteful manner.  Perhaps simpy "African-inspired" or something similar.   

PonyC... PonyChaser

How does something like this "set us back for decades"? Nobody is passing a law that says you must buy the earrings. THAT would be "setting us back decades".

No, this is a stupid concept that will likely fall flat, because it's presented poorly. Is it racist? I don't know, we've thrown the word around so much that I don't even know what it means any more. "Racist" used to mean thinking that someone was inferior simply because of skin color. Now it means "don't say or do anything that might remotely offend someone who has other than lilly white skin".

sweet... sweetcherry_59

@SweetJakesMom you must not be reading the same blog posts that I have seen lately if you seriously believe "the bloggers on the stir are throwing their pearls before swine"

I laughed my ass off. If you consider the writing at thestir "pearls" you must not spend much time reading much of anything.

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