Marie Claire and Corn Row Gate

Marie Claire retweeted a photo of Kendall Jenner who was showcasing her new hair style that happened to feature cornrows in a half braided side style.

Marie Claire Retweeted the photo and accompanied it with “Kendall Jenner takes bold braids to a new epic level:”.

If you missed it, you can catch up here: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/04/02/marie-claire-kendall-jenner-cornrows-tweet_n_5078924.html

There seemed to be responses defending and admonishing Marie Claire for their tweet as cornrows are associated with Ethnic hair types and Kendall Jenner does not fit that assumption. Now, the argument from predominantly minorities is this; would Marie Claire have found the hair style “Bold and Epic” if it were a black or minority woman who sported this hair style?

The honest answer here is no. As someone that reads fashion magazine and has been paying careful attention to how women who look like me are represented; it stings. We as women of color, minorities, black women (whatever title feels good to you) are not featured as often and usually when our culture if featured on someone not typically associated with the culture.

If you’re confused by that statement; all I have to do is remind of you Miley Cyrus. That’s recent enough for you to recall. Remember how she turned twerking into a fun loving, feminist statement while traditionally the women who twerked are demonized for being hypersexual and are stereotyped? No? Look it up.

I’m not under any illusion that mainstream is becoming more open to showing various shades and degrees of beauty. It will take generations of work for women who look like me to fit the universal standard of beauty; in the mean time, it’s really hurtful for us to see our culture misappropriated and then worshipped, simply because it’s being done by someone who looks more like what the universal standard of beauty is.

Yes; we have Essence, Jet and Ebony but those publications came out of a desperate need to see minorities as articulate, successful, ambitious and even beautiful but what of the mainstream?

I’m going to assume that the target audience for Marie Claire and Essence are different and while we celebrate these things with smaller publications and don’t fight more for mainstream changes in the idea of beauty, it hurts when you see yourself reflected through white washed eyes and you don’t even get an honorable mention.

I thought Kendall looked cute with her half braided hair style BUT I feel like praising it as “bold” and “epic” is almost mocking.

If you featured more people of color, with ethnic hairstyles and didn’t associate braids / cornrows with people who you believe to be lesser; you wouldn’t be having this problem.

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One Comment Add yours

  1. Preach! What’s important here is saying something, so kudos to you for writing about it. The sad truth is that a lot of people in the fashion industry are just plain ignorant. In America especially we look at the Brits, Italians, and Parisians as innovative fashionistas, and not Africans. It’s both annoying and difficult to constantly have to educate our white counterparts about things we’ve known for years, but unfortunately its the only way they’ll ever learn. Til society as a whole is knowledgeable enough to look to Africans and other Black people as trendsetters we’ll just have to keep doing what we can.

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