Candice Swanepoel’s Newest Photoshoot Is Naked, Steamy, & Culturally Insensitive


The good news? Candice Swanepoel posed naked in an ultra-sexy new magazine photo. The bad news? The one thing she is wearing… is potentially offensive. Hooray.

The beautiful Victoria’s Secret Angel looks stunning in the January 2014 issue of Vogue Brazil, in which she’s posed clotheslessly on a bed, crossing her legs and covering her breasts with her arms. The bulky bangles and hoop earrings make her look extra glamorous. The turban makes her look kind of ignorant. You can see the (NSFW) picture here.

Considering I’m not a member of any of the groups who wear turbans for religious or cultural reasons, it’s not my place to determine what’s offensive to them– but it always irks me when rich white people sexualize items that hold cultural significance to less privileged groups. The thing is, there’s a big difference between honoring other cultures and commandeering pieces of those cultures without considering what they stand for. Turbans are part of religious observance in certain faith communities, and they hold a lot of significance in parts of South Asia and North Africa. They don’t belong to Candice Swanepoel, who grew up in apartheid South Africa and who now wears million-dollar bras for a living. When you’re not part of the culture that owns a particular symbol, it’s pretty disrespectful, entitled, and ignorant to arrogate it. Especially when you’re displaying that symbol in a sexual context.

Of course, it’s not a model’s fault when a photographer makes an unenlightened decision for a photoshoot, and it’s difficult to determine who exactly deserves the blame in this case. And, again, I don’t get to speak for cultural groups that I don’t belong to, and it’s possible that this photo might not offend large numbers of people. Still, it’s important not to ignore derogatory appropriation– and it’s important to consider the implications of your actions when you’re publishing a photo to a large audience.

Via Hollywood Life / Photo: WENN

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    • icanreadportuguese

      um, yeah. It’s not a turban. She has her hair wrapped in a towel – like people from many cultures do after they wash their hair. The towel is from Dolce & Gabbana. This information is in the article below the photo.

      • Frances Locke

        I love how you brag about being able to read portuguese as if we’re not on the damn internet where anyone can use Google translate. Does it hurt to kiss your own ass?

    • Guest

      Agreed. I’m not one who wears a turban for religious reasons, and I respect the cultural and religious implications, but I do wear one, every day, after my shower. And some other people just wear them for function or fashion. They may hold religious significance for some, but that doesn’t mean other people can’t wrap their hair simply because it looks beautiful.

    • JaneSmith100

      God are you screwed up. You really really need help, serious help. LIBERALISM IS A MENTAL DISORDER, & you have it in spades. And that’s not pc either but you are the epitome of this.

      • Frances Locke

        I just rolled my eyes so hard at YOUR comment that my head exploded. THANKS JANE.

      • JaneSmith100

        Typical fucking outrage troll, like the author of this piece.

      • CMJ

        Oh bless your heart.

      • carly tenney

        Hey, I’m a Liberal and I see nothing wrong with the fact that this woman has a fancy towel on her head! You conservatives are always ready with the insults! Take a chill pill JaneSmith!

      • JaneSmith100

        TY for agreeing with me Carly, and personally I agree with what KJ said, I just said much more BLUNT!!!

      • Frances Locke

        People like you, who pride themselves on being blunt are simply terrible people. Nothing more, nothing less. Don’t act like you’re tough when you’re hiding behind online anonymity.

      • JaneSmith100

        Terrible? I think I’m loving hurting your feelings when you post crap like this “I love how you brag about being able to read portuguese as if we’re not
        on the damn internet where anyone can use Google translate. Does it hurt
        to kiss your own ass?”

        WTH is wrong with you? Seriously! My god you sound like an idiot.

      • Julia Sonenshein

        This is so cute.

    • cassie

      um, yeah… that article says it’s a towel.

    • RemyC

      Are you implying that to satisfy your restricted idea of political correctness, women are no longer allowed to wear Carmen Miranda fruit hats anymore? How sad for the cultural diversity of this planet to harbor such a craving for mediocre uniformity. There is nothing offensive about what she’s got on her head, a towel! You’re simply trying to stir trouble!

    • kj

      I just wonder at which point does being excessively outraged on behalf of a group to which one does not belong become, in itself, a form of appropriation? Oppression appropriation? Not saying that white people shouldn’t speak out against racist bullshit, but pretty much every article I have seen on this site whining about cultural appropriation (See: Rhianna’s mehendi tattoo) has been written by a caucasian author.

      It’s like when I see a racial relations class study group and the white girl in the group is talking over everyone else out in her enthusiasm to talk about discrimination. We don’t hear about anyone else’s experience because this one wants to prove how much she is on their side, to the point where everyone else’s voice gets completely drowned out.

      I understand the implications of cultural appropriation and can appreciate its subtlety, but I have to question when it comes, over and over, from a source that is not directly impacted by this.

      It’s almost as if they are appropriating said oppression in the name of.. pageclicks, perhaps? As nasty a form of appropriation for commercial gain as any I can think of.

      When I hear some non-white voices taking offense to Swanepoel’s suspicious looking towel, maybe then you will get my attention.

    • Obama Zombie Killer

      Hey Haley… stfu…