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