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Is there anything wrong with this magazine cover?

Posted - December 20, 2019


  • 76
    It’s not designed to open a conversation about cultural appropriation but rather her attempt to get as much attention (a/k/a publicity) as possible.  
      December 20, 2019 4:46 PM MST

  • 21383
    It is the cover of a magazine so yes the point is to get attention. 

    Others are critizing her claiming she is doing black face and cultural appropriation.
      December 20, 2019 4:51 PM MST

  • 76
    She and her husband know what to do in order to get the publicity they want. 
      December 20, 2019 5:01 PM MST

  • 33169

     1) Personally, what I find wrong with it is that it would never capture my interest. That’s all. 

     2) At first glance, I thought it was some dude in drag. Ru-Paul or someone like that. See #1 above. 

      December 20, 2019 7:51 PM MST

  • 3722
    I completely agree with both 1 & 2. From the picture I def thought the post was going to be something about being transgender! 

    I wouldn't be at all surprised if KKW becomes the first female president. Sadly, I'm not even joking...
      December 20, 2019 8:21 PM MST

  • 21383
    Knowing that she is not a black woman, do you have any issues with it? 
      December 21, 2019 4:49 AM MST

  • 33169

      There’s nothing about the entire topic I find interesting enough to even  comment on. I appreciate the fact that you have introduced an opportunity for any of us to engage in a meaningful conversation about it, I will have to decline. Sorry. 
      December 21, 2019 8:02 AM MST

  • 21383
    Fair enough.
      December 21, 2019 8:47 AM MST

  • 1175
    I will whip out my favorite answer to questions like this: It's complicated.

    I think it is almost inarguable that KKW and the art directors are trying to invoke images of other African-American celebrities. When I look at the picture, I think of pictures I've seen of Diana Ross, Tina Turner, or Pam Grier.

    Now, for some history and context. There is a long legacy of places where Europeans invaded/colonized/subjugated other cultures and ethnicities that looking/dressing/speaking/behaving like the European dominators becomes the cultural ideal, because the Europeans and their descendants are the people with wealth, power, and social status. This can be seen quite clearly to this day in Latin America (cf. Bolivia's Evo Morales and the recent coup to overthrow him), but is common in many places.

    This phenomenon even extends to beauty standards. In places where Europeans come to dominate people who look very non-European, it's the European-looking people who appear on magazine covers, on TV shows, acting in movies, etc.

    So that's one context informing people's reactions to the KKW picture.

    Another is the long history of American mass media culture playing fast and loose with race and ethnicity and who gets to portray whom in visual media.  Actress Rita Moreno (who is Puerto Rican by birth) made a career out of playing "ethnic" roles, playing everything from Pacific Islanders to African-American characters. In recent years, there has been controversy over movies like "Ghost in the Shell", where Scarlett Johanson played a nominally Japanese character, and the movie "Aloha" where white-as-a-roll-of-Charmin Emma Stone was cast as part-Chinese part-Native-Hawaiian character.

    The obvious question some ask is, if a movie or TV show or other visual media has a Pacific Islander character, or a Japanese character, or a Native American character, why don't the producers hire someone of that ethnic heritage to play those roles? Why the force-feeding of "white" actors or models into those roles?

    Finally, the purpose of most visual presentations like the controversial KKW photo is to sell the consuming audience the idea that the portrayal represents a beauty ideal to which the viewer should aspire. Of course, very few women look like KKW when she's photographed with perfect camera angles, perfect makeup, perfect hair, perfect lighting, and perfect Photoshopping to eliminate any visual flaw that makes it through all the other perfecting processes. Such presentations are made to make the audience feel bad that they don't look like the ideal, so that they will consider purchasing the products of the many advertisers who are sponsoring the visual presentation. The implied message is "You, too, could look like this, if you'd only by the products we're trying to sell you."

    Given that notion of such images presented as a beauty ideal, and the history of beauty ideals being Euro-centric,and the history of having ethnic Europeans being used to portray "ethnic" characters, I can see where people would object to the KKW picture.

    Their reaction might be along the lines of, "Wait a minute. All this time you've been selling us on the idea that European-looking people are the beauty ideal and that people (esp. women) with African features are 'a bunch of nappy-headed hos." So, not only are you suddenly flipping the script and selling Africanesqe features as a beauty ideal, but you're using someone who isn't of African background to do it?  WTF?!?!?!"

    Are the terms "cultural appropriation" and "blackface" appropriate descriptors for what is occurring here? I'm not certain. It depends upon how you define those words. But is there something at least a little sketchy going on with this presentation? I think there's a good case to be made.

      December 20, 2019 9:54 PM MST

  • 9866
    Yes. The difference between a Cardassian and a Kardashian is that one is hideously ugly, the other is a fictitious species on Star Trek.
      December 20, 2019 11:41 PM MST

  • 1175
    Good one!

    Have a root beer...

      December 21, 2019 7:21 AM MST

  • 6999
    She looks like she is sitting on a toilet. 
      December 21, 2019 11:50 AM MST