Vogue’s March 2017 magazine was supposed to feature diversity, but the Twitter users across the world have criticized issue for dropping the ball in a very real way. While the cover featured the unconventional beauty Ashley Graham (a move that, by the way, still garnered criticism for the inaccurate portrayal of her body) the inside of the magazine has been put under fire for its thematic inconsistencies.
Karlie for Vogue US – March 2017 pic.twitter.com/Pbo9rssT8p
— bestkkpics (@bestkkpics) February 14, 2017
For example, Asian models Imaan Hammam and Liu Wen were only present in one photo each, while the European Karlie Kloss was dressed like a geisha in a six page spread. Fans were less than thrilled about it, and dragged both Kloss and the Vogue team for their decisions.
They put Karlie Kloss in a Geisha in a Vogue DIVERSITY Issue… No one at Vogue thought this was a bad idea? Lol ok
— Philipp Raheem (@PhilippRaheem) February 15, 2017
Besides being inconsistent with the idea of “diversity,” the spread also brought to light an issue that has been historically prevalent in Hollywood: the portrayal of non-white characters by white actors, otherwise known as whitewashing. In recent years, other stars have also been attacked on the internet for participating in whitewashing, such as Emma Stone for her role as Allison Ng in Aloha (2015) and Scarlett Johansen for playing Major Motoko Kusanagi in the upcoming Ghost in the Shell movie.
Emma Stone, Scarlett Johansson, and Tilda Swinton turn to Karlie Kloss. "Your turn, girl."
Karlie on phone: "Hello, Vogue? Make me Asian." pic.twitter.com/zgUWIB022Q
— Ira Madison III (@ira) February 14, 2017
An alternate term for the phenomenon is ‘yellow-face,’ which is when white actors and actresses’ physical features are accentuated in a way that makes them mimic those of Asian descent.
Although many are arguing that it is not Kloss’s fault directly and that the blame should be shifted to the Vogue team, others cannot help but acknowledge the role she played in accepting the photoshoot as it was.
there are approx. 130 million japanese ppl on earth but vogue rly called karlie kloss for this and she rly did it pic.twitter.com/cwJLJZ4iOH
— v (@vandanaiscool) February 15, 2017
Kloss has since released an apology on her own Twitter, in which she apologizes for “participating in a shoot that was not culturally sensitive.”
— Karlie Kloss (@karliekloss) February 15, 2017
However, many are still reluctant to let her off the hook, since they believe she does not understand the consequences of her actions.