Posts tagged race
Posts tagged race
(Excerpt from the blog post linked above.)
Diversity is one of the most important subjects in the lingerie industry to me right now, and yet I’m scared to talk about it.
This fear didn’t happen overnight. In fact, I don’t think I even realized it was happening at all until I started writing this post. Nevertheless, when I look back over some of what’s happened the past year, I began to see how and when and why I let myself get here. There wasn’t one major, disruptive event. No, it was a series of tiny occurrences, of small happenings that gradually undermined my resolve to be that person who talks about diversity.
My conception of diversity is a broad one. It goes beyond dress size or bra size or “curviness,” and includes greater representation of older women, trans* women, women with disabilities, women of color (including biracial women), women with muscular/athletic body types, and plus sized women (I’m thinking especially of women who wear larger than a size 16US or so). In short, it includes those women who are all too often marginalized, neglected, or outright ignored in almost every conversation about lingerie.
Because my perspective on diversity differs from what’s popular right now, the responses I’ve gotten have also differed from the norm. In the past year, I’ve been called “angry,” “aggressive,” and asked to stop making people “uncomfortable” for writing about diversity. I’ve been told that being black is just like being goth, having stretch marks, having broad shoulders, having large breasts, having small breasts, having tattoos, or having piercings. I’ve been told that my blog “harms women” because it focuses on issues other than bra fit. I’ve been accused of “crying racism” for talking about cultural appropriation and of “ignoring important issues” for writing about ethnic stereotypes. I’ve been told I talk about diversity “too much”, and I’ve been called “nonsensical,” “dumb,” “dogmatic,” and “disappointing” for having the audacity to suggest that the conversation on diversity is at least as important as the one on bra fit. And those are just the public remarks made in my own comments section, on Twitter, and on lingerie forums from other lingerie bloggers, lingerie brands, and lingerie enthusiasts. If I started talking about the angry ALL CAPS messages I’ve received in my inbox, we’d be here all day. But all that together makes me to wonder…if one post on diversity every once in awhile is enough to elicit that kind of response, what would happen if I dared write more?
I’m not saying all this because I want sympathy. I’m saying it because I think it’s important to understand that there can be a very real, very distressing penalty for daring to talk about a version of diversity that includes race or gender or sexuality…a penalty that is nonexistent for other, more popular issues. When you’re a member of a minority group, you’re not only slighted by that initial lack of representation, you’re also marginalized again and again by all the people who communicate, via words and actions, that “more diversity” doesn’t really apply to people like you. When a website is unafraid to publicly say that issues affecting you aren’t “real issues,” it affects you. When a brand insists that other types of representation are more important than representation which applies to you, it affects you. When a blogger tells you that it’s okay to feel strongly about one type of diversity, but that it’s inappropriate or “upsetting” to have similarly strong feelings about other kinds, it affects you. And the ironic thing is that you become hesitant to even bring up this issue, because the very act of admitting that there’s a problem is a problem in and of itself.
via: Obesity Timebomb
Yesterday’s blog post was picked up on Jezebel!
You can find it here - http://jezebel.com/5942368/what-its-like-to-be-a-woman-of-color-in-the-lingerie-industry
Thank you to Racialicious for sharing this.
“Though I’ve talked some about equal representation within the lingerie industry, I haven’t written about this exact issue before because talking about race in America is hard. And I think it’s even harder when you’re a racial minority. As a person of color, you often feel like you’re caught in a perpetual Catch-22. You can either avoid talking about your ethnicity (which effectively means pretending like it doesn’t matter) or you can talk about it openly and deal with the blowback, which often includes stinging accusations like “crying racism.”
“The reason I’m bringing this up now is because, over the last year or so, I’ve watched the conversation on diversity shrink from one that was more inclusive of all women to one that only seems relevant to fuller-busted or fuller-figured women. I’ve seen so many articles and comments and blogs focusing on dress size and bra size and cup size, but next to none talking about other, equally important, issues like age, ability or, yes, ethnicity.
“In a way, I understand why. People tend to talk more about issues which personally affect them, and, since the lingerie blogosphere is primarily made up of full bust and plus size bloggers, that viewpoint has become the dominant one. Unfortunately, a consequence of that is issues whicharen’t related to size keep getting pushed further and further down the priority list in the general lingerie conversation.
“But the sad truth is I can go weeks at a time without coming across a nice photo of a woman of color in lingerie. And if we’re talking older women or disabled women, it can be months. The same simply isn’t true for fuller-figured or fuller-busted women.
“We live in a world where children as young as 5 have already internalized the message that black is ugly and white is pretty. We live in a world where fashion magazines regularly lighten the skin of women of color. We live in a world where, when asked why they didn’t use more models of color, brands respond with, “Well, we couldn’t find any good ones.”
“Even worse, we live in a world where women of color are afraid of bringing up these issues lest we be dismissed by the very industry we seek to be a part of.
“In my own life, I’ve been told that I’m “pretty for a dark skinned girl.” I’ve been told that I’m “too dark to date.” I’ve been told that I’d be prettier if only I was “less black.” And though I think we can all agree that there is something seriously wrong with those kinds of statements, that messaging is constantly being reinforced by the industry at large.
“It’s reinforced every time a lingerie company refuses to cast, or even consider, a model of color. It’s reinforced every time a lingerie brand is praised and awarded for their diversity in using fuller-figured women, but gets no comments at all on the fact their models that look the same in every other respect. It’s reinforced every time I get a snippy remark from someone who insists I don’t know what it’s like to be ignored by the lingerie industry because I happen to wear a C cup.
“And I think what bothers me most of all is that I get so many messages from the plus sized and fuller figured blogging community insisting I need to do more for women “who look like them” (which I try to do), yet there’s no such passion about doing more for women like me (or like some of you) . We all crave seeing people resemble us. And it makes me sad that the “us” in this discussion has somehow become so one-sided.”