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Diet Prada calls out problematic Vogue covers, including one featuring Deepika Padukone

"Actresses of color like Adesua Etomi and Deepika Padukone were pushed to the side, serving more as props for white actresses like Scarlett Johansson and Vanessa Kirby."

By: Lifestyle Desk | New Delhi | Published: June 17, 2020 9:40:32 pm
Diet Prada, American Vogue, Vogue, cultural appropriation, racism, Vogue covers, Deepika Padukone Vogue, fashion news, Indian Express, Indian Express Lifestyle, Indian Express news Diet Prada pointed out that being a woman of colour, Padukone has been used as a prop on the cover. (Photo: Deepika Padukone/Instagram)

Around the world when racism and cultural appropriation is being called out on the regular, Diet Prada — which is an Instagram account that acts as a fashion watchdog — has called out the American Vogue for perpetuating racism, sexism, and other such ‘problematic’ things in some of its old covers.

One of the covers, dating April 2019, has particularly drawn many people’s attention and ire, because it features Bollywood actress Deepika Padukone, along with actresses Scarlett Johansson and Doona Bae. Diet Prada notes that what should have been a “celebration of global talent”, was problematic in many ways. “The issue championed the new center, which is everywhere and nowhere at once. Despite Vogue’s intentions, it was glaringly obvious that in this new center, white women were still at its center. Actresses of color like Adesua Etomi and Deepika Padukone were pushed to the side, serving more as props for white actresses like Scarlett Johansson and Vanessa Kirby,” it wrote along with the accompanying picture of the cover.

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The post includes a collection of other such covers, including one of basketball star Lebron James — the first African-American man to feature on the cover of Vogue — with model Giselle Bundchen. Shot by Annie Leibovitz, the photograph is suggestive of an American war propaganda picture from 1917, featuring a gorilla carrying a white woman, with the words: “Destroy This Mad Brute”. “In a modern context, it embodies hugely problematic tropes comparing Black people to primates…,” the post reads.

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Then, there is also a picture of Kardashian half-sister and model Kendall Jenner, wearing her hair in an afro hairstyle. Diet Prada — which inspired an Indian version called Diet Sabya — points out that they could have shot with actual black models with afro hair, instead.

American Vogue is published by Conde Nast, which is “under continued scrutiny”, for its internal behaviours towards its black employees. In the wake of the recent protests against the killing of black people in the US and around the world, there is a lot of discussion and debate about what needs to be done to safeguard lives, and end race-based crimes and systemic attacks.

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