Vogue India recently released its May issue which marks their 10th Anniversary in India. Their Social Media pages were boasted with pictures of the immensely popular, Kendall Jenner on their anniversary Issue cover which was also taken by internationally celebrated photographer, Mario Testino. There were gorgeous pictures of the youngest member of the Kardashian Clan looking absolutely stunning in Jaipur. The poses, the color and even the expressions, everything spoke of the grandeur of the shoot which was exclusively produced for the Indian Edition of Vogue unlike their other international covers which are generally reproduced in multiple countries. Even Indian actors like Katrina Kaif & Sushant Singh Rajput starred in the same issue.
Now rather than being appreciated or applauded for this gorgeous spread, the whole thing retaliated into something completely different. The whole social media space erupted with negative reactions. People from all around the world started firing Vogue India magazine for choosing a white model over an ethnic Indian beauty on their Anniversary cover which boldly stated ‘Indian Affair‘. Kendall again got blanketed under another controversy after the whole ‘Pepsi Ad Campaign’ fiasco.
Though it is not the first time Kendall came under fire for such issues, what surprised me was how I was totally ignorant about the matter until this wildfire spread to media outlets in the country. I never thought of the whole thing in this light until the time came when people started speaking up their take on it. When I first checked out the cover myself, I personally loved it. I love fashion and I love following Kendall for she is one of the most influential celebrities on the planet now. I feel she is a gorgeous young lady and knows how to present herself to her best benefit. But the whole issue with the cover? Well it just blew up on a whole different level.
Now thinking about it, there are more in-built issues inside the matter than it first appears? The first question that came to my mind was: why were people so pissed?
Was it because Vogue India decided to put Kendall on the 50th Anniversary Issue or because Kendall was featured on an Anniversary Issue which spoke of ‘Indian Affair’?
Though this may seem like going too deep, it isn’t an issue as simple as it looks. There are various aspects of the thing. The whole issue was way similar to the one Gigi Hadid faced when she appeared on the First cover of Vogue Arabia. People had questioned the idea of putting a half-dutch-half-Palestinian on the cover of a fashion magazine which could have featured many gorgeous ethnic models to garner attention.
To be honest, being a Gemini that I am I have two totally different takes on the whole issue. One part of me agrees with the majority which says that Vogue India just unnecessarily put Kendall on a 50th Anniversary cover which could have featured any model or celebrity from India which is one of the most culturally richest countries in the world. The magazine which has brought many special editions on celebrating ethnicity around should have better right? Was putting up a white model so important so as to give importance to the already negative view in Indian society about the importance of lighter skin color?
Would a dusky or a brown complexion lady on the cover, given the magazine less popularity among masses?
A country that is home to thousands of beautiful women of varied ethnicity deserved someone way more culturally important for the cover. Whether it was an Indian super model like Ujjwala Raut or Carol Gracias or an Indian actress like Priyanka Chopra or Deepika Padukone, any way it would have been right. They could have also thought of putting a women of substance like politicians, IAS officers and the list goes on. So why a ‘white lady’? The question wasn’t wrong.
But on the other hand, another part of me didn’t see it as too much of an offence. Now thinking on the lines, Kendall is a major face all over the globe at this moment. Any brand who wants to get an instant attention on a global scale, wants her to represent them. So Vogue India must have thought of putting her in order to get a large scale attention world over and not just limit themselves to just Indian audience. Seeing it in this respect, the matters turns completely ordinary. Isn’t branding and marketing over a larger target population a big determinant for fashion industry? or any industry in general at the moment? Also, this isn’t the first time, Vogue India has put an international ‘white lady’ on its anniversary issue cover. Ten years ago, in 2010 Vogue India had done a similar cover with the 90s supermodel icon, Cindy Crawford and named the Issue as an ‘Icon Issue’. At that time, I don’t remember listening any such hooplah over that issue.
This brings us to another issue on the matter, are we as a society becoming more and more intolerant by day? Is it that just because each of us have access to the infinite world of social media, have given ourselves so much power or authority to speak for or against anything and everything. This magazine issue will be forgotten within no time as soon as another new issue pops up; but does that mean this isn’t a bigger issue on the foreground?
No matter how lightly we take this as of now, this will prove to be a bigger problem in the longer time period and also for the future generations. They will have more access, more power, more freedom which can be utilized both positively or negatively as one wants to. I may be personally torn between two different point of views but majority of people still do not use too much of thoughtfulness in these issues. The Mob culture whether used in a good way or bad is growing in a rapid pace and we as an educated part of the society should learn something our elders taught us: ‘To ignore and live in peace’. On a larger scale, if we as a society want to live with peace and integrity, we do need to not use power even when we have it. Here I am not propagandizing that we should remain silent to injustice, but sometimes we do need to have some introspection before shouting in public about any issue. This is the only way we can live and let live: the best philosophy for survival with inner peace.
Do let me know what you guys think about the whole issue in the comment section below.
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Till the Next Time.