Deep Tan, Deep Trouble

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Talk about brown-skinned lady. Just the other day, I was out shopping with Kurly Bella when we saw this photo in the window of H&M. There she was... this model with really bronze, glowing skin. " Whoa! She makes me feel pale, " I said.  And here is where we have a problem. 

H&M is in hot water for featuring what many are describing as a tanoxeric model in their ads.  The model in question is Brazilian bombshell Isabelli Fontana who is normally more vanilla than caramel. Let me tell you: she appears even darker when you see the in-store version in person. I literally put my arm up to hers and was blown away by how much browner her skin is compared to mine. 

The clothing giant has issued an apology saying "We are sorry if we have upset anyone with our latest swimwear campaign. It was not our intention to show off a specific ideal or to encourage dangerous behaviour, but was instead to show off our latest summer collection."

Here's my frustration:  While I am bothered by the fact that her incredibly bronze body may promote unhealthy ideas about tanning, I am more annoyed that H&M didn't just use a model who's complexion is already naturally this dark. A spokeswoman for H&M told Swiss newspaper 20 Minuten "Mit dieser Sommerkampagne wollen wir unsere neue Swimwear-Kollektion zeigen, die mit ihren kräftigen Farben und starken Prints im Vordergrund steht. Dafür ist die Wahl des Kampagnen-Models auf Isabeli Fontana gefallen, die als Brasilianerin von Natur aus eine dunklere Haut als europäische Frauen hat." My German is a little rusty, but basically the company is saying that because of the model's Brazilian heritage and "her naturally darker skin" the bright colors and patterns look better than on a European model.

This is a load of crap! She is  not normally this tan!  There are plenty of women of color who have the measurements and beauty who could have rocked this campaign.  Why not use them?  I wish I could say this is an isolated incident, but I think many of us are used to seeing overly tan models in swimwear campaigns.  But by no means does that mean this is acceptable. H&M, I love your clothes and appreciate the affordability, but you've got to do better. If you like naturally dark skin, there's nothing better than the real thing. 



Jullianna B said...

Great post, like always! I am very much impressed with your work..

Miz B said...

I concur! Unfortunately they only want to use SOME of our attributes, such as dark skin-by way of tanning and full lips-by way of injection.

Ayesha said...

I totally agree with Miz B - its like they want all of the features that for centuries they have critized