It was so good of you to finally get in touch. I know some people think I might have taken things a bit personally about your recent tweet:
We love nude, champagne tones paired with a dark smokey eye – how about you? What style are you loving right now? pic.twitter.com/W4UW8wnZDb
See, truth be told, I never know when to shut up and when I see something that’s unfair, even if it’s not unfair to me, I have to say something. And it was the use of that word ‘nude’.
I’ve spoken about there sorts of issues before on this blog and recently got into a chat on Twitter with the Media Diversity crowd about it and this is a bit of an issue.
Using words like ‘nude’ and ‘natural’ and ‘flesh’ to be synonymous with tones which you only find in the ‘white’ sections of society is fundamentally racist. It implies that any other skin tone is not ‘natural’ or ‘flesh’ or shouldn’t be associated with someone who is ‘nude’. And while using them isn’t a sign of overt racism, it’s a sign of blind acceptance of white privilege, something that the fashion media are notoriously bad at, it has to be said. Which is a real shame, because after the international and sustained success of models like Naomi Campbell and Agbani Darego, you think that they would have learned by now that beauty comes in more than one colour, even if it’s still being convinced to strive towards one body type.
Your tweet didn’t offend me on my own behalf, ELF, but it reminds me of my own white privilege and I am trying really hard to remember that these things I have been told by society, such as the correlation between ‘nude/natural’ and a pale beige colour tone, aren’t inclusive of everyone. In fact, they’re only inclusive of white people. And this has got to stop.
What shocked me so much was that you’re normally so GOOD about this sort of thing! For years I have happily been buying my ‘Apricot Beige’ products from you, knowing that you meant them to match my relatively pale skin tone, and I’ve never seen any use of the words natural, nude or flesh in your tonal descriptions. I’ve recommended you on my blog, promoted you online and never once thought that you’d stumble into this trap of unintentional but privileged racism. I expect better from you because you’ve always been better than that. To the point where I had assumed it was your policy to avoid these words.
I’m sorry, but I had to protest at. If the entire world sat silent in this type of situation, we would never challenge any stereotypes or make any progress. And it was nice to get a response from you:
@projectshandy Hi Kate, we’re so sorry if this tweet has caused offense, it was never our intention 🙂
I never thought that you would intend to cause offence. But friends tell friends when they’ve done bad and expect better. I mean, you deliver all over the world, there is no way that you only have white customers.
Call it what it is. Beige. Champagne. Cream. Stone. Sandy. But please – don’t call it nude, or natural, or flesh. That isn’t true for all of your customers, after all.*[Got something to say? Submit to Project Shandy]*