Monday, September 24, 2007

Iman "Tigress" ad from 1977

via Gawker

This ad is intriguing to me for a couple reasons. First because, it's Iman. Who doesn't want to look at her all day? Second, because in spite of her incredible beauty and grace, this is so horribly styled, even by 1977 standards. If they were going for the "looks like she was just attacked by a tiger" look then I suppose they succeeded but really, why the bed head? This doesn't say wild and sexy to me, it says just rolled out of bed, a bed which just happens to be a bus terminal. Also, Tigress? I've read that many Black models complain that the fashion machine exploits race, using images of Black women as a negative construction. Instead of being presented as the beautiful women they are, they are instead presented as animalistic and exotic, something other than beautiful. Lastly, the ad immediately made me think of Duran Duran's "Hungry Like the Wolf" video.

Now, to be perfectly honest, I freaking loved that video when I was a preteen. I lived, breathed and dreamed Duran Duran and when I first saw that video, I was floored. I mean, it had an honest to God dark skinned Black woman in it and she got to kiss Simon Le Bon. I so wanted to be her. It's so funny how once just accepts things at face value when one is a child. Thinking about that video now sorta makes me cringe.


aulelia said...

this is a good post. Iman has come a long way. I do agree that black models are exploited because of their race. I think that is because race will always be an issue in fashion -- i saw your comment on i like her style about vogue india and that just shows how it still is a problem.

i can't bring myself to watch the duran duran video yet...but i will.

FemmeNoire said...

Thanks for all the nice comments on my blog.

As for Vogue India, I'm still a little shocked by that cover. If they wanted to put a famous face on the cover to move issues, why not Aishwarya Rai. She at least is pretty and very recognizable internationally.

Femigog said...

WoW! I LOVED Duran Duran and I thought that video was great when I was in my teens because a black woman was in it too! As I grown up and learned the world I realize that the programming begins damn near in-utero for us. I see the reinforcement of this exotic, primal aspect of the black female in magazines like Essence.
Great post

Elle Woods said...


etoilee8 said...

This post cracked me up. That crap about black women being exotic is nuts. I guess part of us does just accept it (whether or not we should). When I lived in the UK, I got so sick of guys telling me things like "you're so exotic, what's your origin". One night, I was out at a bar and I had had enough, I finally shouted to this guy "well let's see, my mum's black and my dad's black so that would make me. . . BLACK". My best friend Matthew nearly pissed his pants laughing.