Thursday, April 10, 2008
Are Gay Men to Blame for Racism/Sexism in Fashion?
Honestly, because I have no idea. But I hear and read this opinion all the time. It breaks down like this:
Gay men run the fashion industry.
Gay men secretly hate women.
Gay men are responsible for the racism and sexism in the fashion world and only want to work with models who look like fuckable androgynous boys.
I find it interesting that opinions like these bandied about like the gospel. I don't recall ever reading them challenged.
Now, I don't doubt for a moment that gay men have a strong foothold in the industry. The overwhelming majority of bold face designers as gay white men. And I'm not so naive as to believe that just because someone is homosexual and may have suffered bigotry because of it, that that person is automatically free of any racist notions.
I just wonder if this blanket statement is really true?
Part of me believes that it is yet another attempt by fashion magazine editors (who are overwhelmingly white and female) to shift the blame. Like when they claim that there just aren't any ethnic models at agencies or that the bookers never send them over for a shoot when they are looking for a fresh face.
It reads to me like the myth that if a black person is on a magazine cover, it will be the lowest selling issue of the year.
It makes me laugh to envision a scenario where Vogue's Anna Wintour is battling in her plush office for hours with Andre Leon Talley, just begging him to let her put a size 6 model (or actress more realistically) on the cover. It just doesn't ring true for me.
On the flip side I am convinced that she was more than a little reluctant to put full figured Jennifer Hudson and believe that the Dreamgirls star would never have made it if it wasn't for a certain 6'6" gay black man.
Wintour's passive aggressive side showed through however when Hudson's ill chosen gaping mouth photo was picked for the cover (which incidentally, was neither the worst or best seller of the year.)
Lastly, nothing will convince me that any gay man worth his salt would champion slack jawed yokle model Agyness Deyn because she looks like a hot dude. To me, the chick doesn't look fuckable to anyone.
I read somewhere once that true fashion magazine editors just don't care about making the names and faces they promote accessible, they just care about their own exclusive world in which everyone is whiter, richer, thinner (and slightly more miserable in my estimation) than YOU.
I mean, it's not like they're eating anything either.
So what do you think, who is to blame. Is it really all about the gay men in fashion?