For those unfamiliar, the “paper-bag test” was a tactic used by certain African-American social organizations, fraternities and even churches to keep dark-skinned people out. The saying is that if you were darker than a brown paper bag, then you had no place in said organization.
As has been the case for some time, lighter skin was tied to privilege. Sadly, colorism has reared its ugly head again with Vogue’s new “diversity” cover.
The March issue, featuring models Gigi Hadid, Kendall Jenner, Ashley Graham, Vittoria Ceretti, Imaan Hammam, Adwoa Aboah and Liu Wen is indeed a turn from the fashion bible’s usual celebrities, but if they are “celebrating the modern American woman” as they claim, the mark was missed.
First of all, everyone is white, pink, peaches and cream, olive or perhaps tan. Secondly, as plus-size model Ashley Graham notes, “Sixty-seven percent of the women in America wear a size 14 or larger ... ,” so I guess she reps for ALL of them. Yet the magazine was accused of altering Hadid’s hand in the photo to cover up Graham’s stomach (Graham denies this).
Social media weighs in:
But then again, this is Vogue. There is a big girl and several women of color on the glossy. Progress?