It’s no secret that cultural appropriation in fashion is a huge conversation at the moment. This time, it’s actress Jennifer Lawrence and Dior, the French fashion house for whom she is an ambassador, taking the heat. The backlash stems from the brand’s latest ad campaign, which starred Lawrence dressed in a series of outfits inspired by Mexican escaramuzas, or equestrians, and a novel by Chilean author Isabel Allende. It wasn’t long before individuals on social media pointed out the irony of “celebrating” Mexican culture in the guise of a white woman. One of the more vocal critics of the campaign was 2 Dope Queens actress Phoebe Robinson, who shared her thoughts via Instagram. That “the audacity to call this…modern because it’s worn by a white woman is ignorant and gross."“ Her sentiments are reflected in the comments and outcries of thousands more. While Dior has yet to comment publicly about the matter, the controversy certainly does cast a spotlight on “white feminism”— or the empowerment and celebration of white women at the expense of minority women— in mass media.
For Further Reading
In the midst of Dior’s controversy, a landmark number of women were elected to the United States Congress. Two of them were Muslim women, an absolute minority in Congress. Read this dissection of whether or not their voices will be heard on the overwhelmingly white Hill.
Who do you think is “responsible” for something like the Dior campaign? Do we trace it back to the designer, who created the concept? The photographer? Stylist? Lawrence herself? What can we do to make sure people in similar positions make different choices going forward?
Take steps to ensure that your feminism is inclusive of women from all backgrounds and walks of life— and encourage those around you to do the same.