Model Karlie Kloss has apologized for appearing in yellowface for a photoshoot for Vogue magazine.
In the most recent issue of Vogue magazine, Kloss appears styled in full-out geisha drag — complete with kimonos, black wig, and winged dark black eye liner — and poses alongside pagodas, waterfalls, and even a sumo wrestler. And of course, irony of ironies: this putrid revelry in offensive Orientalism appeared in Vogue‘s “diversity” issue. That issue has already been slammed for the lack of body or skin colour diversity in the seven models chosen to grace its cover; and that’s even before anyone opened the magazine up to the photoshoot featuring Karlie Kloss (pictures after the jump)
I remember seeing this billboard on my first trip to Las Vegas. I was really young — maybe a teenager — and this was long before I became an Asian American feminist and “hacktivist”.
This was during my “Asian-spotting” phase, when seeing Asian things gave me a secret thrill. So I remember this racy billboard as one of the first images greeting me as we rolled onto the Strip, and I recognized myself in it.
But I remember also being confused: why was me, my identity, my Asian-ness being portrayed in this way? What did being Asian have to do with being a naked woman? And, ‘happy ending’? What did that mean?
I’m a little older now, and I can now look back at that moment with equal parts horror and disgust. This — this — was one of my first images of Asian American womanhood; and this is the image of Asian American womanhood that still shapes the self-identity of too many young Asian American women today.