It’s 2017, can beauty bloggers let blackface go please

We are literally begging at this point

In the age of being woke and greater cultural awareness, it might seem unthinkable that people are still using blackface. But, they are and it’s seriously tragic.

We all know that beauty bloggers love to get creative. In attempts to go above and beyond the usual cat eye, we’ve seen Picasso paintings drawn on eyelids, celebrity transformations and even full on scary af Walking Dead zombies. But, certain beauty bloggers have turned to the racist and outdated practice of blackface “to show their skills”.

It’s nothing short of pure irony that they have gone back a century to keep themselves ahead of the crowd. Now, rather than appearing as innovative creatives, they’re alienating and offending people of colour and showing themselves to be complete idiots.

“But I didn’t know blackface was a thing”

Given the amount of SJWs clogging up our Twitter feeds, it’s just not acceptable to feign naivety when it comes to blackface. But Vika Shapel tried just that when she created “The Chocolate Challenge”. She painted half of the faces of her models brown, changed their eye colour, curled their hair and basically created full blown minstrels.

When questioned by Yahoo Beauty after facing huge backlash, she admitted that she “wasn’t aware of the whole black-face concept before people began commenting it on the photo.”

It would only have taken two seconds to look at the experiences of the black women she was keen to portray and realise that morphing white models into one of them might be highly inappropriate to say the least. It’s right to see people complain at ill-thought posts such as these, ignorance is no longer acceptable. There is too much historical pain to allow this resurgence to go unnoticed.

The history of blackface is a stain on western culture

Since the nineteenth century, blackface worked as a method of demeaning and mocking black people across TV and film for decades. To ignore it’s historical significance is ignorant in this day and age. Blackface has never been cool and never will. But, for some people the message still doesn’t seem to ring loud and clear.

And no you can’t use “art” as an excuse

When PaintDatFace came under fire for transforming a pale blue-eyed blonde into a brown- eyed dark skinned woman, he already had an excuse prepared. He knew exactly what he was doing. In an Instagram post he said: “I can’t offer an apology for my artwork and for what I find to be beautiful.

“The transformation came from a place of love and was not about mocking one’s race, but rather about celebrating it.”

He was so concerned with celebrating other races and cultures that he couldn’t be bothered to find an actual black woman to use instead. He also said that his “intentions were to keep the look vague enough to be relatable to many women of different cultures.”

Of course, a white woman dressed as one of them is highly relatable to women of colour everywhere. We’re almost grateful for his wondrous insight. Annoyingly, behind his facade as an ‘artist’, PaintDatFace was able to pass off his own casual racism and even be forgiven by many loyal fans. Plus, it’s all fine because the next model he posted was black. Give me a break.

These images have damaging repercussions

The problem is that regardless of bloggers’ intentions they have not appreciated black beauty, but rather presented black beauty in their own image. Their imaginary black woman is beautiful because she has been presented in the image of a white woman with a button nose to finish it off.

It doesn’t take a genius to see how damaging these ideas are for black women. In countries in Africa and the Caribbean bleaching is becoming a mainstream practice despite its damaging effect on health. Black women believe they must bleach their skin to reach white ideals of beauty. What may be seen as harmless fun to the unaffected, reinforces the belief amongst black women that they are inferior to the Eurocentric type of beauty.

Get with the times

The fact of the matter is that it’s not 1917, it’s 2017. Black models are not hard to come by, ignorance is not bliss and blackface should be left amongst a pile of things in Western history to be ashamed of.

We are sure you can find more impressive ways to get creative than pouring the darkest Maybelline foundation across a white face.

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University of Warwick