Hey Vogue, ever heard of a little thing cultural appropriation? Because that’s what you’ve officially just endorsed.
On Wednesday, Vogue.com released an article called “Why Updos and Gold Hoops Are the Ultimate Cool-Girl Summer Pairing” describing the latest look of ponytails and gold hoop earrings. The problem? That they gave credit to mainly white models for being the trendsetters, calling out Emily Ratajkowski, Taylor Hill, Bella Hadid, and more for inspiring the style. They said that the “bigger gold hoops the better.”
Let’s be clear here: white girls did not invent this look. This style, especially the large gold hoop earrings part, is something that has been culturally appropriated from Latinas who were told they were “too ghetto” when they wore them. So to imply that these white women are bringing this style to the forefront is not only wrong, it’s culturally insensitive.
The thing is, this has been an issue for a while. Earlier this year, students at Pitzer college created a mural which read, “White girls, take off your hoops!” A member of the Latinx Student Union, Alegria Martinez, later explained to the student newspaper why it’s so insulting that white women insist on stealing the look and her answer was on-point:
“The black and brown bodies who typically wear hooped earrings, (and other accessories like winged eyeliner, gold name plate necklaces, etc) are typically viewed as ghetto and are not taken seriously by others in their daily lives. Because of this, I see our winged eyeliner, lined lips, and big hoop earrings serving as symbols [and] as an everyday act of resistance, especially here at the Claremont Colleges. Meanwhile we wonder, why should white girls be able to take part in this culture (wearing hoop earrings just being one case of it) and be seen as cute/aesthetic/ethnic. White people have actually exploited the culture and made it into fashion.”
Still don’t get it? Try watching an episode of Broad City, where Ilana consistently wears big gold hoop earrings with the word “Latina” on them. In one episode, her roommate Jaime, who is Venezuelan, points out her cultural appropriation. He tells her,
“There’s something you do that I see a lot of white people do. And it’s kinda like cultural appropriation. Like, for example, you know those earrings that you have that say “Latina”? They look beautiful on you. But you’re not Latina, mi amor. It’s almost like you’re stealing the identity from people who fought hard for against colonial structures, So, in a way, it’s almost like you are the colonists. You see?”
But, to me, what Vogue has done is worst. They see the cultural appropriation and call it out as something good, something that should be emulated. And it’s not even the first time they’ve done this. Just in the last year alone, the magazine has put Gigi Hadid in a hijab on the cover of Vogue Arabia and put Karlie Kloss in yellow face for a fashion spread. Perhaps it’s time Vogue gets some new management.
Lena Finkel is the Editor and Founder of Femestella. Prior to starting Femestella, she worked at People, InStyle, and Tiger Beat. Her favorite Housewife is Bethenny Frankel (by far!), but when she’s not watching RHONY, you can probably find her hanging with her kitty Tom or tweeting at Sen. Chuck Schumer.