A Pakistani designer is finding herself in as much immediate trouble as that of someone who knocks down a hornets nest with a big stick…but doesn’t even attempt to run away. And the reason why is beyond absurd.
According to The Huffington Post, Aamna Aqeel, thought it would be a good idea to do an editorial photo shoot entitled “Be My Slave.”
In the spread, which was published in Diva magazine, a white model, wearing Ageel designs, is seen with what appears to be a little dark complected boy that is dressed up as a SLAVE. And the little boy is catering to the white woman in the pictures. Being that the shoot was called “Be My Slave” we are sure that our eyes are not deceiving us, and this is exactly what it looks like.
We frankly were shocked by any model, photographer or magazine who would lend their credibility to this spread at all. That is to say nothing of the parent that would allow for their child to be used in such a way.
The International Herald Tribune’s Salima Feerasta asked Aqueel about the spread and the answers were troubling at best.
Says Feerasta of Aqueel;
“Aqueel denied any intention of racism in the story. In fact, the designer’s aim was to shed light on the issue of child labor. She allegedly claimed that the dark-skinned Baloch child was incidental.”
Aqueel Said of the little boy;
“He works in a garage and wanted some work.”
Says Feerasta of Aqueel’s reasoning;
“Aqueel’s reasoning doesn’t add up and her message fails for many reasons.”
The only thing worse than some one being blatantly racist, is someone being blatantly racist and then saying that they weren’t. If you are going to do it, own it. Be honest about what you are doing. Now, it’s entirely possible that the intent here was not malicious. However, the problem with that is, sometimes, it’s not what you meant by what you’ve said, but the way it’s received that is the issue. You, as the communicator, are responsible for that transaction so you must own it.
Maybe it will take people not dealing with this designer for her to finally understand there are consequences to these actions, or at least there should be. And with so many different designers all around the world, people can chose to deal with labels that do not think it’s cool to have photo spreads like the one in the pictures below.
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