Wednesday, June 19, 2024

Victoria’s Secret: Runway Show Sparks Natural-Hair Debate with Asian vs. Black Women

asian models

*Victoria’s Secret held its annual fashion show last month, and it included an impressive number of Asian women: Ming Xi, Sui He, Xiao Wen Ju and Liu Wen ― all Chinese supermodels with massive Instagram followings. No Asian model had walked the VS runway until 2009, according to Yahoo Style.

There was also an unprecedented number of black models in the show this year. Out of the 54 models who strutted down the Paris runway, four were black, including Maria Borges. She made history as the first black Victoria’s Secret model to hit the runway with her natural hair. This year she was joined by three more models rocking their natural locks.

Some may call this drizzle of diversity in the VS Fashion Show progress, others are questioning why the black models were allowed to rock their natural hair, while the Asians models were not.

PopSugar ignited this debate after the release a video addressing the underrepresentation of natural hair among the Asian models walking in the show. The entertainment and fashion site posted a video on its Facebook page titled Why Aren’t Asian Models Included in Victoria’s Secret’s Natural-Hair Revolution?

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fashio show 2016

The video starts by explaining how Victoria’s Secret pledged to include natural hair in this year’s runway show, but much of the attention was centered on the four black models. The narrator asks why the Asian models were not also given the chance to rock their natural hair texture. The video/narrator concludes that this is another example of how Asians are left out of the conversations around race, per The Root.

The entertainment news sites notes that, “the glaring issue with this video is that that it grouped Asians as a monolith and seemed to be pitting their hardships against those of black women.” A caption on the video reads, “ … especially when other women of color are being celebrated for rocking their natural beauty.”

The Asian models walked the runway with heat-styled loose curls, similar to the “white angels.” The video critique of this hair-styling has received over one million views and a slew of criticism, primarily for assuming that there is one natural-hair type for all Asians. The most glaring critique is for “comparing the natural-hair stigma for black women to the seemingly nonexistent stigma against Asian hair.”

Many of the comments under the video were from Asian women who criticized the video for minimizing the struggles of black women in order to make an issue of out something that’s not an issue for them, as noted in the screenshot of the two comments below.

In an interview with Refinery29, the head stylist for VS confirmed that the company allowed all models to decide how to style their hair for this year’s runway show.

asian hair backlash

asian hair backlash


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