Has Marie Claire ‘White Washed’ Kerry Washington?

If you aren’t familiar with the term ‘white washing’ it means when brands lighten images of black and mixed race women and/or change their features for a more ‘westernised’ look. This is evident everyday on bill boards, magazine covers, film posters even adds for makeup. Why get a women of colour to represent your beauty brand, to show you have a broad spectrum of shades presumably, then white wash her in the advert?

I do have a very low opinion of this anyway but when I received this months issue (June) of Marie Claire it really annoyed me. At a quick first glance I thought “Oh that women looks similar to Kerry Washington” That’s how different I think she looks on this cover – I didn’t recognise it was actually her. They have changed her skin tone to more of a golden hue, squared off her jaw for some reason and narrowed her lips so much that they are a totally different shape!

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I remember when I first watched Washington in Scandal and I thought it was fantastic that the makeup artist had outlinned and definned the natural shape of her pout and made a real feature of it. I know Washington is light-medium skinned rather than very dark but she doesn’t normally look like a white person who’s been working on their tan! There also seems to be a surprising amount digital noise in certain parts of the photograph, which usually indicates a large amount of alterations. I’m wondering the following.

  1. Is this yet another case of white washing?
  2. Is this the “Only average sized features are pretty so let’s make EVERYONE look the same!” train of thought?
  3. Is it this the “Let’s contour the heck out of her face using light and dark – oh we’ve gone a bit far – better do the same with her body so it matches” mistake?

I wonder what Washington thinks of the cover?

What do you think? Do you heavily photoshop pictures of yourself? I tried it once but my mate asked “What’s the point, it’s hardly like you have three eyes or something anyway?” and my Mum was sort of disturbed by the fact that I didn’t look like her daughter anymore.

Chrissie xx

6 thoughts on “Has Marie Claire ‘White Washed’ Kerry Washington?

  1. I’ve never photoshopped myself – like you say, why bother? I’m all for a flattering angle & a nice filter but I do still want to look like me!

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  2. It’s a crazy world where we’re fed an ideal of beauty because they believe that’s what ‘we’ want..it’s just another layer of generalisation in our mad, mad generation. Furthermore, we idolise these women..but all they can think is..I’m obviously not good enough..bad and sad xxx

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    • Exactly! I keep wondering what level of insulted I’d be if they changed my lips so that they looked the ‘right’ way. It’s like she’s an amazing black actress but they still think they need to Barbie Doll her up a bit. What the actual…?! As you say yet another generalisation of what beauty is.

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  3. I don’t photoshop myself at all but mainly because i don’t even know how to use photoshop *LOL*. Anyway, i totally agree with you, she looks so different it’s disturbing! The same thing’s happening in Asia but they tend to photoshop every Asian ladies to look like those K-Pop stars because they’re what’s “in” *LOL*

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    • Glad you agree! I know I got totally stuck when trying to download it/purchase it or something, so I just use Mac editor. I love the K-pop fashion but not a fan of the giant painted on doll eyes O.O lol I think cheating a little with contouring and a bit of eyeliner isn’t so bad though. Thanks for dropping by, hope to see you here again ^_^

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