This is one of the most insulting things that I have ever seen, it makes me so mad I actually want to cry. I can’t believe magazines think that they can just dip a woman in brown paint, give her clothes from my culture to put on for a couple hours and then have audacity to call her an “African Queen”. Growing up I heard every joke about Africans and saw the negative stereotypes portrayed by the media that tried to make me feel so bad about where I come from. Yet Ive noticed when fashion magazine want to do spreads portraying poise and exoticness they often turn to Africa ( and many other foreign continents/nations) proving time and again that Africa is more than the negative images you see in the media) but this time, to try and take parts of my beautiful culture just to have white women play the role of an “African Queen” proves that beauty cannot be seen in our countries/cultures unless it is represented by White people.
Enter India; the land of the friendly brown people, exotic enough to be sensual, and yet dirty and smelly enough to be real; two essential ingredients in discovery destinations of the wealthy, white seeker. In the world of cheaply bought jet-travel, no other country has been able to harness through clever marketing and strategic imaging; the market made available by the Western search for fulfillment. Be it the old people in the movie Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, or the wry truth speaking slum observing author Katherine Boo of “Beyond Beautiful Forevers”; India has cornered the market on providing rare, jewel like insights into self and spirit to a class of curious Westerners rapt by its complexity and uncertainty. It’s a perfectly brewed cup for those planning a search for the unique and un-replicable, for near every slum is a luxury hotel with the comforts of home, and inside the most rural of villages a helpful man who speaks English. The results are tremendous; India today is a clearly marked stop on the Westerner’s road to authenticity; yoga is the new religion in Brooklyn and chai the favorite drink at any Starbucks.
If India is the land of the friendly brown people, where the battling of filth, heat and mosquitos and such authentically sub-continental discomforts provides the visiting Westerner with a sense of challenges overcome and comforts confiscated; Pakistan predictably is its opposite. If Indians have managed to forge a reputation on welcoming whites seeking their wisdom, stoically swallowing their self-righteous judgments on their society, Pakistan has cornered the market on the sinister, the sly and the un-quantifiably dangerous. The Westerners that do waft into Islamabad (no one even bothers with Karachi or Quetta or Peshawar) are a straggly bunch, aid workers or journalists small in number and scared in nature. They stay in their hotels and count the uncertain seconds to their departures, warily eying everyone they encounter for the suspicious slump of a suicide jacket, or the bumping bulge of a bomb. Scenes from Zero Dark Thirty dominate and stories from Seal Team Six loop in an eternal circle."
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