When I studied in Amsterdam for 6 months back in 2009, the university themed an exchange student get-together: “Africa”. Much to our horror, my Nigerian friends and I arrived at the pub where the dress-up party was being held, and saw a) a staged jungle, b) lots of blackface and c) fake afros. As dumb as this theme was, Hungarian journo, Boglarka Balogh, just one-upped the uni of Amsterdam.
In her post “I Morphed Myself Into Tribal Women To Raise Awareness Of Their Secluded Cultures”, Boglarka Balogh describes herself as a 34-year-old Hungarian journalist who travels the world and writes about human rights issues. Her mission: to bring awareness to and save African tribes from going extinct. How nice, right?
But what is her clever plan to ensure their salvation? To transform herself from makeup free whitey, with the help of Photoshop of course, into 7 different African tribal women. Interesting...
She writes: “These stunning portraits show how beauty varies across the globe and prove that all of us are beautiful in a different way.” Now, the pressing question, and I’m sure you’re thinking it too, is: why didn’t she just use pictures of tribal women? Surely that’s more authentic? That shows their beauty in its purest form. Using a white face to "prove that all of us are beautiful in a different way" again reinforces the idea that white beauty is the standard all other forms of beauty should be measured by.
She has obviously done her homework concerning the endangered tribes as she writes in-depth on their various practices and beliefs, but this concept is truly bizarre. As Jezebel cleverly points out, this might have been a project with honourable intentions, but it’s execution is blatantly ignorant and racist to say the least.
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