Fashion and cosmetics brands spark controversy in China with Pride campaign and end of ‘whitening’ skin care products


Hailey Rhode Bieber and other celebrities attend Calvin Klein Night at Musikbrauerei in Berlin. Photo: IC

American fashion label Calvin Klein has launched a new campaign featuring a plus size African American transgender model. This and the decision by French cosmetics brand L’Oréal Paris to change its slogan both sparked controversy on Chinese social media, as many netizens said they believed the move was just an attempt. on the part of companies to be “politically correct”.

Jari Jones, the first plus-size transgender model to adorn a giant New York billboard in Calvin Klein’s history, has been surrounded by public debate not only in her own country but on Chinese social media. His multiple identities such as being African American and a member of the LGBTQ + community have become the center of controversy.

Some Chinese netizens have said they believe the reason Calvin Klein chose Jones was to seek political correctness and to follow the trends of advocacy movements such as the Black Lives Matter campaign.

“The model is African American and a member of the LGBTQ community. Choosing her was the culmination of political correctness. I think this action will not help and is only a surface effort,” commented the surfer. “Minglasipangqi” on Twitter in China. like Sina Weibo.

Some netizens also wondered why the fashion house had not opted for a traditional tall and thin model.

“I understand that women have different sizes, but this model is too heavy and not very healthy I think. She doesn’t make me want to buy these clothes,” wrote another net surfer.

Not all voices opposed this decision. Some netizens said they believe that whatever the results of the campaign, it is good for the company to take action to support multicultural values.

“June is Pride Month for the LGBTQ + community and Jones’ identity as a member of the community can showcase the beauty of diversity to more people by being on the giant billboard in central New York “Peng Yanzi, founder of China’s LGBT Rights Advocacy, told the Global Times on Monday.

Jones’ impact isn’t limited to her gender identity, Peng said, adding that her body type may challenge some traditional impressions that might be outdated for women and models, Peng said.

Amid campaigns to protect the legal rights of African Americans and transgender people in the United States, it is necessary and useful to break the mold when it comes to choosing models and promoting fashion icons. , Peng said.

A Calvin Klein fan living in Beijing told the Global Times that she liked the brand even more because of the move.

“I like CK better after reading the news because it is a brand that recognizes the demands of its customers.”

As Calvin Klein received voices of support, French cosmetics brand L’Oréal Paris faced almost total opposition on Chinese social media for changing its slogans and removing words like “bleaching” from its products. .

“It’s too excessive. L’Oreal should dye all of its skin care products black, otherwise the white cream is also racist,” commented Sina Weibo user “Xiaoniaozhendechaojikeai”. The hashtag “L’Oreal will stop using skin whitening” had received more than 110 million views on Sina Weibo as of Monday afternoon.

“Maybe next time the white paper will be banned as well.”

After African American George Floyd was killed by a white policeman in the United States in late May, numerous protests and campaigns against racial discrimination erupted in the United States and other parts of the world. Some companies have been criticized for promoting skin whitening products from people who believe the products promote the idea that lighter skin is better, according to a report by Xinhua News Agency .

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