The Internet is upset with Kim Kardashian again. In the past, the reality star has been called out for wearing Fulani braids (and subsequently calling them "Bo Derek braids), and imitating Lil Kim for CR Fashion Book. And now, she's under fire for her latest magazine cover. On Monday, Kardashian shared two separate images on Twitter and Instagram of her Vogue India March 2018 shoot, but it was the picture the publication posted on the latter social media site that drew the most criticism.
Music journalist Sowmya Krishnamurthy called out the lehenga, a three-piece suit typically worn in formal settings, Kardashian is wearing, writing: “@Um @VogueIndia how do you go from having Kareena Kapoor and Deepika Padukone on the cover this year to Kim Kardashian in a lengha? HARD PASS.” Krishnamurthy continued, acknowledging how much of a stir Kendall Jenner caused when she covered Vogue India’s 10th anniversary issue. She pointed out that the decision to feature Kardashian reads as “tone deaf," and that “there’s also other American celebs who are impactful and would offer an amazing alternative to the Anglocentric beauty standard that Indian women continue to fight.”
To Krishnamurthy's point, isn’t the purpose of having international editions of Vogue to reflect the region it represents? Condé Nast introduced Vogue India in 2007, and according to the company’s website, the publication's purpose is to "[set] a benchmark for the industry and [establish] itself as the only multimedia company dedicated to reaching the affluent Indian." Reminder: Those are Condé Nast’s words. And it's important to note the publishing house uses the term “dedicated,” which to us means having a certain loyalty to its demographic.
People of color are already underrepresented in mainstream media, including American Vogue. And its international subsets, specifically in this case Vogue India, should be giving a global stage to the women the magazine was created for. No doubt there probably are Indian women who love and support Kardashian (and Jenner, too) but why shouldn't this publication serve as a chance to highlight and promote its culture at an elevated level, rather than relying on popular American culture?