Sorry, Ms. Jackson: These Tabloids Are For Real

Photo: Alexander Tamargo/Getty Images.
On behalf of several tabloids that stooped to a cringe-worthy low level today, we apologize, Ms. Jackson; they've made an indefensible snafu in trying to comment on your personal style. For a second there, we thought you were safe from ill-informed, mawkish headlines, considering you'd just embarked on a world tour, married Wissam Al Mana, and announced your pregnancy. But today, as one Twitter user pointed out, tabloids such as The Mirror, The National Enquirer, and more have really taken it too far. In a blessed tweet sent forth by Michael Taylor, the "masters student" and "opera singer" called out the aforementioned publications for referring to Jackson's futuristic Y-3 Adidas poncho as "Islamic attire." The tweet reads: "Someone needs to tell the Daily Mirror that Janet Jackson's 'Islamic attire' is actually an Adidas poncho for men..." followed by a couple of eye-rolling emoji. Now, there are a couple of problems here. For starters, the poncho is just regular clothing (which costs $1,285, if you're looking). And while we're not exactly surprised these dregs-of-society type publications are jumping to conclusions, considering Jackson's long history of bodycon, midriff-bearing looks, the difference between modest dressing and "Islamic attire" needs to be understood. Throwing on some loose garb once in a while does not a religious woman make.
And the semantics of these clickbait headlines is even more problematic, because it puts actual Islamic style in a dark light; "rumors of Janet Jackson converting to Islam after sporting a poncho," and "Converted? Janet Jackson Spotted In Islamic Dress After Pregnancy Announcement" are just a few examples sitting on the internet right now. This, of course, is followed by "Fears For Janet! Family ‘Terrified’ After New Baby Bombshell," meaning the family is "terrified" she might be converting to Islam. But what's more, even American trade publications, like US Weekly, called a recent headband of hers a "head scarf," despite clear, visual evidence her hair was exposed. We reached out to Adidas to confirm Jackson is indeed wearing the Y-3 sweater poncho, to which a representative of the brand said "yes," but denied to comment any further. And though the silhouette is similar to an abaya, a traditional cloak-like garment, the Adidas poncho is more an example of athleisure's stronghold than a proclamation of faith. Of course, if Ms. Jackson is exploring different religions, more power to her. But it's in poor taste to make assumptions about a person's religion — and comment derisively about it — based on their fashion, their spouse, or anything else.

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