Did Vanity Fair Diss Women of Color in Spread About Jen Selter’s Rear End?

761568236_0 copyWhat type of women do you think of when the media talks about big booties, large lips, and dark skin?

Now just hearing that makes you think of African American women right? If you’re being honest with yourself, your answer is yes.

Why then, are these now being recognized as positive reflections of beauty because white women have began to flaunt them?

Whereas before, black women were downright ridiculed with labels such as “she’s got a ghetto butt,” or “too much junk in da trunk,” etc. over recent years, as more Caucasian women (at least those not graced with these attributes naturally) get lip and butt injections for enhancement ; not to mention the overwhelming profits now being made by tanning salons, it appears black beauty has become beautiful on white women.

Only in America, right?

What brings this on is a recent Vanity Fair feature where a New York native, a Jewish girl named Jen Selter, is shown in a two-page spread called “Rear Admirable.”

white girl vf article

Selter, 20, was made Instagram famous by posting #belfies—butt selfies—on the photo sharing site in an attempt to be the next Jillian Michaels and encourage other women to work out. Selter’s photos have turned her into a social media darling and many have declared she has the best bootay on instagram.

Carimah Townes of Think Progress argues Selter’s Vanity Fair feature “rejects people of color” and shows the glossy is still “stuck in the past” because women of color are rarely celebrated for their shapely physiques.

Townes writes:

In an article comically entitled “Rear Admirable,” Vanity Fair showcases social media sensation Jen Selter, who skyrocketed to fame after posting photos of her butt on Instagram. The pictures used in the spread include a backside shot of Selter in a black corset, and another of the model in 1940s-inspired, fishnet lingerie. The accompanying text describes Selter as a “member of a rapidly rising subset of Instagram stars: young women unafraid to share their deeply bronzed, sculpted figures.”

The takeaway message is that showing off curves in a public way is not only a new phenomenon, but looking darker, “or bronzed,” is the new way to be beautiful. It’s a breath of fresh air to see curves and darker skin tones applauded by a world-renowned publication, but disappointing that Vanity Fair used a white Jewish woman to convey a newly-accepted norm.

Although Townes concedes that women of color aren’t the only ones with round derrières, she asserts Vanity Fair “perpetuates the idea that curves are new, trendy, covetable accessories” (kinda likeKendall Jenner’s “bold braids”), while “dismissing women of color whose curves existed long before it was fashionable to have them, and whose bodies have been critiqued throughout history.”


Does Vanity Fair’s choice to highlight Selter speaks to this larger issue or is the magazine merely attempting to stay current by highlighting what’s hot on social media.

What do you think? Did Vanity Fair “reject people of color” with its Jen Selter spread or are they just recognizing the beauty of the booty in African American women?


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