Some people have wondered whether Beyonce is white or not. A recent ad from L’Oreal (see photo) raises that question once more.
The far left image is a (mostly) unmodified image of Beyonce and clearly shows that her skin is not white. The right hand image (which has been photoshopped) makes Beyonce appear rather white.
Naturally, this image has created a stir about race.
Advertising images of models are, of course, almost always altered (typically with Photoshop). Even before the images are modified, the models are carefully posed, illuminated, and coated in make-up for just the right look. As such, what we see is not the real appearance of the person. Rather, we are presented with an illusion that is intended to present an image of ideal beauty.
While this sort of thing raises concerns about how women are presented, this specific situation raises a concern about race and beauty. Since the intent of such modifications is to create the above mentioned illusion of beauty, one might suspect that the whitening of the image of a darker skinned woman sends the message that white is more beautiful than dark. This certainly seems to be a racist view.
Naturally, it could be argued that the whiteness is an accident or unintended. While this is a possibility, many would regard this claim as unlikely.
In any case, this situation does provide fertile grounds for the discussion of race and conceptions of beauty.