Cultural appropriation isn’t just for barbeque and white people’s dreadlocks any more. It’s now oppressive towards the gender bending community. How dare Zayn Malik avoid wearing a ballgown and makeup for Vogue!!
Cosmopolitan contributor Jacob Tobia was significantly peeved by Vogue’s cover shoot of singer Zayn Malik and model Gigi Hadid, because Vogue described the stars as “embracing gender fluidity.” In the liberal universe, there’s no higher compliment, right? Wrong. Why? Because neither of these celebrities are apparently “#GenderfluidGoals.” Ultimately, Vogue committed the mortal sin of “cultural appropriation,” by dressing a woman in a blazer.
“Gigi and Zayn are not the faces of the nonbinary or genderqueer movement as Vogue would have its readers think,” Tobia complained. What would have made the allegedly controversial cover shoot sufficiently genderqueer, at least for Cosmo, would have been a photo of Zayn in female drag and makeup.
Tobia addressed Vogue directly, saying, “If you’re going to make Zayn a new face of the genderqueer community, the least you could do is give us a solid, smoldering portrait of him in a ballgown with a bold lip.” That would be apology enough for Tobia.
Once again, it’s not enough for the Hollywood and fashion industries to normalize, celebrate and hype the idea of being gender-queer or transsexual. Tobia was “fed up” with the appropriation of “gender fluid identities for those in the cultural elite in a way that totally whitewashes the lived experiences of gender-nonconforming people.”
Tobia, who apparently gets up in drag, went on to list in detail the amount of harassment he had received in the past, receiving between “10 and 20 slurs” every day. And Vogue’s depiction of the free and easy gender-bending lifestyle counts offensive to the gender-bender community. Mostly because the couple presented in the cover is guilty of “using fairly conventional masculinity and femininity to build their respective brands.”
Basically, Vogue should have given, in Tobia’s opinion, “credit, collaboration, or compensation” to the spokespeople for the gender-queer population. Tobia is willing to take the hit for the good of the people. One has to wonder if his accusations stem from general dissatisfaction with his own job. Since he was so eager for compensation.
The accusation of cultural appropriation hits hard in the fashion community, apparently. Vogue issued an apology through its spokeperson: “We are sorry the story did not correctly reflect the spirit -- we missed the mark. We look forward to continuing the conversation with greater sensitivity.”