Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Cliché Tuesday: Nude is not a bloody colour

I never thought about this before I read through the comments of an article considering skin colours in The Hunger Games, but I wonder: in Africa, does the term 'nude', when used for clothes, refer to darker skin shades?

Isn't it strange that the fashion world uses the word 'nude' for a colour? Nude isn't a colour. It's a characteristic in itself completely unrelated to skin colour. (Although I do admit, I look totally nekkid when dressed in light beiges and creams and whatnot.) Not only is using nude as an adjective for clothes a paradox (it means 'no clothes', you fashion scallywags!), it is also - dare I say it? - kind of racist.
Nude in fashion


I'm not saying all fashion editors writing about nude being the new black or whatever are racists. But they are projecting a certain ideal by doing so. Let's turn it into mathematics.

Nude = white skin
Nude = fashionable
The aspirational skin colour of fashionable girls = ?

Nude worldwide

Just sayin'. I'm always the last one to find things out and I'm probably way behind on this, judging by the date of this excellent piece on the whole matter, but I still wanted to share my thoughts.

12 comments:

  1. Here in Italy they say "nude" because it is the trend but usually they say "flesh color" (sorry for the rough translation but I couldn't find better) and to think about it even in France we say "flesh color"...Never think about what you wrote. I am going to read the article you mentioned right now !

    Shug

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  2. Lovely elegant color scheme! =)

    http://pinkchampagnefashion.blogspot.com/

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  3. I've never thought about this issue and to be honest when writing/speaking in English I use it a lot! On the other hand, in Italian I use other words like pale pink, champagne, etc. Just read the article: thank you for flagging it, it makes some interesting points, but what I really loved was the readers comments section...I often find it the most entertaining part!

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    1. I agree, reader comments sections rock!

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  4. that black strappy bag... love it!

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  5. This is a really interesting post, I had actually read an article on this a while ago and it also just clicked because before I used the term liberally like @NJAPD.

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  6. I've thought about that too! But I love the collages you made, great choices!

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  7. I guess it depends on how the term 'nude' is being used. If it is used to imply an absence of colour in a colour palette (ie, not pale pink/olive/brown, but denuded of colour) then I don't think I have a problem with it. However, if it is meant to denote the colour of naked skin, then clearly it has entirely mono-cultural (and racist) connotations that places the status of pale skin above that of darker skin.

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    1. That is exactly what I wanted to say. Only phrased in a perfect way. Seriously, I'm enclined to quote this in my post. Clear as glass!

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  8. I guess it's never a term I'd use since I'm always out of the loop w/ fashion stuff so I'd never thought of it before but I completely agree w/ you, kudos to you for bringing it up. Nude = naked so I suppose it could be any skin color-looking item, or maybe just a completely bleach-white piece since that would be a lack of color, going from a lack of clothing... but it's not either so I certainly take it as racist. What happened to calling things beige anyway?
    http://dusanabotswana.com

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  9. Like much of the English language (and I presume most European languages), the word "nude" sets "white" to default. We have terms like "ebony" to refer to the skin of persons of color. Of course, this signifies that white skin is more natural than dark skin. I would suggest the industry consider a new type of label, but the fashion industry, for all that it changes in style, is actually very conservative in surprising ways. The amount of blowback you could get for trying to to have the industry understand the racism inherent in a term like "nude" might be disturbing.

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