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'Blackfishing'

(222 Posts)
jellyfrizz Wed 22-Apr-20 14:07:05

www.theguardian.com/fashion/2020/apr/14/blackfishing-black-is-cool-unless-youre-actually-black

But surely this is ok if you are actually black but born with the wrong skin pigmentation?

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jellyfrizz Wed 22-Apr-20 14:12:36

Also - only females being called out on this.

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NonnyMouse1337 Wed 22-Apr-20 15:14:43

I really don't understand this insistence by some people that certain types of hairstyles, clothing or food are under the exclusive ownership of a particular group and anyone else is committing the heinous crime of cultural appropriation by experimenting with some of these things.

Human culture has always evolved by being a melting pot of styles picked up from all over the place and incorporating them into the fabric of different societies and groups.

Since when were dreadlocks exclusive to 'black culture'? Sadhus in India have wandered around in dreadlocks for a good chunk of history, if I'm not mistaken. Guess they didn't get the memo. confused

White men have been singing hip hop, rap, and other black music genres as well as copying the dress styles and mannerisms of black artists for quite a while. Yet they aren't being lectured and wokescolded for their actions. It's always women being lectured by other women and men on what to wear and how to behave.

RoyalCorgi Wed 22-Apr-20 15:18:32

The utter lack of self-awareness of the Guardian amazes me sometimes. When men adopt women's hairstyles, make-up and dress, we're supposed to admire them and indeed feel sympathy for them because they are so much more hard done by than women. When white women adopt black women's hairstyles, make-up and dress, that's REALLY BAD and CULTURAL APPROPRIATION.

Why are they so stupid? And why is it women getting the shitty end of the stick in both cases?

RuffleCrow Wed 22-Apr-20 15:24:21

Selena Gomez doesn't look like she's being anything other an herself. And it's not true that black and hispanic cultures are completely distinct anyway. How many latino (male) artists have drawn on forms of black culture without any criticism whatsoever for decades?

deydododatdodontdeydo Wed 22-Apr-20 15:30:49

Human culture has always evolved by being a melting pot of styles picked up from all over the place and incorporating them into the fabric of different societies and groups.

I agree. One of the earliest British cultural movements I remember is the two tone/skin movement.
There was an exhibition of photos in my twon recently. It was great to see the young men and women (yes, women with shaved heads) both black and white, adopting the same fashions and styles, and just living in harmony, at a time when the National Front was active.
If it happened these days we'd say the white kids were culturally appropriating from the black ones.

Goosefoot Wed 22-Apr-20 15:59:34

It's idiotic. You can't limit ideas, including artistic ones. Whether it's a hairstyle or a painting, if I see it, it now exists as part of my aesthetic understanding, it's part of me. And if I copy the style or let it influence me, it takes nothing away from anyone else.

Michelleoftheresistance Wed 22-Apr-20 16:04:54

I'm mixed race, Guardian do come and police me and my choices. I was born female so my whole purpose in life is obviously to be scolded and told off by unbelievably boring self righteous wankers with too much time on their hands and no grip on reality who think I have nothing better to do than hang on their every decree Wokescolds.

Fgs, the hypocrisy is so vast they can't be unaware of it.

Michelleoftheresistance Wed 22-Apr-20 16:07:58

(Honestly starting to wonder if the whole attraction of Wokescolding for female people is that at least they get not to be a neverending target for a while?)

NonnyMouse1337 Wed 22-Apr-20 16:14:10

That's an interesting point, Michelleoftheresistance. You could be right.

Goosefoot Wed 22-Apr-20 16:18:10

I do think there are some interesting things to be said about the use of beauty products in particular, and maybe that is why it seems to be focused more on women. Men just don't use things like hair extensions or foundation or contouring make-up in the same way. And once you are using those products you can really change what seems to be your basic appearance in a very significant way. At an extreme, it's almost like costume in theatre and film where you could actually appear as a totally different race.

I don't think that's a problem per se in those contexts, if an actor plays a role they can use theatre tricks to look like they fit the role.

This raises some questions to me - to what extent is Gomez in a photo shoot playing a role? Is that the same as KK going out to a fashion show? Maybe if you are essentially a reality celebrity your whole life is a role. That also seems to filter down to what is considered trendy or beautiful for regular people. But maybe the issue there is not so much looking black but fashion which so totally obscures the individual?

Black women have for a long time emulated white ideals of beauty with products, and that's not been for particularly positive reasons. The reverse does not hold, there has never been the same kind of push for white women to look black, but perhaps the fact that it is happening now reflects a social sense where we see all kinds of ethnic backgrounds as being beautiful. That seems to be positive.

It seems like a real overcoming of racism would ultimately mean not seeing things with the same kinds of distinctions, but identity politics very much resists that and wants to make sure even fashion and aesthetics remains firmly in racial categories. It's been observed by more than one writer on race issues that the desire for everyone to stay in their lane can afflict oppressed or minority communities as strongly, or even more strongly, than society at large, because it becomes part of their identity which has been strongly forged by having to resist disadvantage. But also that this can undermine attempts to de-racialize a society.

YourVagesty Wed 22-Apr-20 16:19:44

Selena Gomez is wearing braids and that's 'blackfishing'? The frickin' Vikings and Celts wore braids.

Kim K? That's a Sophia Loren tribute.

Jesus, people are working so hard to get themselves offended.

I also fucking hate the word 'dropped', i.e. 'The new Kim K front cover dropped and...'

Gah! I am way too hormonal for this shit today.

YourVagesty Wed 22-Apr-20 16:21:03

On the other hand...

I love, love, LOVE the word 'Wokescolds'. I'm so using that from this day forth.

YourVagesty Wed 22-Apr-20 16:24:07

Goosefoot, I agree with everything you've just written. It definitely should be read as a positive and yet....identity politics, trying to keep everything in tiny, tiny boxes. Ridiculous.

HavartiToSeeYou Wed 22-Apr-20 16:25:35

Are there many examples of celebrity men using makeup to darken their skin so they look black?

I think the reason women are accused of black fishing (which yes is 100% racist) is because it’s pretty much only women who darken their skin with makeup and adopt Afro hairstyles.

There certainly have been tons of white male singers accused of exploiting black culture so it’s not just a female thing, but specifically using blackface makeup is something mostly women do, since most men don’t wear makeup.

MarylandMayhem Wed 22-Apr-20 16:25:44

I think it's quite an attack on working/underclass women. Poorer people have always been the ones to mix with other 'races' first, have always been the ones to have babies with them first. It's completely natural that some in those communities will pick up and mix fashions etc

RumbaswithPumbaas Wed 22-Apr-20 16:46:50

But if men do it it’s stunning and brave

NoAdventureNoTime Wed 22-Apr-20 17:09:21

As a black person this sort of thing does occasionally piss me off. But tbh to the extent on how pissed off it makes me feel is based on how I've been treated recently by the "white" world. I'll try explain.
For example, I wear my hair in braids occasionally as its a protective style. We wear it to protect our hair from breakage. Our hair is naturally dry and prone to breakage from daily styling this gives our hair and ourselves a much needed break from doing and time for it to grow. We can wear our hair in braids for upto 8weeks when taken care of in this way. And can be done as simple braids to a really intricate type of look.
The clothes I wear is reflected from my culture, my family are from the Caribbean and the weather, food, family and music is heavily mixed in to our daily lives to produce our culture.

These signifyers that I have as a black person such as
My skin colour
Braids or protective styles in general
Clothes, make up
Music
Slang/accents
Are who we are as people based on our bodily needs and our lived in culture.

When people take these signifyers and use them as a costume to play with however we'll intentioned, depending on how they do it, it does bother me. For example when you see say a white celebrity such as Ariana Grande wearing box braids or cornrows, dark foundation, hooped earrings giving the impression fairly obviously of a young urban black women. Then the next week she's ditched the look for her normal look when she's finished promoting something.
It's the double standard that I am not treated in the same way when I'm presenting in my natural self. Where as a white person "black fishing" gets to take the best of my heritage without the lived experience that comes with it. With none of the baggage that I have to endure.
They don't get followed round shops.
They don't get racist abuse.
They don't get the default that you are guilty until innocent.
They don't have people cross the street or people clutching their bags close to them when I approach.
Or people feeling they can touch me uninvited.

The thing is people take and use our features I naturally have, or have to do for myself such as wearing braids or my dark skin and use it as a trend for themselves without having to deal with what I have to.

I also don't understand why people choose not to see this either, we never seem to discuss people choosing to copy say Asian styles because it just doesn't seem to happen on the same scale.

But again how I feel about this really depends on my mood at the time.

jellyfrizz Wed 22-Apr-20 17:14:05

it’s pretty much only women who darken their skin with makeup

I'm pretty sure the president of the US isn't that colour naturally.

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RoyalCorgi Wed 22-Apr-20 17:18:25

NoAdventure: I can see why it's annoying, I really can. My objection to the article is partly irritation at yet another bloke taking the opportunity to scold women about what they can and can't do, and the Guardian's utter two-facedness in fawning over men appropriating women's dress etc while berating white women for appropriating black dress.

CakeItOrLeave Wed 22-Apr-20 17:19:27

"black fishing" gets to take the best of my heritage without the lived experience that comes with it.

@NoAdventureNoTime I completely agree, although I cannot explain it as well as you have

jellyfrizz Wed 22-Apr-20 17:20:04

With none of the baggage that I have to endure.

I think this isa really important point Noadventure, it certainly explains how I feel about womanface.

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RuffleCrow Wed 22-Apr-20 17:29:01

Native american women often traditionally wore their hair in plaits - as we call them here in the uk - and latinas like SG are in large part descended from them. That's what her hair says to me - she doesn't have cornrows or anything particularly african-american inspired.

Singasonga Wed 22-Apr-20 17:35:35

Thanks NoAdventure, that was a really helpful post. One of the areas where I have a lot of empathy for the "appropriation" argument is the way black people are left carrying all the structurally racist baggage, but are still mined for cool points by people who can take the style off when it suits them. It's like the ultimate code-switching.

Maryland also raises an interesting point. Fifteen years ago when the popular campaign against "chavs" was in full swing, it felt primarily like a repudiation of a combined British urban working class street style heavily influenced by hiphop (high, tight ponytails, massive hoop earrings/jewellery, tracksuits) as much as it was a middle class complaint about about antisocial behaviour. At the time, I thought that a part of the mainstream criticism WAS that white working class people (and Asian people) were taking on black street style, which offended the UK mainstream.

slipperywhensparticus Wed 22-Apr-20 17:37:33

Its just platted hair? All children have platted hair 🤦‍♀️

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