On April 21 Buzzfeed writer Bim Adewunmi compiled a list of top UK beauty bloggers in an article entitled 14 UK YouTubers Who Will Transform Your Fashion And Make-Up Game.
The listed featured both up-and-coming and more established beauty vloggers, with channel subscriptions ranging from a few thousand to half a million. The featured vloggers were all beautiful women with great tutorials — and they were all black. This did not sit well with many Buzzfeed readers who felt the article was misleading by not including “Black” in its title. Here is a sampling of comments;
“This post was quite misleading. Your selections were all black women, but there was nothing to indicate that it was. Being Hispanic, Im wondering why there wasn’t anyone OTHER than black women that i could relate to more like with lighter skin tones. Im not saying DONT post things like this, just make the title say exactly what I’ll see so i wont click it if it doesnt pertain to me.”
“This article isn’t diverse enough. Asian, Latina and white women need to be represented too.”
“It’s clear to see from all the immature comments too that many people are like ‘well now you know how it feels!’. Yeah, ok so they’re right, white women are far from under represented and often black, Latina and Asian women have little to none representation in fashion/beauty. Which isn’t right. Having said that, the solution is not to get rid of representation of white women; that would just be racist to white women. Yes, it does exists. Not half as much as with others but it is there! To say otherwise is just ignorant. The solution is to learn from past mistakes and make the representation EQUAL from now on.”
“You post about four black ladies? Post about four white ladies too. And four Asian ladies, and four Latina ladies… Etc. It’s really not that hard!”
“Why are there no fairer skinned women featured on this post? Nowhere does it say “for dark skin” on this article.”
“Ffs Buzzfeed. Sort it out.
First that models post and now this? You need to retrain your staff on diversity.”
Some felt the list was not representative enough of UK beauty bloggers as a whole.
“But there’s so many other great UK beauty gurus!! Who cares that all of these women are black? It’s just the fact that this isn’t a good representation of UK beauty gurus! People like bubzbeauty, pixiwoo etc. deserve a place on this list as much as any other strong, confident woman.”
But many readers pointed out that there are countless beauty lists that are all white, and no one questions it or even blinks an eye. Disgruntled commenters, they pointed out, were simply experiencing what black women experience almost every day, and they were making the assumption that they — as white women — couldn’t learn from tutorials done by black women, when black women are often expected to adapt to a beauty culture that comes from a white point of view.
“I hope everyone commenting here that the title didn’t make it clear enough that the list was all black women, saying that “black” should have been in the title, or complaining that this list “lacked diversity” leaves that comment on EVERY SINGLE LIST LIKE THIS ON THE INTERNET THAT ONLY FEATURES WHITE PEOPLE.”
“I love the controversy this article caused by not stating the bloggers were black, if it was all white bloggers nobody would request that the title stated it ?”
“the thing is…WOC are always subjected to read lists that either do not pertain to them in anyway, or include the obligatory 2 POC pix so that the author feels like the article is culturally well-rounded. Those lists don’t include “White” in the title to deter us from reading them… spare me your anguish at having spent a few seconds scrolling through a Buzzfeed article that excludes you and your beauty needs. Come back when you’ve felt that exclusion for 25 years…or 375 years, whichever comes first”
“Articles rarely feature (realise I do not say cater to) feature black women ever. Because when a black girl creates a beauty video for all women, due to her skin colour, by default she is only allowed to cater to black women and nobody else? You are a lot of things that is wrong with society.”
The interesting thing about all this is that, according to the URL, the original title for the piece started with “For Black Girls Who Have Considered YouTube When Diversity…” It cuts out from there, so I don’t know what the whole title would have been, but it was originally targeted to black women.
The post’s author, Bim Adewunmi, wrote a follow up piece entitled An Article About Black Women Shouldn’t Have To Come With A Warning Label where she asked the very powerful question, “What is it that prevents other people from seeing themselves in [black women]?”
What is it that prevents people from seeing themselves in us? What is it that you see in us that so easily precludes this precious relatability? What do you think we so profoundly lack, that makes you shut down so comprehensively? So much so that something as innocuous as a make-up tutorial is enough for you to walk away wholesale? What makes our existence so extracurricular to yours? Why must our place as the norm be so hotly contested? Why should we hyphenate ourselves, introduce addendums, and signpost our presence? Why are we required to call ahead in the dark, to thwack the bushes, to make sure those who startle easy are aware of our coming?
Ladies what do you think? Was this a poor choice of title on Buzzfeed’s part? Or do you think the post and title are legit as is?