This week Oh Polly put black and plus-size models in an Instagram ghetto, and Taiwan legalised same sex marriage
20 May 2019
It’s been a ghastly week of old white men throwing their weight around. In the UK, the worst BJ in the world, Boris Johnson, announced he was making his move to try and lead the Conservative party. The bumbling and devious tactician has been scheming his way to this role for decades, saying countless awful things along the way. Strangely, TV presenter (and Africa’s saviour) Stacey Dooley described him as trustworthy after describing slimy Nigel Farage as “transparent”.
Over in the USA, the nation reacted to the news that 25 crusty white men voted to ban all abortions that take place after six weeks pregnancy in Alabama. We stand in solidarity with them, and with people facing similar difficulties closer to home in Northern Ireland. If you’re mad, contact your MP to apply pressure, or donate to groups like Abortion Support Network.
Here’s what else went down in the past week.
Taiwanese reacts to landmark ruling on same-sex marriage.
On May 17, Taiwan became the first Asian country to legalise same-sex marriage prompting huge celebration and hope for other countries to follow suit. The ruling has taken two years to come to fruition after a series of referendums which showed that the majority of voters in Taiwan rejected legalising same-sex marriage.
Tess Yu, a 42-year-old lesbian from Taiwan’s capital Taipei, who identifies as non-binary, told gal-dem they were “very happy” with the result. Despite the initial referendum results, they said they were not surprised that their country was the first in Asia to recognise same-sex marriages because “Taiwan is a place with a mix of many cultures”.
According to Tess, help for LGBTQ+ people in Taiwan was very limited 15 years ago, leaving them to seek education on homosexuality in a library. Now they are “relieved and confident because I know no matter who I love, our rights are protected.” Before this ruling, Tess heard many tragic stories of people being in love but when it comes to the legality, “they are like strangers”.
Now activists are working towards improving the well being of the LGBT population via an association of trained people taking calls almost six days a week to offer emotional support.
Good morning #Taiwan. Today, we have a chance to make history & show the world that progressive values can take root in an East Asian society.— 蔡英文 Tsai Ing-wen (@iingwen) May 17, 2019
Today, we can show the world that #LoveWins. pic.twitter.com/PCPZCTi87M
Oh Polly-gy accepted? Brand under fire for creating a separate Instagram ghetto for black and plus size models
This might not come as a shock to you, but words like diversity and inclusivity have been diluted so much in corporate circles that they are now devoid of meaning.
Case in point: Oh Polly, a fast fashion site that specialises in Insta thot wares, created another Instagram account called Oh Polly Inclusive. Unlike the main page, which is full of curvy bronzed white women, the “inclusive” page had women of varying shades and shapes.
What in the segregation is this. What makes these women not suitable for your main page @ohpolly ? Ohpollyinclusive?? Who approved this? pic.twitter.com/2HXujEE9j9— Alissa Ashley (@alissa_ashleyy) May 13, 2019
Not to point out the obvious, but if the company would truly like to be inclusive, they would just start posting those photos onto their regular feed. By segregating them it looks like they’re trying to keep their sun-kissed slim thick (or PAWG) image in tact but tap into the woke online spaces elsewhere.
Speaking to gal-dem, a representative from Oh Polly said: “Oh Polly made a serious error of judgement for which we take full responsibility and sincerely apologise. We established a new page with the specific aim of allowing our customers to discuss a wider range of issues. We have a close relationship with our customers around the world and always value their feedback.”
It continued: “Improving diversity remains an absolute priority for us across all of our channels. We promise to continue listening to everyone in the Oh Polly community and, most importantly, learn from this mistake.”
Interestingly, the main page really hasn’t become that much more inclusive since this whole debacle blew up.
This wasn’t the only fashion faux pas of the week, Gucci still hasn’t lived down the blackface jumper, but came under fire for putting selling a controversial £600 Indy Full Turban for sale on Nordstrom. Some in the sikh community called them out for culturally appropriating an item of clothing that is often worn as a symbol of unity and equality. The luxury price tag of this iteration makes it a little less accessible than the traditional headwrap.
- Queen Latifah and Will Smith are producing a Hip-Hop Romeo & Juliet adaptation for Netflix and we are so here for it.
- London’s “most inclusive and banging” night out, Pxssy Palace, have introduced tiered tickets to ensure their party remains centred towards womxn, non-binary, and trans people of colour.
- Dutee Chand, India’s fastest female sprinter, is the country’s first sportsperson to speak openly about her same-sex relationship.
- UK Black Pride’s Youth Engagement Officer, Tanya Compas, is offering free ASOS prom outfits for black and PoC students who identify as LGBTQ+, prioritising those who identify as trans and non-binary to make prom as accessible as possible. DM her on Twitter if you are interested.
- AZ Magazine is championing an inclusive and accessible ticket-selling technique for its official UK Black Pride pre-party where people can buy ‘Pay It Forward’ tickets for a QTIBPoC that is unable to afford one.
- An indigenous Amazonian tribe called the Waorani won a landmark court ruling that means half a million acres of forest land will be protected from being mined for oil drilling.
- A charity named World Afro Day found that one in six children with afro-textured hair are having a bad or very bad experience at school, with school rules negatively affecting children with natural hair.
- A children’s book featuring 50 inspiring South Asian women has been written by activist and lawyer Raj Kaur Khaira who wanted to “give girls a chance to write their own stories”, saying the mainstream depiction of South Asian women “is often limited and laced with harmful stereotypes.”
- Bernie Sanders has announced a plan to fix the increasingly racially segregated American school system where students of colour often end up in schools that have less money and experienced teachers.
- The Guardian’s Afua Hirsch was put through another exhausting and soul-destroying panel ‘debate’ where she was forced to persuade a group of old white men, and one old white woman, of the prevalence of toxic racism, using the very discussion she was in as the perfect example of oppression. She tweeted saying “I’m not doing this again”.
Moment of the week
Tyler, the Creator’s surprise gig announcement shut down Peckham as crowds gathered at Bussey Building on Saturday. Eventually the mass hysteria led to the gig being cancelled for being “too rowdy”.