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Racism, Fashion and Diversity in Beauty Patterns: Iman, Somali Top Model From The 70/80s

Joana Passos About the author


The aim of the work by many feminist thinkers from the 70s to the 90s was to expose the ways patriarchal societies did not live up to the needs and expectations of the women. From the 1990s onwards the feminist debate diversified its geopolitical scope so as to include issues related to race, religion and multiculturalism, while promoting alternative lifestyles. Thus, new gender models became established due to the impact of pioneering figures who changed the limits of what was socially accepted, establishing new possibilities. My research addresses the fashion world, an area of activity with high international impact, responsible for establishing patterns of beauty and elegance. I will address a case study which surpasses racism in the fashion world. My communication explores four biographies and an interview with Somali top model Iman, a star at Yves Saint Laurent in the 70s/80s, when few black models were integrated in the world of high fashion. Currently, Iman lives in America and she has kept a public discourse sensitive to issues of racism in the fashion world. Iman’s testimony is important to reflect on the necessity of diversifying beauty ideals and expose the marginalization of groups of women from the most promoted patterns of elegance and glamour.

racism; gender models; norm and innovation; fashion and glamour

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