FHM Is Tagalog For SMH: Laughably Racist Magazine Cover

March 6th, 2012 | 13 comments | Posted by Jen

For the cover of FHM Philippines’ March 2012 issue, someone thought it’d be an awesome idea to surround 20 year-old Filipina actress Bela Padilla with a group of black models. The racial message of the photo’s bad enough. Light-skinned model–or can we just say white here because that’s how it reads?– on a pedestal surrounded by dark-skinned models in subordinate positions. Then consider the fact that this is published for the Philippines, a country where it’s estimated half of the women bleach their skin.

Then there’s the caption. OH MY GOD, THE CAPTION.

After a Change.org petition was created to protest this cover, it’s been pulled and sent back into “the shadows,” back to the place where our world’s latent colonialist fantasies continue to reside, sipping their gin cocktails and lamenting “the good ol’ days.”

[via Daily Beast]

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13 Responses to “FHM Is Tagalog For SMH: Laughably Racist Magazine Cover”

  1. lovesloth says:

    It’s even a little bit worse than it seems. In “defending” her participation in the cover, the light-skinned model revealed that the darker models were actually -painted- to look darker. The features of the woman directly to right of center seem to support this. You will, of course and reasonably, ask where I got this info from. And my answer is…Racialicious? Probably? One of the daily/weekly links form Bitch? Sorry to be a lazy commentor.

  2. Ankhesen Mié says:

    I read that those were actually Filipinas painted black.

  3. mtlyorel says:

    Honestly don’t know what is the fuss about. Why is this a racist cover??? Yes the other models are showcasing Padilla because she is the ‘star’ of the cover and obviously sells mags. Would it be racist if Padilla were black and surrounded by Asian models??? I think people would not even bat an eye. Funny how Asians see racism in other people but when they are the subject of racism, they are oblivious. And ‘stepping out of the shadows’ is not a racist phrase. It probably means that Padilla is now finally trying to make a career of her own. The caption never read ‘stepping out of the darkness’. And I think it is absolutely absurd that no one feels slightly offended by the fact that this cover has gratuitous photo of women in bikinis i.e. women as sexual objects to satisfy purloin male sexual fantasies.

  4. TruffleBib says:

    I actually do find this cover to be racist, and to some degree, elitist as well. I’m a Filipina myself so I am well aware of the negative (and even hostile) attitudes that many Filipinos have toward African-Americans and dark-skinned Filipinos. The Aeta people (an indigenous group in the Philippines that are known to be very dark-skinned)are treated terribly in the Philippines. And even those who live in the cities who are very dark are often regarded as ugly and lowly. This is probably why almost all the celebrities in the Philippines are very pale-skinned. White, Spanish beauty is still highly regarded in the Philippines, even though the majority of Filipinos actually have tan skin. (Of course, there are lots of women who also bleach their skin to make themselves look lighter.)

    The picture obviously portrays Bela as being superior. Yes, I know, she’s a celebrity and she is the focus of this issue. However, putting her porcelain white skin against a few painted models is totally unnecessary. (I watched a behind-the-scenes video about this photoshoot and Bela even mentioned that they tried to make her look as white as possible.) Honestly, this picture capitalizes on the elitist attitude that many Filipinos already have against dark-skinned people. And sadly, many Filipinos see absolutely nothing wrong with this photo.

    So why is this a racist cover? It’s all about the context of race and class in the Philippines.

  5. aptkane says:

    Dude……….c’mon FHM…

    My wife talked about bleaching her skin, I put an end to that nonsense immediately.

  6. [...] A recent FHM cover was criticized for using a light skinned model surrounded by dark-skinned models, to “artistically” and metaphorically depict “Stepping Out of The Shadows.” To me, it was photography-gone-wrong. There are many ways one could depict “Stepping Out of The Shadows”:  a dark curtain in the back to show that the model stepped onto the light; and even a more glamorous way of doing it could have been a black and white or gray toned photo with lights to create shades for “shadows and lights”. [...]

  7. [...] A recent FHM cover was criticized for using a light-skinned model surrounded by dark-skinned models, to “artistically” and metaphorically depict “Stepping Out of The Shadows.” To me, it was photography-gone-wrong. There are many ways one could depict “Stepping Out of The Shadows”:  a dark curtain in the back to show that the model stepped onto the light; and even a more glamorous way of doing it could have been a black and white or gray toned photo with lights to create shades for “shadows and lights”. [...]

  8. trybeingfairforonce says:

    Perceptions of people here in America aren’t the same as in all other countries. You need not read a “racial intent” on every piece of “art piece” that comes out.

    A lot of Filipinos may not be the most kindest in their perception of blacks but I assure you, many times it comes from a lack of exposure – not “ingrained prejudice”.

    Quite a few Filipinos living in the U.S. are sympathetic to Black people & to what they strive for.

    Before openly judging a piece, try to be a little more nicer w/ what you say. Not all of them have “burning racial motivations”.

    Every culture has a desired skin tone and it’s not always racially motivated. The dialogue on race has to be advanced from hate making to that of understanding.

    Many times, the Philippines is actually more welcoming & accepting of other heritages than the United States and The U.K. itself. By a wide considerable extent..

    -concerned U.S. educated Asian

  9. [...] A recent FHM cover was criticized for using a light-skinned model surrounded by dark-skinned models, to “artistically” and metaphorically depict “Stepping Out of The Shadows.” To me, it was photography-gone-wrong. There are many ways one could depict “Stepping Out of The Shadows”:  a dark curtain in the back to show that the model stepped onto the light; and even a more glamorous way of doing it could have been a black and white or gray toned photo with lights to create shades for “shadows and lights”. [...]

  10. Tarleton says:

    The Philippines has been an American colonial experiment since the takeover. No surprise really that this happens. And YES, ad execs are that clever and slimy. They are masters the of subtlety, hidden meanings and double entendres.

    This bleaching nonsense, and Barbie mentality is an assault that so many are oblivious to.

  11. [...] A recent FHM cover was criticized for using a light-skinned model surrounded by dark-skinned models, to “artistically” and metaphorically depict “Stepping Out of The Shadows.” To me, it was photography-gone-wrong. There are many ways one could depict “Stepping Out of The Shadows”:  a dark curtain in the back to show that the model stepped onto the light; and even a more glamorous way of doing it could have been a black and white or gray toned photo with lights to create shades for “shadows and lights”. [...]

  12. [...] A recent FHM cover was criticized for using a light-skinned model surrounded by dark-skinned models, to “artistically” and metaphorically depict “Stepping Out of The Shadows.” To me, it was photography-gone-wrong. There are many ways one could depict “Stepping Out of The Shadows”:  a dark curtain in the back to show that the model stepped onto the light; and even a more glamorous way of doing it could have been a black and white or gray toned photo with lights to create shades for “shadows and lights”. [...]

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