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Supermodel Cameron Russell: “Image is Powerful” on TED

Image is indeed powerful. Following is a rare and frank talk, given by supermodel Cameron Russell, about her profession on TED. More importantly, she explains that ‘beauty’ in the West is a construct. As in any other society, beauty is often constructed to reflect attributes only attainable by the majority or dominant group. For those of us in the West not born with blond hair and blue eyes, Russell reminds us that no matter we are yellow, black, brown, or blue, we must find beauty in our own colors. Conversely, if we live in a society where our colors are the dominant, we should be mindful of the undue pressure put on others. Her talk made my day. Bravo to Cameron Russell.

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  1. perspectivehere
    January 15th, 2013 at 07:49 | #1

    yinyang, thank you for posting this. It is a thought provoking and honest talk. And kudos to Cameron Russell for her courage and forthrightness.

    When Cameron talked about “Legacy” it brought to mind the well-known essay by Peggy McIntosh, “Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack”.

    Peggy McIntosh is the associate director of the Wellesley Centers for Women, and is also the founder, of the National SEED Project on Inclusive Curriculum (Seeking Educational Equity & Diversity). Her essay is probably one of the most influential pieces of writing in America today.

    In the video below, Peggy McIntosh describes what led her in 1980 to write this landmark essay:


    Cameron and Peggy are both beautiful ladies. They speak from the heart, and what they speak, they speak with love and honesty.

  2. pug_ster
    January 15th, 2013 at 18:48 | #2

    I think the Dominance of the West, England from 18th century to WWII and US after WWII has reflected this kind of attitude where the rest of the world looks at the West as something as they aspire to. Many people in China has this attitude. The number of young slim western models being slapped onto billboards, number of people dyed their hair other than their natural black color. Chinese people should be proud of their race and heritage and shouldn’t be looking at the West for ‘guidance.’

  3. January 15th, 2013 at 22:54 | #3

    Peggy McIntosh is indeed a great soul. Thank you so much for sharing her essay and information about her. Her articulation for this difficult subject is so amazing. I wish I get to interview her some day. perspectivehere – you’ve made my day.

  4. January 18th, 2013 at 01:18 | #4

    McIntosh’s article always reminds me of Marilyn Frye’s article. Frye goes even further than McIntosh and says that white people are morally obligated to refuse any priviledges they get in racist society (which as McIntosh illustrates are numerous). Frye advances the concept of “whiteliness” which she claims is socially constructed and privileges some while disadvantaging others. These are two sides of the same coin. On one hand, whites must come to see their advantages gained in society much as men need to learn to see gender discrimination as many feminists argue they receive at the cost to others. Then they are obligated to refuse those advantages. Read Frye’s famous article here:


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