In case you don’t know who the name of the woman in the upper photograph is, her name is Carolina Beaumont. Beaumont modeled this photo in New York,1976 for Jean-Paul Goude. Goude is a well-known photographer and well admired. However, it is unbeknown to me how Mr. Goude could be so well liked when he takes “fashion images” such as this one. For those of you who do not know, this image was inspired by Grace Jones. Jean-Paul Goude’s ex was Grace Jones. The two have a child together. After the two broke up, Goude created a book called Jungle Fever to immortalize his lost love. One, to create a book called “Jungle Fever” after your long last Black lover is kind of ridiculous and borderline insulting. I get it, he’s white and she’s black so it was a case of jungle fever. However, throughout centuries, Black people were called jungle bunnies and animals. So why would someone refer to somebody that love in such a racial stereotypical manner?
Goude has been applauded for his unique eye for symmetry and retouching. The image featured above may be one of his famous photographs from the 70’s and now he has updated it with none other than reality tv’s “it girl” Kim Kardashian. Before I speak on her, let’s talk about what this image might suggest. When looking at this image, this image evokes old racial stereotypes about Black women.They say Goude is good at symmetry and I’m inclined to agree. The symmetry between the woman’s facial expression and her butt read two different things. Her body image brings forth the caricatures of Black women.
The woman in the picture seems happy for some unknown reason. As the cork on the champion is popped, the champion directly travels from the bottle to the glass resting undisturbed on her butt. I’m curious to what this all can mean. What does champion class, a naked woman, a big butt, and a smile have to do with anything? What’s the celebration? Maybe Goude is celebrating the image of various body types or maybe his inspiration has come from old images of women. Whatever the case may be, only the artists knows the truth. In addition, American society is disappointed in this image and Kim K.
Here’s what I don’t understand. Why would Kim K want to do a photoshoot that has already been done and why would she be okay with being presented in a conflicting way? The same question goes for the woman who originally did the photo. Society is now up in arms because Kim K has done another photo shoot that focuses on her buttocks when she should know better because she is a mother. But her motherhood should never be a question. Beyonce is a mother and some of her photoshoots focus on the same things that Kim K does. My issue isn’t with Kim K butt, it’s with her ideology. I can’t fully understand why Kim K keeps letting people put her in a position where she is going to be the joke, seen as racist, or is not taken seriously.The cultural implications that this photo suggests can be seen as negative and insulting. Yet she hasn’t a clue on what any of them are. And if she did, do you think she would still do the photoshoot.
Should Kim K even be the focus of this image or should it be the message? Also, why aren’t people talking about Jean-Paul Goude, the man who had the ideas for this image in the first place?