Trending: Chinese Fashion Photographer in Dior Controversy Apologizes

By David Schonauer   Tuesday November 30, 2021

“I have reflected deeply and blamed myself for my naivety.”

So said Chinese fashion photographer Chen Man as she recently apologized for work that online critics have called it insulting to the Chinese people. The backlash over Chen's work erupted over an image she created for the Dior fashion brand (at top).

“The picture featured a tan, freckled model of Asian descent wearing traditional Chinese clothing while holding a black Lady Dior bag. It was criticized for perpetuating Western stereotypes of East Asian faces and failing to represent beauty standards in the region, which typically favor fairer skin and large eyes,” noted NBC News. The photo was removed from display at a Dior fashion exhibition in Shanghai in the wake of the controversy.

The Hollywood Reporter noted that criticism over Chen’s past work was reported by China’s state-owned Global Times newspaper, which said that comments on social media had called her work “implicit child pornography and insulting the young pioneers,” the name of a Communist Party-affiliated youth organization.

“I think that I must still formally apologize to everyone,” Chen said on social media. “I am Chinese, born and raised, and I deeply love our country,” she added. ”I know that as an artist, I shoulder the responsibility of documenting and showcasing Chinese culture through my work. I will study more history and attend more relevant events to strengthen my ideologies.”

Chen “joins numerous Chinese and foreign celebrities, brands and artists who have made public apologies following criticism of their work in state media,” noted The Hollywood Reporter. “Some have been boycotted for refusing to apologize or if the apology is deemed insufficient.”

Dior said the deleted photo was part of an art project and not an advertisement, adding on its  Chinese social media account that the company “respects the feelings of Chinese people” and “strictly abides by Chinese laws and regulations.” NBC News noted that China “offers a huge market for luxury brands and could be set to become the world’s largest luxury market by 2025, according to some estimates.”

in 2019, the Global Times described Chen as China’s answer to Annie Leibovitz, calling her a “shining star” with a unique perspective. But, notes NBC, she also made headlines in 2012 when social media users similarly took issue with her depictions of different Chinese ethnic minorities for British fashion magazine i-D.

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