Ok, this isn’t about a certain candidate’s pick for vice president. Now, that was, to me and other women I know, just about the most cynical thing I can think of. I really can’t add any more to the debate over this person than has already been out there.

So, not only was the pick of this governor from a non-contiguous state the very definition of cynicism, but I came upon this in the New York Times last week:

Here’s the opening few paragraphs:

NEW DELHI — An old woman missing her upper front teeth holds a child in rumpled clothes — who is wearing a Fendi bib (retail price, about $100).

A family of three squeezes onto a motorbike for their daily commute, the mother riding without a helmet and sidesaddle in the traditional Indian way — except that she has a Hermès Birkin bag (usually more than $10,000, if you can find one) prominently displayed on her wrist.

Elsewhere, a toothless barefoot man holds a Burberry umbrella (about $200).

Welcome to the new India — at least as Vogue sees it.

Vogue India’s August issue presented a 16-page vision of supple handbags, bejeweled clutches and status-symbol umbrellas, modeled not by runway stars or the wealthiest fraction of Indian society who can actually afford these accessories, but by average Indian people.

So, here we have a baby used as a prop (where have we seen this before?) wearing a $100 bib. I really don’t know anyone who would spend this money for this sort of thing, and I live in a developed country. Who knows why Indian Vogue did this. A subtle wink wink, elbow to the ribs for the viewer that people are still in poverty, but getting a job in a developed nation making luxury goods will move one out of poverty? Who is this supposed to appeal to? Do the Indian nouveau riche want to show off their kid’s bib by saying, yeah, how clever, the bib was in a shoot with India’s poor?

I’ve not been to India, but I’ve been to plenty of developing countries in Asia. I can’t pretend to know what goes on in the minds of the editors of Vogue, but exploiting poor people to sell luxury goods is just, well, cynical. And, I thought we were moving on to hope these days.


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Filed under luxury, sweatshop

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