Beyond the pale


Published August 11, 2008 5:10PM (EDT)



Last week, the blogosphere was abuzz with harsh words for cosmetics company L'Oréal, after gossip site TMZ highlighted its ad that showed spokeswoman Beyoncé not only with much lighter hair (thanks to the product in question) but much lighter skin. "Unless she just got vitiligo," wrote the TMZ staff, "L'Oreal has some serious splaining to do."

Well, now the company has 'splained that it didn't do anything to the photo. In a statement, L'Oréal representatives said, "It is categorically untrue that L'Oréal Paris altered Ms. Knowles' features or skin tone in the campaign for Feria hair color." Beyoncé's people had no comment beyond that.

I can't say I blame them. When I look at this side-by-side comparison of the Feria ad and a recent photo of the singer and actress, I have no words.

By Kate Harding

Kate Harding is the author of Asking For It: The Alarming Rise of Rape Culture--and What We Can Do About It, available from Da Capo Press in August 2015. Previously, she collaborated with Anna Holmes, Amanda Hess, and a cast of thousands on The Book of Jezebel, and with Marianne Kirby on Lessons from the Fat-o-Sphere. You might also remember her as the founding editor of Shapely Prose (2007-2010). Kate's essays have appeared in the anthologies Madonna & Me, Yes Means Yes, Feed Me, and Airmail: Women of Letters. She holds an M.F.A. in fiction from Vermont College of Fine Arts and a B.A. in English from University of Toronto, and is currently at work on a Ph.D. in creative writing from Bath Spa University

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