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“First We Define and Then We See. Common cultural assumptions encourage the viewer of this advertisement (top) to see these two women as essentially different. When the face of the black model is flipped horizontally and superimposed over the face of the white model (bottom), however, it becomes evident that socially inscribed racial distinctions defy common sense. Aside from variations in the hue of the skin, these two models could be identical twins, both conforming to a Nordic standard of beauty. Ideas of difference and inequality are simultaneously transmitted by the way the models are posed. While the white model confidently looks out to the desiring eyes of a prospective consumer, the black model’s subordinate position is telegraphed by the palpable admiration she shows for her white counterpart, as seen in the original ad, above.”

Typecasting: On the Arts and Sciences of Human Inequality by Ewen & Ewen.

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