Fashion retailer Zara has published photographs of model Jing Wen with her freckles visible, sparkling a wave of controversy online as people in China debate whether the ad is insulting or not.
In China, flawless, pale skin is considered beautiful and many online were surprised to see Jing Wen, whose real name is Li Kingwen, appear with her freckles on show when Zara shared its lipstick campaign on Chinese social media site Weibo.
Some felt angry and accused the Spanish clothing brand of ‘uglifying’ Chinese people, while others seemed to be in denial. “Sorry, we Asian women do not have freckles,” one wrote. “It is not sensitive to the people of the country,” said another.
“Does Zara mean all Asian girls have freckles on their faces?” another person asked, the South China Morning Post reported. A few people even speculated that Zara may have meant to insult Chinese people.
“Our models are all photographed purely, the pictures aren’t changed, and they’re not modified,” Zara said in a statement to the BBC. “She has always looked like this. Her face has not been photoshopped, she was photographed naturally.”
Groundless overreaction by the Chinese in an age where airbrushing and layers of thick make-up is the norm vs natural beauty.
— Nai Yee (@naiyee_118) February 19, 2019
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