‘If Vogue can’t identify Muslim girls, why not hire someone who can?’
Fashion magazine Vogue had to apologize after misidentifying a Muslim activist featured in its latest issue. Avoiding such gaffes may be as simple as diversifying its staff, an American Muslim author told RT.
The magazine got into an embarrassing situation after putting the wrong name next to a photo of Libyan-American journalist Noor Tagouri. The botched caption is a common problem with “misrepresentation and misidentification” of Muslim women in the US media, the journalist said.
Amani Al-Khatahtbeh, the founder of muslimgirl.com, a blog about what it’s like to be a young Muslim woman in a Western culture, told RT that the “surest way that we can regulate mistakes like this is by hiring people of color and placing the mic in the hands of people we’re reporting on and the stories that we’re trying to tell.”
Tagouri tweeted a video of herself excitedly opening the magazine to see her feature – but captured her reaction quickly changing to disappointment upon realizing that the fashion magazine had used the wrong name.
I’m SO heartbroken and devastated. Like my heart actually hurts. I’ve been waiting to make this announcement for MONTHS. One of my DREAMS of being featured in American @VogueMagazine came true!! pic.twitter.com/0lzPJoDn9v— Noor (@NTagouri) January 17, 2019
In its apology, Vogue promised to “be more thoughtful and careful” in the future, noting, as if in excuse, that it understood that there was “a larger issue of misidentification in media — especially among nonwhite subjects.”
We even sent this email to @voguemagazine last week bc we this isn’t the first time I’ve been misidentified in publications. Got no response. pic.twitter.com/G5YVzSozqd— Noor (@NTagouri) January 17, 2019
Tagouri said that her team had specifically made sure to send an email to Vogue before publication to ensure the content and caption for the feature were correct. In a lengthier post on Instagram, Tagouri called out the magazine and said it was not the first time that she had been misidentified by the media, explaining that it was a “constant problem” she faced as a Muslim woman. “As much as I work to fight this, there are moments like this where I feel defeated,” she wrote.
Tagouri was dangerously misidentified last year online as the wife of Pulse nightclub shooter Omar Mateen, which led to online harassment.
Hi @RawStory, I am NOT Omar Mateen's wife. Plz acknowledge/correct the errors. PS: same photo you used before...lazy pic.twitter.com/2xtdcgNNgk— Noor (@NTagouri) January 16, 2017
The suggestion that more people should be hired from minority groups, which Al-Khatahtbeh communicated to RT, was also voiced by an anonymous Vogue employee, who said the incident “never would have happened” if there had been any people of color in leadership positions. The former employee accused the magazine of having a “deep-seated discomfort with diversity” which “permeates through every inch of their DNA from the top down,” she said in a scathing interview with Fashionista.
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Noor Tagouri in @GIVENCHYofficial for @VOGUEmagazine: Journalist, Activist, Speaker - and constantly, CONSTANTLY talking about the dangers of misrepresentation and misidentification of marginalized communities. May we teach, grow, build, and LISTEN WITH INTENT from all of our mistakes. It isn’t always easy, but this is why we keep fighting.
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