Some people are offended by Kim Kardashian’s Vogue India covers

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While I’m half-Indian, I am not going to sit here and pretend like I speak for the Indian or Indian-American community. All I can say is that I’m not offended whatsoever by seeing Kim on the cover of Vogue India. The international editions of Vogue often get cover girls who are not the nationality or ethnicity being represented by that particular Vogue edition. The simple fact that an Armenian-American reality star covers an Indian fashion magazine is just… whatever, a nothingburger controversy to me. But people were mad about it.

Kim Kardashian may be celebrating her seventh Vogue cover, but not everyone is praising the reality TV star’s latest accomplishment in the fashion world. The 37-year-old mother of three unveiled one of two covers she shot for the March issue of Vogue India on Monday, sparking negative comments from readers who felt that a South Asian talent should have been featured instead. Kardashian is of Armenian descent.

This isn’t the first time the fashion magazine has faced backlash over choosing the famous family. Back in May 2017, Vogue India received similar criticism when they chose Kardashian’s younger sister Kendall Jenner to grace their cover. Vogue India quickly released a statement defending Jenner’s casting at the time.

“In the last 10 years, Vogue India has had only 12 international covers, including Kendall Jenner in 2017,” they claimed. “Therefore, statistically, 90% of our covers are Indian! And we are proud of that. India has given the world so many beautiful faces to admire. After all, we are Vogue, an international brand, and we want to give the love back by featuring some of the best international celebrities on over covers. Occasionally!”

Back in 2012, Kardashian disappointed the Indian community with an offensive remark. In an episode of “Keeping Up With the Kardashians,” Kardashian told her family she thinks Indian food is “disgusting.” The comment drew numerous criticisms on social media, prompting her to address the statement on her blog.

“In NO way was [my comment] intended as an insult to the Indian people or their culture,” wrote the E! star, as reported by Us Weekly at the time. “This is just my personal taste. There are lots of food I don’t like… I hate cilantro and peppers, and there are definitely some Armenian foods that I personally find disgusting, but that doesn’t reflect my opinions on other Armenian people or my culture.” Kardashian added, “My comment wasn’t intended to offend anybody. We all have our own opinions and tastes and I was simply expressing mine.”

[From Page Six]

I completely forgot that Kim talked sh-t about Indian food. Well, that doesn’t bother me either – Indian food isn’t for everyone, and there are several Indian dishes that are gross to me too. As for the other issue about Kim wearing Indian clothing on the covers and in the photos… I’ve said this before, but my late father always said that he wished more women – of every ethnicity and nationality – would wear saris because they’re the most beautiful articles of clothing in the world. In the Vogue India photos, Kim’s wearing various typical Indian clothing, including a lehenga. To me, there’s a difference between culture appropriation versus simply wearing different kinds of clothing which is popular in other countries. Kim’s not wearing a lehenga and calling herself an Indian woman now – she’s just an American woman who was styled in some Indian fashion looks. Plus, people would have complained if Kim did a photoshoot with Vogue India and only wore American and European clothing too. So, yeah, still not offended, but I’m open to hearing why other people might be.

kim vogue india

Photos courtesy of Vogue India.

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44 Responses to “Some people are offended by Kim Kardashian’s Vogue India covers”

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  1. Shambles says:

    I appreciate this post because I’m part of a spiritual community that, while interfaith and generally agnostic, has Hindu roots. I, a white woman, have been wanting to purchase a salwar kameez for formal events, but I don’t quite know where the boundaries are here. I appreciate your insight, Kaiser

    • me says:

      Shambles, you can’t make everyone happy. I’m Indian and I don’t mind seeing non-Indians wear Indian clothing. I was bullied a lot as a kid and called P*ki a lot. It really hurt. So to know there are non-Indians now a days that actually LIKE my culture and want to wear my traditional clothing actually makes me happy. I can’t speak for everyone though. Some Indian people do NOT like it and I can understand their side too.

    • Katie says:

      First of all, Kim looks amazing in this dress. It is so much more flattering then her typical attire. That said, I’m all for freedom of fashion and I hate feeling stuck to only the profiles that are flattering on my curvy body.
      Secondly, appropriation is tough. It can be so gray area. I recently married into a Sri Lankan family and when my husband posted the sarees and formal sarong are welcomed, I immediately received questions from my white family members asking where to buy a saree. I was so worried. I’ve never felt comfortable wearing traditional or formal Sri Lankan clothing because I would be offending a culture. I was worried my family would offend his family.

      • notafan says:

        I am not a Kim K fan. Far from it but she looks amazing in these photos. I know its due to her recent surgeries or major doses of botox. What is crqazy is that she sure looks great in person but looks identical to a blow up doll and all its part when you see her in person. I have seen her twice in public and her body and facial are way out of proportions of the norm. Never thought she needed surgery but with the rate shes going at I can’t see it continuing to go uphill.

      • ElleC says:

        I tend to feel white folks shouldn’t wear other folks’ traditional dress out of basic respect for the fact that generations of white people sought to ridicule/erase traditional clothing as function of colonization. In your situation I think everyone’s heart was in the right place, but I can see why you would feel uncomfortable.

    • Tan says:

      I am Indian and I am blessed with friends who appreciate my culture. I don’t wear saree that often and its very difficult for me. And one of my white friends wear saree better than me. I see appreciation when people try to eat Indian food and Wear Indian dresses.

      So just go ahead and Wear.

      Shambles: you can buy ready to wear stiched sarees these days. I personally prefer the saree look. It can be classy elegant and sexy as hell depending on the material and the way you wrap it.

  2. Imqrious2 says:

    Ugh, I am offended just by seeing her! When will this no-talent plastic family just disappear!? (And yes, I “see” the juxtaposition of posting here and not wanting to “see” her. Hard not to, when she/they are shoved in our faces 24/7).

  3. minx says:

    I’m just offended by her and her family in general.

  4. Mina says:

    I would love to know if the criticism is coming from readers in India or from readers in the United States. I can’t speak for the Indian community, but I live in a South American country and I’ve never seen anyone complained over an international figure on the cover of a magazine. I also wonder if the criticism is because it’s Kim Kardashian more than the fact it’s not a south Asian talent featured there.

  5. Yo says:

    I think maybe people are just fed up with her. Plus its not like she has a history of being respectful towards other cultures

  6. OG Cleo says:

    Calling Indian food “disgusting” has got to be in the top five dumbest things anyone from this family has ever said. Indian food is hecking delicious, Kimberly.

    • Kitty says:

      I can’t stand Indian food, I also find it disgusting. Not everyone likes the same things

      • OG Cleo says:

        I mean, I think there’s a difference between saying “I personally don’t like Mexican food” (which is the case with me) and “Mexican food is disgusting.” The latter just seems insulting, IMO.

      • me says:

        You have the right not to like it. But just wondering, what kind of Indian food did you try? India is a large country with many different tasting food depending on where it came from. Up north has different food from South India. East part has different food from Western part. So unless you’ve tried it ALL, you can’t really say you can’t stand Indian food. That’s like someone trying dill pickle chips for the first time and saying “ok I don’t like chips”. No, you only tried ONE flavor though…you might like another flavor of chips though. Do you have any idea how many Indian curries there are? They all have different ingredients.

      • me says:

        @ OG

        I remember the episode where Kim and Kendall were discussing Indian food. They had such looks of disgust on their faces and it’s just the way Kim said it…it was really insulting and ignorant to be honest. She probably tried Indian food one time and decided it all must be disgusting. I can bet you if someone said the same about Armenian food, she’d call them ignorant.

    • Kitty says:

      @me
      I toured India about eight years ago, my two best friends (sisters) have lots of family there. Very interesting experience, lots of beautiful stuff to see. I tried a lot of food over the month I spent there and can honestly say I didn’t enjoy it. I don’t like curry and a lot of the other spices they use. It all gave me heartburn and indigestion. But that’s just me, I know lots of people who love it

      • me says:

        Ok thanks for sharing. The fact you actually tried Indian food in India (can’t get more authentic than that) and still don’t like it means you REALLY don’t like Indian food lol ! At least you tried it more than once before deciding.

      • Kitty says:

        I can be a pretty picky eater. I traveled a lot in my early twenties and tried a lot of different food, my least favourite places were India and Japan, loved a lot of the people and met and they are both beautiful places, but I couldn’t stomach the food at all.

      • jwoolman says:

        The taste for spices might be set early, so if you don’t grow up with them- there’s a good chance you won’t be able to tolerate them or at least not in native quantities.

        A grad student from India brought a simple curried dish to a potluck. It was pretty much just rice and familiar veg like peas and then the spices. Us wimpy Midwesterners all said the same thing – it was tasty but very very spicy. He said he had used only 1/10 of the usual dose of spices, knowing how fragile we were….

        Another grad student from Israel was nonchalantly covering his slice of pizza with those dried peppers that Italian restaurants had on the table. I said that looks interesting and proceeded to do the same. Nearly died… Well, figuratively. I don’t think I had ever even known what to do with those things before, so my mouth was definitely not ready for it.

    • Beth says:

      There’s food that I think is “disgusting.” In my opinion, almost all vegetables are “disgusting, ” but I don’t mean to offend everyone who likes them. There is Indian food I enjoy, but not everyone has to like the same things. Yuck, ick, disgusting, and gross are words I’ve used to describe foods and drinks that don’t taste good to me, I just don’t say it in front of the person who made it

    • M4lificent says:

      What bothers me is that she used the word “disgusting”, especially knowing that she’s being filmed. “Disgusting” has a tone that implies that there is something inherently wrong with the food itself. She could have just politely said that she doesn’t care for the flavor. Calling an entire cuisine disgusting is just childish coming from a grown woman.

      I don’t tend to like some Indian food and some Mexican food because I don’t like the taste of cumin, which is used a lot in both cuisines. It’s the only spice I don’t like, but it doesn’t mean that I hate the entire cuisine of those nations. So in restaurants, I’ve learned to cherry-pick the dishes that don’t have cumin. My close friends who cook Mexican and Indian are considerate of my “cumin issue” and prepare dishes for me that don’t have a lot of cumin. And when I am a guest at the home of acquaintances, I eat cumin-filled dishes with a smile on my face because that’s what a courteous guest does.

    • notafan says:

      What!? she said that? Indian food is by far the best food I have ever eaten. Wow thats just idiotic of her.

  7. Nadia says:

    I am from the South Asian community. I have to say that most people from my parents generation (I am in my late 30s) love seeing non Indians in our traditional outfits. My mom is happiest when she helps non Indians put on sarees at wedding events. There are some in the younger generation who might take offense but generally, unless it is done to mock and insult, we enjoy seeing others take an interest in our culture. I am not a Kardashian fan but in the one picture I have see, she looks lovely in the lehenga. So Shambles please go ahead and wear that salwar kameez!

  8. Theodora says:

    I don’t understand why this woman is on the cover of any magazine, in any country. She’s not a model, she’s not an actress, she’s just somebody famous for a sex tape, plastic surgery and a crappy “reality” show. What’s the point of choosing her ridiculous surgically altered looks for a Vogue cover?

  9. why says:

    most “Indian” restaurants outside of India don’t cook proper Indian food. They make it weird and sweet. Authentic Indian is heaven

    • jwoolman says:

      Aren’t there items that are either unspiced or lightly spiced in Indian food? I’ve seen recipes for flatbread that look okay for the spice-challenged. I would just ask the people there to guide me to something that I can eat more comfortably, if I got heartburn or other issues from the spices. Or just fill up on rice with just a small amount of the spiced foods if I could tolerate a low level (I’m like that with jalapeños, I like the taste but my mouth and stomach seem to disagree). Nobody really wants a guest to suffer from eating their food. And people are smart enough to know that foreigners can’t always deal with the spice level if they grew up with blander food.

  10. Mabs A'Mabbin says:

    There is food from most every culture I love, like, dislike and find disgusting-have-to-spit-out. Love Indian clothing so so much and wanted to buy, but was intimidated about wearing. I don’t want to offend. I’m also with everyone here on the Kardashian front. Go. Away. But devil’s advocate and all, she’s fully clothed in these pics so thx, Kimmy-poo, for posing with fabric.

  11. I'm confused says:

    I’m not indian. I’m a muslim south east asian working as a college instructor in islamic university and I’ve been wearing salwar kameez since I was still a student. It goes along very well with my hijab. My colleagues from India and Pakistan often brought me salwar kameez as gifts since everybody knows I love it.
    Seriously I don’t understand where is the line for cultural appropriation. For instance, in my case I’m not taking advantage of indian culture for money. I wear salwar kameez because it’s beautiful and I feel comfortable wearing it.

  12. Mimz says:

    1. I like the cover
    2. Everything is offensive [eyeroll]
    3. Every food is different for everyone. So she said some dumb shit on TV years ago, on top of all the shit she has said before and after. Whatever I’ve told my mom repeatedly I hate some of our traditional mozambican dishes and that i will find it disgusting till the end of days. I tell it to other people too. That love it. Whatever. And we have lots of indian food influences here as well.
    4. Get over it. Kim and the Kardashians are famous and generate Money for lots of businesses so, dislike them all you want, they will be around for as long as they do generate money for themselves and others.
    5. I don’t like or support them, I love fashion, beautiful pictures and I think they nailed it in this editorial.

    It really is a non issue TO ME in this specific situation.

  13. Jay says:

    Meh. I’m south asian and this is nothing, IMO. Now, if Kim were wearing a bindi, or was wearing our clothes as a costume (like, on Halloween, or “for the gram,” like in some weird yoga pose thing that’s clearly not respectful), THEN I’d be upset. As for white people liking our food and music, have at it. But the clothing – particularly the bindi – that’s where nonSouthAsians need to be careful. And I’m careful saying that, too, because part of the African diaspora was to Hindustan, so there are Black-Desis, and so I never want to make them feel Othered in their OWN culture! The world is fascinating. But white women in bindis is always going to be a hard NO.

  14. Janetdr says:

    Just because you don’t like some food doesn’t mean it’s disgusting! I love Thai food but only a few Indian dishes. Just going to mention that I love clothing made by a woman’s cooperative in India (Marketplace of India if it’s okay to post that?). Great place to buy some salwars!