October 4, 2013

In defense of fashionistas

Here's an NYT article about a lady designer in the brand new country of South Sudan who is pitching fashion as something that might give her country a bit of an international image and something that locals can feel proud of. Who knows if that will work, but it's worth a try because the South Sudanese (such as the Nuer and the Dinka) tend to possess this spindly Avatar-style elegance as if their ancestors had been kidnapped by flying saucers thousands of years ago, and they've been evolving ever since on a lower gravity planet.
On Fashion Runway, South Sudan Takes Steps Toward a National Identity 
JUBA, South Sudan — Even by the standards of fashion models, the women teetering in their high heels on the dirt catwalk here were remarkably tall and slender. But judging by South Sudan’s many towering inhabitants, they were hardly out of the ordinary in the young nation’s capital.

Of the many articles I've ever read about the difficulties of southern Sudan, this is one of the few that mentions what the locals tend to look like: tall. This may have something to do with the fact that it was written from a fashion standpoint.

I always thought that it was a mistake for sympathetic journalists to skip over how distinctive looking southern Sudanese tend to be in the interests of not offending modern customs against Noticing. Without a visual hook for readers to hang the story upon, the long struggle of southern Sudanese to be free of the brown northern Sudanese just sounded like More Bad News Out of Africa.

Fashion folks aren't necessarily the most likable human beings in history, but they do feel themselves exempt from the taboo against seeing with their own two eyes.


Anonymous said...

South Sudan has some very beautiful women. I'm not really big into Africans, but those people have an elegance that no one should ignore.

They're ethnically closely related to the Ugandans. During the colonial era they constantly lobbied the British to join them with Uganda, but they were rebuffed because of Egyptian pressure.

Laguna Beach Fogey said...

South Sudan?

You've got to be kidding. Those people are overwhelmingly Bantu.

For beautiful African women look to Somalia, Eritrea, and Ethiopia.

Anonymous said...

They shouldn't have called their new country South Sudan. When you are trying to break away from something, you need a new name that has no connection to the old place.

Anonymous said...

There are many types of courage, and the courage to call a tall, elegant woman a tall, elegant woman should not be discounted.

Neil Templeton

carol said...

so where do Nubians fit in? I went to trade school with a very black, high cheek-boned. curly haired guy. He was striking but very primitive. For some reason I always thought of him as Nubian, but don't see the type in my google searches.

Fake Herzog said...

Most famous tall male South Sudanese person I know is the Bulls' Luol Deng.

Anonymous said...

The Arabs liked Dinka girls as trophies.