Here’s another one for our collection of instances in which we describe light tan as “nude,” “skin-,” or “flesh-colored” (symbolically erasing the existence of people without light tan skin). Yahoo’s OMG! describes uses the word “nude” to describe the color of Lil’ Kim shirt.
It’s always particularly amazing when they use the word to talk about something a black person is wearing. Like, um, Michelle Obama.
For more examples, see our posts on products designed for white people, the widespread use of such language to describe light tan in the fashion world, and lotion marketed as for “normal to darker skin.” See also our Contexts essay on race and “nude” as a color.
For contrast, see this post about how the generic human in Russian cartoons is colored black instead of white.Lisa Wade, PhD is an Associate Professor at Tulane University. She is the author of American Hookup, a book about college sexual culture; a textbook about gender; and a forthcoming introductory text: Terrible Magnificent Sociology. You can follow her on Twitter and Instagram.