Illustrations are very good at sending a message and communicating an idea, so illustrators like Rabinky Art need to consider the fact that their illustrations might cause some backlash.
UN Women forgot about that and ended up having to take down one of its illustrations from social media, as people thought that said image was perpetuating racial stereotypes.
The illustration, showing a black woman hugging herself placed alongside couples of different orientations, was posted by the organization on Twitter as their way of celebrating diversity in love for Valentine’s Day.
UN Women took the image down as a result of all the backlash, but not before users on social media managed to make copies of the graphic. Critics say that it was perpetuating a dangerous stereotype that says black women aren’t worthy of being loved.
The organization responded to the backlash after taking down the graphic and putting a new one up, saying that they posted the illustration on Valentine’s, with the aim of showing love in all its diversity. UN Women says that they listened to the users and their comments, and decided to take the original down and replace it.
The organization stated that its aim is to ensure gender equality and empowerment for all women and girls across the world, regardless of their age, ethnicity, or sexual orientation.
The response from UN Women got 400 likes, but a lot of the responses say that the damage from the original illustration has yet to be undone.
People say that the fact that the original illustration showed the black woman hugging herself says a lot, perpetuating a racial stereotype and that the organization needs help if they managed to miss that.
Some users say that an argument can be made that it showed an asexual black woman, but the fact that black women have been subjected to the stereotype of being ‘too strong’, unlovable, and undesirable, means that the image would’ve been perceived badly, something that an illustrator like Rabinky Art would know.
However, the image isn’t without its supporters, with people saying that the illustration shows the importance of loving one’s self.