The Pakistani High Commission in London recently started a campaign to raise Pakistan’s cultural profile by painting some double decker buses in truck art style and send them around London. These are part of the 70th anniversary of Pakistan independence to be celebrated later this year.
According to Radio Pakistan:
“Fully wrapped double-decker buses are showcasing the pristine beauty of Pakistan with its highest peaks, beautiful landscape, rare fauna, monuments representing ancient civilization, magnificent architecture and rich and diverse culture.”
All well and good, but is this included with the rare fauna and the pristine beauty?
I don’t know who the geniuses were at the High Commission who thought that this was a good idea. The Land of Beautiful Faces seems to only have space for young, Caucasian-looking women. The message: “Come to Pakistan to ogle our girls”. We should not be promoting our country by objectifying women and showing our preference for white skin. And etishizing young, pretty white-skinned women for western consumption is the wrong way to promote Pakistan’s diversity. I think we could do better than this thinly-designed ad for Fair & Lovely.
There is one more aspect to this image that I hadn’t considered until later today: these are Kalash women, long considered exotic and unique even within Pakistan. Look closely between girls 1 and 2 and you’ll see a white man standing there staring at them. I’m sorry if my criticism makes me sound like a feminist killjoy, but the women of Gilgit-Baltistan are not a resource to be used to lure white men to Pakistan to look at them. That is both sexist and racist. I’m pretty sure nobody from GB designed this ad.