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FHM Philippines covers can be racy, but should never be RACIST. February 25, 2012

Posted by quiapo in badtrip na naman si pierre, Gripes / Flames / Rants, Musings / Random Thoughts, Photos.
Tags: , , , , ,

Major Update: FHM Philippines has issued an apology and will use another cover for their March 2012 issue. You can see their official statement here.

They have deleted the old cover’s picture from their fb page and with this, I have also deleted the reposted image here as I believe I should not be storing racially insensitive images in my personal blog. I hope that other sites that reposted the FHM Philippines’ “stepping out of the shadows” cover would delete their copies as well. I also hope that our friends from all forms of media learn from this issue and become more sensitive to racial and social issues.

The blog posting per se is still intact below, but without the image.


I was involuntarily shutdown from any gimmicks tonight because my right thigh hurts after I sprained it yesterday, so I was wasting my time on FB when a post from FHM Philippines’ Facebook page caught my eye. I’m a sucker for porcelain skinned girls and I wanted to view a bigger version of the picture. So I clicked on the link and this is what I saw:

(Image Deleted for World Peace)

March 2012 FHM Philippines Bela Padilla Cover
Also when you see it, you’ll shitbrix

I had to squint a little and check the details of the photo. It say’s “Bela Padilla: stepping out of the shadows” with a very light skinned Bela Padilla surrounded by five girls. Of the five, it seems three had their bodies (and face) covered in black paint. Er… isn’t that BLACKFACE?

Now, I was pretty surprised to see this. I know FHM has been criticized as a sexist rag, but do they have to be racist as well?  With FHM being an international publication, I don’t understand how the magazine’s editors and art team would fail to recognize the sensitivity of people to blackface.  Blackface has been a tool of racism in America since the early 1800s, where African Americans are stereotyped and lampooned as several comical caricatures. In the US, as well as in most of the western world, the use of blackface has been very controversial and has been generally limited to satire in main stream media, such as in Robert Downey Jr.’s character in Tropic Thunder.

And even without the blackface, the “stepping out of the shadows” theme with “black” girls seemingly worshiping a very light skinned Bela Padilla is pretty racist as well. The photo gives a stark contrast to what people deem attractive/grabs attention as represented by skin tones, with the shadow / unnoticeable “black girls” being mere background to Bela Padilla who’s skin is very light. To me, what this projects is that you can only be noticed (step out of the shadow) if you are light skinned. Now, ain’t that racist?

I posted this reaction on the same FHM post above:

just my two cents: FHM is an international publication and they should’ve been more sensitive to issues on racism. A quick wiki shows that blackface was used to stereotype and lampoon African Americans.

Kung tayo nga, sobrang sensitive natin pag may humihirit ng negative tungkol sa pinoy/Pilipinas, bakit pagdating sa mga african-americans eh napaka-racist pa din natin na napaka-insensitive natin tulad na lang dito sa cover na ‘to. If you don’t want racism to be used against you, be sensitive to other races.

In this day and age, blackface should only be used for satire or social commentary. This isn’t the case in this shoot.

A lot of other netizens have been calling out FHM and their racist photoshoot as well. I do hope that from the negative reaction, they’ll issue a public apology, review their editorial policies, punish the staff responsible for this, and recall the magazine and replace it with something that’s not racist.

Update: someone posted an online petition to recall the magazine issue. If you’re like me and you’re offended (and/or you shat brix upon seeing the blackfaces) , sign it.  http://www.change.org/petitions/for-him-magazine-philippines-to-apologize-for-and-recall-the-racist-march-2012-cover?utm_medium=facebook&utm_source=share_petition&utm_term=share_with_facebook_friends#



1. aliester - February 25, 2012

humihina na siguro fhm kaya pagiging racist towards blacks pinatulan para umingay… tsk tsk.. todas ang pinas nito..

quiapo - February 25, 2012

yeah posible nga, para makalusot ito sa editors… it could be a sad attempt at gaining back popularity.

2. jembunaojem - February 25, 2012

i dont think it’s blackface, just incredibly bad putochap.

it’s like bela padilla is hovering 1000 layers above the group pic. di pa inayos yung lighting mix.

3. Brian - February 27, 2012

FHM is recalling the cover before print. But I looked at it carefully and see no derogatory image or suggestions in it. So what if she has fairer skin than her co-models? Does it matter if she uses the word “shadows? Only a racist-sensitive mind would choose to interpret the art as an insult to anyone. The world is awash with people trying to find the smallest fault with others concerning their honor, pride or dignity. A confident person would not have even noticed the possible racist interpretation of this image.

quiapo - February 27, 2012

Being confident doesn’t mean that you should be ignorant to social/racial issues such as this. The main issue here is in the portrayal of the dark skinned girls as mere “shadows” and the fact that they even had to paint the other girls’ bodies black just so that Bela Padilla’s body would be in stark contrast to the others. If you find nothing wrong with painting someone’s body’s black, read up on blackface.

Also, note that majority of the foreigners, and all of the black people that went to the original fb post reacted negatively to the image. I researched a little and the only black person that didn’t think the image was racist was a friend of Bela Padilla.

And as for having a racist-sensitive mind, well, we are sensitive to racism so your statement is partly correct. We don’t want to be ostracized or judged because of our skin color, so we try to stop racism against others as well and call out those that we think are offensive.

If I had a racist-sensitive mind as you claim, I would’ve dismissed your comments as coming from an insensitive/ignorant Caucasian. But I’m not, so I won’t.

Also, a quick google search on your email shows that you’ve been chasing local tail all over the internet, so your judgement might be affected by the girls in the image being in bikinis.

4. Marisse - February 29, 2012

Philippines, calm down. Don’t be a victim of consumerism. FHM had one ultimate reason of doing that. See it here..


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