UN Women Takes Down Illustration Following Backlash
UN Women recently took down one of their illustrations for Valentine’s Day following heavy backlash from social media.
The cartoon was posted by the official UN Women Twitter account and showed three couples of varying races and orientations holding hands and hugging, while one woman, a black woman, was excluded from the rest, hugging herself instead.
UN Women posted the Illustration on Valentine’s Day, but took it down the very next Monday, saying that they posted the illustration as a way to celebrate diversity in love, but noticed what people were saying on social media. They took the image down after listening to feedback, adding that UN Women works towards ensuring gender equality and empowering women across the world, regardless of their age, race, ethnicity, or sexual orientation.
It replaced the original Illustration with a new GIF featuring multicolored hearts, marked by the phrase ‘love is love’.
The original post was accused by users on social media of leaning into the ‘strong black woman’ stereotype.
Journalist Nadine White tweeted in response to the image, calling foul on the fact that everyone saves the black woman is paired up with a lover, leaving the latter alone to hug herself.
The vast majority of responses to UN Women’s tweets were negative, with many questioning what the international organization was thinking about posting the image. Some were calling for an explanation of the reasoning behind the image, with several comments saying that UN Women was perpetuating the outdated view that black women are undeserving of love.
One particular comment questioned if UN Women was intentional in depicting the stereotype or not, which they wryly note isn’t good either way.
However, the illustration has its defenders, with other users in social media seeing things differently. Some people are saying that the image shows that the black woman is happy being alone and loving herself and that people should stop projecting their views about love and happiness on people who are perfectly content with themselves and being single.
UN Women has received several inquiries on the matter from several news outlets, with the organization replying their message on social media about empowering women, adding that they hope that their social media channels remain a place for people to have conversations about important issues regarding women.