Lily Cole has revealed she’s ‘learnt a lot’ after she was slammed for posing in an Afghani burqa to promote her new book on climate change as Afghanistan fell into the tyrannical and misogynistic hands of the Taliban – and added her five-year-old daughter actually chose the photo.
The British supermodel, 33 years old, now lives in Portugal, with her boyfriend Kwame ferreira and their five-year old daughter Wylde.
She shared the post to “celebrate diversity” and promote her new book about sustainability. Later, she deleted the photos and apologized. They were posted as Taliban took over Afghanistan in August. The Taliban forced women to wear burkas when they last ruled in the 1990s.
“Well, I stand behind my quote, what i wrote about diversity, and all types of diversities,” she said on the radio. That is what I stand by wholeheartedly. It’s a big ethos in everything that I do. Respecting other cultures and learning from them is a key ethos.
Lily Cole has been criticised for wearing an Afghani Burqa to promote her book on climate change. Afghanistan fell into the hands of the misogynistic, tyrannical Taliban forces.
Before she deleted the Instagram post from her account, there were dozens of comments.
She continued, “In terms image, I think what you really learnt is that you shouldn’t post on Facebook when your not reading the news. Because I had been away for a couple of weeks taking an intentional break from all things social media and from the media and spending time with my child. I knew the book was coming out so I started creating posts about it.
“I actually, I mean she doesn’t blame me at all, but I had shown a bunch pictures of myself to my daughter to ask her: “Oh, which one should you put with it?” She chose that image. She didn’t understand the context because she was a child’s naivety.
The model and climate campaigner posted two photos to Instagram of her wearing the face cover.
One photo shows her with a blue veil covering her face, while the second shows her looking directly at the camera. The provocative photos were uploaded by her to promote her book Who Cares Wins: Reasons for Optimism In A Changing World.
She encouraged her followers to purchase her book and wrote, “It’s out.” Let’s embrace diversity at every level: biodiversity, cultural diversity, diversity of thought; diversity in voices; diversity among ideas.
Lily spoke on Woman’s Hour to explain that she has many Muslim friends, and felt’sympathetic’ towards the issues and the ‘rising islamophobia’ in her culture.
Lily posted an apology on Instagram with links to Afghan women’s organizations she claims she donated to.
She said, “And that was the intention with whom I put it together.” I didn’t look at the media, and that was my huge mistake. I immediately apologised, took it down, and have spent more time trying to understand the specific issues surrounding that particular garment. I don’t believe I was sufficiently educated at the time I posted it.
“And so, I’ve been meeting peoples from Afghanistan, talking to my Muslim friends and learning more. So yes, I think I learned a lot.
The campaigner continued to state that she believes it’s important that the public can backlash’ as that’s how we learn and grow as a culture. But she also stressed the importance for pushing against violent language online.
Emma continued to ask Lily if she was subject to violent language abuse and threats. Lily replied, “Yeah, I was.” Although I didn’t take part in it enough to see all of it, I saw enough violence and hostility that I felt like I was just checking out. I’ve seen it happen to others before.
“We are all very familiar with that. You know, I have spoken out before about not agreeing to that culture online in the past.
“I think it’s a very dangerous cultural because it silences people. It makes people afraid to do wrong. It is not only a dangerous way to solve problems, but violence and aggression are also harmful.
Lily uploaded these provocative photos in promotion of her new book Who cares Wins: Reasons for Optimism In Our Changing World
Many quickly criticized the photo, saying that she was guilty of cultural appropriation and putting Instagram gesturing above human right’.
At the time, many were quick to criticise the now-deleted picture, saying Lily was guilty of ‘cultural appropriation’ and ‘putting Instagram gesturing above human rights’.
“The oppression of Afghan girls must be fought, and not cosplayed.” This is unacceptable,’ one wrote.
The photos, which were posted by her 95,000 followers, remained online for three days before they were removed.
Shortly thereafter, she apologized profusely, stating that the burqa was a gift from a friend and that she was unaware of the Taliban’s advance into Afghanistan. She also stated that the timing of the post was ‘incredibly poor’.
It was posted in Kabul at the time that the Taliban took control of the country. They posed in the presidential palace to secure their power, prompting many Afghan women fleeing the country in terror.
During the Taliban regime in the 1990s, women were required to cover their heads and toes. They were not allowed to attend school or work, and they were not allowed to leave their home unless they were accompanied by a male relative.
She later apologized for her mistake, but she said she had earlier justified her choice, saying that the garment was Pakistani and that her diversity meant choice’.
A British soldier guards hundreds of civilians as they are loaded onto an evacuation flight at Kabul Airport after the tarmac had been cleared of thousands of people desperate to flee.
Many people gather in front of Kabul’s international airport, Afghanistan. The Taliban declared an “amnesty” across Afghanistan and encouraged women to join their government. This was in an attempt to convince a wary population that things have changed.
Janice Turner, The Times columnist, wrote on Twitter: Janice Turner slammed the model and said: ‘Lily Cole. And the vacuity modern hashtagfeminism. Put Instagram posturing above universal human rights.
“I bet Afghan women are celebrating their ‘diversity,’ by wearing this shroud.”
Activist Caroline Criado Perez – who successfully campaigned to get Jane Austin’s face on the £10 note – added: ‘I just went to check her Insta as I couldn’t believe that would be recent (not that it would be ok if it were not) and… three days ago. Holy s*** Why?’
Dickie James MBE, CEO of Staffordshire Women’s Aid, added: “White, Western Identity Politics and Privilege pretending to Be Feminnism.” Yuk!
Another Twitter user wrote: “Playing dress up like a subjugated women. That is definitely a sign of a well-rounded personality.
“The self-indulgence and lack awareness she displays is astounding.” Another said that she was so inept and stupid.
Others pointed out that she was insensitive for using nail polish in the photographs. This is because many Afghan girls had to have their fingers amputated when they wore nail polish in 1990s Afghanistan.
The 33-year-old model married Kwame Ferreira, an entrepreneur, in 2012. They have been living together in Portugal for the past year with Wylde, their five-year old daughter. (The couple were photographed in London in 2016).
Lily, who came out last week as ‘queer,’ posted an apology on Instagram with links to Afghan women’s organisations she said she had donated to.
She wrote: “This week I posted an older photo of myself wearing a burqa loaned by a friend. She pointed out that my face was exposed and I was undermining its original purpose. But I understand why the image upset people, and I sincerely apologize for any offense.
“I didn’t read the news when I posted it so it was extremely ill-timed (thanks for pointing this out to me).
“My heart breaks reading about the current events in Afghanistan, and I was looking for organizations that can help women on the ground, so I thought I’d share some of the ones I’ve donated/found.
She had apologized, but she had previously defended her decision, saying that she believed the garment was from Pakistan and that her ‘diversity’ meant she could choose.