Why the outrage over Gulnara Karimova's participation in Fashion Week is misguided
Gulnara Karimova, center, seen at fashion week in Moscow / AP Images
The discordant moralism of indulging wealthy tyrant's daughters continues to roil the culture industry. Recall if you will the freakout over Sting performing in Kazakhstan earlier this year. It was slightly misplaced outrage, to say the least. Now, the long-scheduled appearance of Gulnara Karimova, Uzbekistan's tyrant's daughter, at New York's Fashion Week, is spawning similar outrage. A sample, from the New York Post:
Daughter of murderous dictator to unveil spring line at Fashion Week
So long, torture victims. Hello, fashion victims!
The pampered daughter of the murderous dictator of Uzbekistan -- a reviled tyrant who once boiled a political foe alive and has killed, tortured and enslaved thousands of his countrymen -- will unveil her new line of spring creations during Fashion Week at Lincoln Center.
You can probably guess how it ends. Human Rights Watch has gotten in on the action. "There's nothing fashionable about lending a high-profile platform to the senior official of one of the world's most repressive governments," Steve Swerdlow, HRW's Uzbekistan researcher is quoted as saying.
Well, that's true, but let's be real for a moment: GooGooSha, as she's known, showed designs at Fashion Week last year -- right before the annual conscription of children into Uzbekistan's cotton fields, no less! There was hardly the preening outrage over her appearance then. And while Mercedes-Benz certainly deserves jeers for not mentioning her descent from Uzbekistan's dictator in their bio, Karimova's appearance is no last-minute surprise.