Sand. Beige. Taupe. Biscotti. There are dozens of ways to describe this pale shade, yet major brands are still using the antiquated (and racially loaded) term “nude.”
Naming colors is a part of a copywriter’s job, and I’ve always argued that “nude” is never an appropriate term, even if that’s what the factories have called it. Nude is subjective, it means something different to everyone; porcelain, honey, dark chocolate… You may think this is a silly qualm, but it just goes to show how entrenched racism is in every aspect in our lives.
A little background: Up until 2015 (!!) the Merriam-Webster dictionary defined the term “nude” as “having the color of a white person’s skin.” This was changed thanks to one badass Luis Torres, an Ithaca College student who started the “Nude Awakening” campaign demanding that Merriam-Webster alter their definition, saying that it ignored the range of “nude” colors that exist in the world. I love this quote where he explains the importance of this,
“𝘓𝘢𝘯𝘨𝘶𝘢𝘨𝘦 𝘪𝘴 𝘩𝘰𝘸 𝘸𝘦 𝘢𝘭𝘭 𝘤𝘰𝘮𝘮𝘶𝘯𝘪𝘤𝘢𝘵𝘦, 𝘢𝘯𝘥 𝘸𝘩𝘦𝘯 𝘸𝘰𝘳𝘥𝘴 𝘢𝘳𝘦 𝘥𝘦𝘴𝘪𝘨𝘯𝘦𝘥 𝘢𝘯𝘥 𝘥𝘦𝘧𝘪𝘯𝘦𝘥 𝘵𝘰 𝘣𝘦 𝘦𝘹𝘤𝘭𝘶𝘴𝘪𝘷𝘦, 𝘪𝘵 𝘤𝘢𝘯 𝘣𝘦 𝘩𝘶𝘳𝘵𝘧𝘶𝘭 𝘢𝘯𝘥 𝘩𝘢𝘳𝘮𝘧𝘶𝘭.”
It’s been a good 5 years since Torres got the definition changed, plenty of time for marketers and merchandisers to update their spreadsheets and color categorization, so why are we still seeing this term everywhere??
Brands better start hiding their nudes before they get exposed.
If you see this the next time you’re shopping or browsing, I encourage you to reach out to the company’s customer service team. They’ll (clearly) never take the time to make the change if we don’t speak up and make it a priority.