This, however, can only be part of the explanation. There is also evidence that ethnic women have been ambivalent about their own kind of look for many years. For decades, women with dark skin the world over have tried to make their skin paler or their hair straighter, sometimes with dangerous chemicals. The model Alek Wek recently told Vogue India that, in her native Sudan, her dark skin is looked down on by lighter-skinned Sudanese. “What is this obsession with pigment?” she asked. Marriage adverts in India newspapers unselfconsciously express a preference for fair or wheat-coloured skin in women. Japanese and Chinese women regularly have cosmetic operations to remove the fold of skin above their eyes, so they look more like a “round-eyed” European, and dye their hair blonde. As Doukas said of a photoshoot in Japan recently: “The girls just didn't look Japanese. It was very sad.” Indeed, in my copy of Japanese Vogue, there was a total absence of Japanese models. “I am black but comely,” says the beautiful women in the Old Testament's Song of Songs. Why the “but”?