There’s a lot of talk about the new Vogue cover, with angry twitter trolls pouncing on it’s faux diversity, coupled with a critique on Ashley Graham’s decision to cover her thigh with her hand instead of proudly displaying her curves. Graham has spoken out, saying that she chose her pose, and the powers that be at Vogue did not demand it.
The new Vogue cover was an attempt to feature women of different backgrounds, races, and sizes, which includes (from left to right), Liu Wen, Ashley Graham, Kendall Jenner, Gigi Hadid, Imaan Hammam, Adwoa Aboah, and Vittoria Ceretti. Though it’s an admirable effort, many readers also pointed out that everyone featured is light-skinned.
I have a few observations here. First, calling out Ashley Graham’s pose is equivalent to saying, “Why didn’t you show your fat leg?!” The effort to protect her thereby becomes latent, online bullying. Second, Vogue brought this on themselves. If you want to feature diversity, then don’t style all of your models to look exactly the same. They should not all be wearing black turtle necks with polka-dot bottoms so as to suggest that they look alike. It’s a major fail that will inevitably lead to comparison. Diversity celebrates our differences, and this cover strips its models of that. Lastly, I agree that this could have been generally more diverse. Using Ashley Graham doesn’t remove your responsibility to feature more realistic frames. We need to move from the term “plus-size” to actual, real women. The traditional model frame is dated in today’s society, and Vogue isn’t catching up.