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.
Kanye West is nothing if not determined. He wanted his girl on the cover of Vogue, even if it meant he had to join her for the feat. It’s a pretty clever tactic, actually. Anna Wintour appeased Kanye’s ambition and justified the choice with his personal talent. Everybody wins.
You can put a pretty bow on your controversial choices with a stock-house explanation, but that doesn’t make it any less questionable. ‘Girls’ Executive Producer and Writer, Lena Dunham covered Vogue, and she explained her decision to bare all for the HBO series, saying, “It’s a complicated thing. I want people ultimately, even if they’re disturbed by certain moments, to feel bolstered and normalized by the sex that’s on the show.” She also added that, “Seeing somebody who looks like you having sex on television is a less comfortable experience than seeing somebody who looks like nobody you’ve ever met.” While I understand the argument, I must still lay into it’s lunacy.
I’ve followed ‘Girls’ since it’s debut, and the excessive nudity has almost pushed me to flee the show. I never questioned Samantha Jones’ nudity, because it made sense for the character. Kim Cattrall’s promiscuous Sex and the City character broke down barriers for women. It put our gender on par with men, who are socially allowed to sexually misbehave, while women are not. Her nudity was also appropriately played into each scene, and the artistic blend kept me immersed in the story. Unlike ‘Sex and the City,’ it’s as if Lena Dunham is proving a point at the expense of the scene. Sure it’s possible that she adequately represents “real life,” but if I wanted my television to be that real, I’d watch a documentary. There’s a delicate dance between art and reality, but the former is just fine with me.
Well this is one for the record books. An A-list celebrity actually disclosed something personal without slinging mud. When asked about her ex-husband, Russell Brand, Katy Perry told Vogue, “He’s a very smart man, a magical man and I was in love with him when I married him. Let’s just say I haven’t heard from him since he texted me saying he was divorcing me December 31, 2011.” I’m sure Brand has his own side, but that certainly makes me feel better about some of my own personal breakup stories.