Not so much “Hello, Gorgeous!” as “Hello, Racism!”
Early in January, the online version of Cosmopolitan US published an article called “21 Beauty Trends that need to Die in 2015”.
The article compared looks that needed to “R.I.P” versus beauty trends deemed “Gorgeous”.
The judging began innocently enough, with feathery lashes and half-shaved heads branded as looks that shouldn’t return in 2015.
But controversy soon arose when commenters pointed out that not one dark-skinned woman was used in the images representing the ‘gorgeous’ looks that deserved to stay.
Every woman the magazine picked as gorgeous was white. The only exception was Nicole Ritchie, who is bi-racial.
The only time women of colour appeared in the article was when their looks were used to demonstrate trends that needed to R.I.P.
Readers took to social media to voice their disgust with Cosmopolitan’s choice of looks, accusing the magazine of racism.
Cosmopolitan editors have since responded to the backlash and updated the article with this note:
This incident was by no means the first time magazines have been accused of racism.
A 2014 diversity report found white models appeared on magazine covers five times more than models of colour.
And when dark-skinned celebs do grace the magazine covers, accusations of “whitewashing” – to make the model’s skin lighter – often follow.
Oscar-winner and star of 12 Years a Slave Lupita Nyong’o’s skin was noticeably different in a photo shoot with Vanity Fair magazine last year.
But writer Julia Sonenshein, who blogged about the incident on The Gloss, said the magazine would likely argue the lighting “blew her [skin] out”.
“In an industry where every single detail is manipulated to be perfect, it just isn’t possible that everyone fell down on the job and forgot that her skin tone was totally off. There’s just not a chance that this was an accident,” she wrote.
“To perpetuate an idea that the most flattering picture of a black actress is one where her blackness is altered is straight up racist, and if you don’t see that, then you’re frankly part of the problem.”