Vogue’s ‘Modern American Woman’ Cover Isn’t All That Diverse, According to Social Media

Shaking things up. Vogue likely meant well when it released its March 2017 cover story celebrating the magazine’s 125th year in print, as well as the “modern American woman.” To do that, the glossy tapped Gigi Hadid, Kendall Jenner, Ashley Graham, Vittoria Ceretti, Imaan Hammam, Adwoa Aboah and Liu Wen to represent what the magazine describes as “The Great Beauty Shake-up.” 

Vogue
Inez and Vinoodh/Vogue

“In a climate of immigration bans and building walls, the biggest names in 2017 make the case that there isn’t just one type of American girl — nor has there ever been,” writer Maya Singer noted in the article accompanying the cover story. 

But readers and social media users are accusing the publication of sticking to the status quo. Aside from plus-sized Graham, the other six models are tall and skinny. And for the most part, all seven models have light to medium skin tones. Some eagle-eyed fans even accused the magazine of Photoshopping Hadid’s arm to cover part of Graham’s torso.

“Where the dark skin women at,” an Instagram user commented on the magazine’s February 8 Instagram of the cover image. Another wrote: “Vogue, you've been my favorite magazine since I first picked up an issue when I was 12. I’ve read every issue cover to cover and lived for the pages that you produce. I'm so bummed to see that you had an opportunity to be different and to be inclusive of ALL women and ALL body types, yet chose to put thin, size zero looking women on the cover to represent ‘all women.’ You had such a great chance here and I've never been more disappointed. I hope that in the future you'll finally start taking a chance on women that represent real bodies and real standards.”

Despite criticism, Wen, a Chinese beauty with over 2.5 million Instagram followers — and the first Asian woman to grace American Vogue’s cover — revealed in the story that she has high hopes for inclusion thanks to the photo-sharing platform. “Many Asian models now have incredible recognition and success at home first, and then they start booking jobs internationally,” Liu revealed. “I think this stems, in part, from the rise of social media, which is connecting societies in new, intricate ways, and changing all of our perspectives.” 

Another model grateful for social media’s undeniable influence is Graham, who has nearly 3.3 million Instagram admirers. Graham landed her first Vogue cover with the January 2017 issue of British Vogue, but this is her first time appearing on the front of the American edition.

“Sixty-seven percent of the women in America wear a size 14 or larger,” she noted. “Sixty-seven percent. Maybe you could ignore those consumers before, but now, thanks to social media, they’re making their voices heard. Women are demanding that brands give them what they want. And what they want is to be visible.”

Keep scrolling to see some more tweets about the cover, and tell Stylish what you think in the comments.

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