In a week where women were celebrating “Black Girls (Who) Rock!,” the editors over at Cosmopolitan magazine were sweating bullets after they were accused of putting black girls on the back of the style bus.
On the magazine’s website there’s an article titled “21 Beauty Trends That Need to Die in 2015″ with one picture with the letters “R.I.P.” and the other with “Hello, Gorgeous!” All 21 of the “Gorgeous” photos show a white woman (except for a very fair-skinned pic of Nicole Richie that made the cut), while almost one-fifth of the “R.I.P.” photos were women of color. Ciara’s ombre hair is out, Joan Smalls’ black lipstick is a bust and apparently Naya Rivera’s “noticeable contouring” has been shut down. Not only that, but they knocked other trends popular with women of color like 3-D nail art and cornrows, both of which featured pictures of white women.
Although the article was published back in January, it was scooped up by social media this week and caused a firestorm. The post has been shared 92,000 times already, so of course Cosmo did not take it down, but instead issued a public apology via social media saying that they edited the article. They also included a note that the photos were “taken out of context.”
A note from the editor: This article focuses on beauty trends with images that represent those trends. Some images have been taken out of context, and we apologize for any offense. Celebrating all women is our mission, and we will continue to work hard to do that.
The magazine also apologized directly to supermodel Joan Smalls after she slammed them for being tasteless:
Joan: Really??? @Cosmopolitan What are you trying to imply … #Tasteless#ThinkbeforeYouPost#Unfollowing
Cosmopolitan: @joansmalls Empowering and supporting all women is our mission, and here, we fell short. We apologize and will do better in the future.
Back in 2011, the skincare line Dove received major backlash and dished out apologies after their ad campaign for their VisibleCare body wash went viral, showing a black woman standing in front of an ashy skinned “before” sign, while a woman woman posed in front of the “after.”
It’s understandable on the surface to see that to Cosmo they were dissing the trend and not the color of a woman’s skin, but in the fashion world where a brown girl’s beauty isn’t always celebrated, somebody somewhere should have had more sense.