Cosmopolitan article “21 Trends That Need To Die in 2015” is being called racist for only associating trends that should “R.I.P” with black women.
People on social media were quick to call out Cosmo.
— jahlani✨✨✨ (@JahstMe) April 1, 2015
After some strong backlash on Twitter, the editor formally apologized.
“Some images have been taken out of context, and we apologize for any offense,” said the editor. “Celebrating all women is our mission, and we will continue to work hard to do that.”
It’s interesting that Cosmo would make this comment, especially considering the type of women they “celebrated” in the article in question.
Aside from the black women with the “R.I.P” tag, the “Hello, Gorgeous” women are all various shades of white. “All women,” indeed.
Now, do I think Cosmo deliberately picked only white women to tag as “Hello, Gorgeous?” No. But the fact that this was overlooked and thought of as legitimate, publishable material is telling.
This article is similar to a Hollaback campaign against street harassment where a white woman was filmed for 10 hours walking around NYC and a shortened version was released to illustrate how common street harassment is.
The problem was that they one: used a white woman to represent the experiences of once again “all women,” and two, only showed the parts when the woman walked through low-income neighborhoods populated with predominantly people of color.
There is a commonality between the Cosmo and Hollaback slip up.
• How did it work out that only white women were “Hello, Gorgeous?”
• Why didn’t the Hollaback production team notice that only men of color were harassing the woman in the film?
• Why didn’t these representations seem strange or incomplete to anyone?
I’ll go ahead and say it then.
Society has equated whiteness with superiority and beauty and blackness with suspicion, and it can be seen in our nation’s subconscious through things as seemingly harmless as a Cosmo article.
Articles like Cosmo’s should never be published. Honestly, it’s 2015, and we, people of color, are past waiting on our so-called liberal nation to act like the “inclusive and diverse” place it thinks it is.
Photo credit: Getty/Imaxtree