Is Beyoncé's Vogue cover racist?

When I first peered at the latest cover of Vogue, which features a very beautiful Beyoncé wearing an interesting blue dress, I thought, "Wow. Vogue actually put black women on its cover two months in a row. This is like a fashion miracle."

Then, because I can never afford anything in Vogue and because the articles about people's fancy horse retreats and cosmetic procedures only remind me of how not rich I am, I forgot all about it.

But today, a few bloggers are up in arms over the April cover, specifically, they're feeling like Vogue took the opportunity of having a gorgeous African American woman on its cover and kind of crapped all over it.

On Sociological Images, blogger Lisa says:

"For the second time this year, the Vogue cover features a woman of color, Beyonce. Unfortunately, in line with cultural stereotypes, the issue is the 'Shape Issue,' contributing to the stereotype of Black women, and Latina women too, as especially 'curvy'....
The magazine sets up, essentially, an impossibility: 'Have curves, but by curves we mean something very specific: boobs and an ass. You know, like Black women've got. See Beyonce? She's Black. So she's got curves. No matter that she's extremely thin. You should be extremely thin, too ('WORK IT!'); eh em, we mean, 'conquer your demons,' we love you 'from size zero to size 20.' Just kidding! We totally don't. Design 'your perfect body' with cosmetic surgery! Then you'll really love yourself… and we will find you acceptable… it's win win!!!!'"

Over on Jezebel, writer Dodai points out some serious problems with the stories highlighted in this, the mag's annual "Shape" issue:

"Fashion for Every Figure: Size 0 to Size 20 - but only just this issue, then they'll go back to focusing on size zero.

Real Women Have Curves: Beyoncé at Her Best
- If real women have curves, what are the women who usually model for Vogue? Fake?

NIP/TUCK: Designing a Perfect Body
- Meaning there's something wrong with yours if you don't have plastic surgery?"

The fact that I dislike the haughty things Vogue stands for peppers my opinion on this issue. I'm glad someone put Beyoncé on the cover of one of the most elite fashion mags in the world. Though I don't know that she's especially fashionable (that Oscar dress! My eyes!), this shows progress. Is it a bummer that they only chose to put her on the cover for their "shape" issue? Possibly. Especially when the editors have her talking about gaining weight and losing weight and working out and blah-blah-blah, the stuff this particular magazine never seems to ask Nicole or Gwyneth or Sarah Jessica or Angelina. Also? Honestly, I don't look at Beyoncé and think "sporty" either, so why did they connect a naturally curvy, not-rail-thin woman with Shape? I do not know. However, is the cover racist? Ehhh. I wouldn't go that far. I just think the people who run the place are awfully snooty and out of touch.
Vogue Puts A Woman Of Color On The Cover And Manages To Be Both Sexist And Racist

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