Is Vanity Fair’s New Magazine Cover Racist?

Is Vanity Fair’s New Magazine Cover Racist?

Feb 06, 2010

In an effort to either wow us with their beauty or disgust us with unintended racism, the folks over at Vanity Fair thought now might be a good time to debut a glorious photo spread featuring nine up-and-coming actresses (referred to as the “Class of 2010”) in a piece called “A New Hollywood.” Only problem is they’re all white … and it’s Black History Month. Whoops!

The actresses they featured are Anna Kendrick, Kristen Stewart, Carey Mulligan, Mia Wasikowska, Evan Rachel Wood, Emma Stone, Abbie Cornish, Amanda Seyfried and Rebecca Hall. Class of 2010? Okay, I get that all of these women have films coming out this year, and several of them are right on the cusp of becoming stars, with one – Kristen Stewart – already front and center in the spotlight. (But then, in the photo description, the writer refers to the girls as “the nine dolls on V.F.’s cover …” Dolls?! So not only do they insult people of color by leaving them out of this photo, but they also actually manage to insult the people in it!)

On the flip side, is it really racism? I know we live in a very PC world where every little thing is magnified 100% (especially if that little thing just so happens to have a team of publicists at the ready), but should we really attack the mag for saluting nine young actresses who are all about to have very successful years? Sure, you could argue Zoe Saldana should have been included, but it’s not like Vanity Fair has never photographed young African American females before (read: they have). And they’ve also featured photo spreads of all-white actresses before, too (like this one).

That’s all fine and dandy, too, but when you phrase it the way they did (“Dolls”! “New Hollywood”!) you’re asking for trouble. And honestly, with the way print publications have been hurting these days, I wouldn’t be surprised if Vanity Fair was begging for the trouble.

Categories: WTF, Hollywood!?
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Esther P. Mendez