Welp, here we are again with another attack on black beauty. This time, from Cosmopolitan Magazine.
I was perusing through my Instagram timeline, when I stumbled upon a post from Necole Bitchie about Cosmopolitan sharing “Dead Trends” that were all non-coincidentally worn by Black women. *rolls eyes* Huh, not again. After further research, I found the article on Cosmo’s website and what do you know, the proof of their ignorance blindingly appeared. Let’s take a look at what Cosmo had to say:
“3. Noticeable contouring: This year it’s all about subtle contouring, which will give you a more natural outcome and still sculpt your cheekbones to perfection. For a tutorial on the right way to shade your face, click here.”
“12. Ombré: Bye, ombré. Baliage (painting on highlights for a more natural, sun-kissed finish that grows out beautifully) is back, proving to be the prettiest way to color your hair in 2015.”
“17. Crazy graphic liner: Let’s be honest, you’re not wearing this out with your guy on Friday night. But don’t worry, the liner looks for 2015 are much more wearable and therefore sexier.”
19. Black lipstick: Since black lipstick is actually pretty difficult to pull off, stash your black bullet (if you ever purchased one when it was trending last year) for berry-colored lip color, like Kendall’s, which complements all skin tones.
Alright, so now that we’ve got a visual, let’s talk about the what’s really wrong here. Cosmopolitan magazine, in it’s 50 year history of publication, has a clear track record of underrepresenting Black women, or if we’re being completely honest, just not representing them at all. If you look back on past issues, there have been a number of gaps where black women do not appear on the cover. From 1980-1985… no black women; and more recently, from 2012-2015, not a single black women made the cover.
Another issue with this is concerning the chronological inaccuracy of these photos, particularly with the one depicting Ciara’s ombre hair. I’ve been a follower of Ciara ever since she shared her “Goodies” with the world and submitted the Matrix into the book of best Black dances, so let me just say that I can spot a historically fraudulent photograph when I see one. The picture of Ciara that was used in this article was actually taken in 2013, so the only thing “dead” about this is Cosmo’s research skills. And if they used a more recent photograph of Ciara’s ombre look, they would have found the one below and let’s be honest, in a side-to-side comparison, she wins by a landslide.
Let’s not forget to mention that the only Black women that were displayed in this article were shown doing everything wrong, with a beaming “R.I.P” stamped above their heads. Like how much more flagrant could Cosmo’s message have been? I mean the writer of this article (so remains anonymous) might as well have said, “R.I.P to your culture Black women! We want any sense of your identity erased because you all can never do anything right, that’s why we’re always stealing it and calling it a ‘new trend’.” So you’re telling me that out of all the Black celebrities and models that have worn these trends, not one got it right? Only ghostly and hollow-faced white women can rock trends correctly?
*cultural appropriation alert* What you may have also noticed is how trends normally associated with women of color like “3-D nail designs,” and “Side-swept hair with side cornrows,” were displayed by white women incorrectly. And that “Overdrawn lips,” and “Beyond bronzed skin,” also made the list of dead trends, because well lets face it, anytime you’re trying to make up for the melanin and full-lips you were not born with, it’s easy to go a little bit overboard to compensate for the lack thereof. I know that you all don’t have much of any cultural identity to go off of, but when you use our’s can we please get some credit? Sheesh.
What I found to be most problematic was the fact that this article was published way back in January of this year. The title reads, “21 Beauty Trends That Need to Die in 2015” with a subcaption of “Bye Felicia”. So for 3 long months, this article sat unnoticed on Cosmo’s website, just festering with denigrative poison on Black beauty. Why did it take so long for someone to notice? I hold myself responsible because self-hate propaganda against Black women such as this must be called out and corrected.
Cosmo recently apologized for its error stating: “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.”
Really Cosmo? “Celebrating all women”? You’ve had over 50 years to do that and the only women I see being celebrated are ones that have always been celebrated and they sure don’t look like me. And oh, “some images have been taken out of context,” you say? Well let me put it back into context for you, the only message you’re magazine is sending is that you care more about the glorification of white women, rather than the inclusion of all women, and slapping a Kardashian on the cover whenever you need a “pop of color” doesn’t count.
A tip to Cosmo: how about diversifying your team of writers, because the outward representation of your magazine starts with proper diversity, inclusion, and representation from within.
You’ve just been served.