Saturday, May 05, 2007

Trapped in The Folds: The Problem with Today's Magazine Covers

Vogue May 2007 Cover
(Model, Chanel Iman, on the Cover fold of Vogue)

American Vogue's recent "The Worlds Next Top Models" cover got us thinking about a problem that has been plaguing the publishing industry since someone got the grand idea of extending a magazine's cover: The Fold.

"The Fold" has always suggested that the person(s) who occupied that space were either (a) not quite famous enough to carry a cover (b) not quite cute enough for the much-coveted front page or (c) just too "ethnic."

Vanity Fair March 2005 Cover
(Actresses Rosario Dawson, Ziyi Zhang and Kerry Washington in the Fold of Vanity Fair)

Whatever the case, literally marginalizing (particularly) black people to the folds is a practice that is not only archaic but slighting. It's gotten to the point where anytime we see a magazine with a fold, we can assume that at least one person of color is included on it. Either an individual makes the cover or they don't, and relegating us to the 'well, you almost made it' space is no real consolation.

Emmy Magazine March/April 2007 Heroes Cover
(All 3 Heroes cast members of African descent, Noah Gray-Cabey, Leonard Roberts and Tawny Cypress find themselves in the fold)

So to Vogue, Elle, Vanity Fair, Emmy and others who come from the 'push 'em to the right' school of publication, we'd like to let you know that we're watching and we're definitely aware...


CeeCee said...

So so true.

Mel said...

"Trapped in the folds" lol. I think the same thing when they always put minorities on that little flap. It's a shame.

Anonymous said...

^ 5 this post. I have that Vogue and thought they were trying to do the equal opportunity thing by putting Chanel Iman on the extra page. Personally I think she should have made the front cover. It's getting crazy.

busy bri said...

This is so true and so sad.

Anonymous said...

yes it is true..coz that can't be a coincidence...but chanel iman is she black? i don't really consider her as such...she looks asian to me

Invisible Asians? said...

I take your point on the first 2 covers.

But the cover featuring the "Heroes" casts puts 2 Asians on the front page, before the fold.

I take it Asians don't "count" as people of color?

(I do take your point, though, that the cast members of African ancestry are conspicuously put after the fold.)

Anonymous said...

It's a freakin' cover. Sometimes there are issues, sometimes you people choose to see them.

Anonymous said...

I'm taking an African American Studies course as well as a Women's Studies course this semester and we've spent a good deal of time in both classes discussing these issues. Last week I saw 'Peaches' a Project Theater production about stereotypes associated with African American women. The most striking piece from the play was one woman's internal struggle to accept her blackness as beautiful. I fully believe that the hyper-anglo saxon strangle hold on the media has done terrible things to the construction (or rather, constriction) of beauty in our society. I think this article has done great works and I hope you continue to keep a sharp eye out!

Anonymous said...

What I find interesting about the Vogue fold is that out of all the new it models, Chanel Iman is the hottest of the hot, yet she is in the fold...hmmmm

bertrandrussell said...

Don't buy the magazine.
The only way such people will listen is if you don't purchase it. Support magazines that support you and your causes. If something like this really does upset you, write a letter to the editor and call them on it.
But don't let such things ruin your spirit -- it's just a bunch of braindead older women (i.e. - Anna Wintour) who know more about makeup then they do about life.

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