There’s something wrong with this picture…
I had meant to write about this for some time. The reason why I say this is because I noticed a picture that was quite disturbing to me (to say the least) about 6 weeks ago, and I don’t think it’s gotten the attention it deserves… The photo I’m talking about is the front cover of this Ocotber’s edition of Elle magazine featuring Gabourey Sidibe:
Quite a lovely picture, and it’s nice to see that Elle magazine also decided to feature a heavier-built woman who also happens to be a woman of color. Just looking at this magazine cover, the image seems fine. But that’s not how I came about seeing this picture for the first time. Instead, I saw a far more shocking image (some of you may have seen it already, and I remember we touched on it for a little bit in our WMST 100 class):
Yes, it’s the exact same woman.
Who is Elle magazine to lighten up anybody’s skin? I have no idea what the picture editors were thinking when they did this, but I find it to be insulting and even immoral. This magazine cover is one of four 25th anniversary editions Elle magazine is issuing this year, and the other three cover-girls have nothing in common with Gabby Sidibe in terms of appearance and physiognomy. Here is an image showing all four magazine covers:
The other three women are clearly white and slender, so Gabby Sidibe just doesn’t quite fit in the way she is… “Well, we can’t change her weight on the picture, but we could make her skin fairer so it is slightly more in accordance to the other covers.” Is that what Elle magazine was thinking? And I’m sure many people will try to argue that maybe the lighting for Gabby Sidibe’s photo shoot was different, but the discrepancy between both pictures is just too large…
It bothers me that this picture modification hasn’t really made the news like other social issues have recently. There are still racial issues going on in this country and I feel like many people consider this to be a problem of the past. Well, it’s not, or else Gabby Sidibe’s skin wouldn’t have been lightened in the above picture. And another thing… notice how they abbreviated her name to a more English-sounding name; suddenly Gabourey becomes Gabby.
Just as a comparison, here is a comparison of Elle magazine’s cover with Ebony magazine’s cover also featuring Gabby Sidibe:
Elle magazine just wanted to be more inclusive, I guess.