February 11 2017
Jillian Kay Melchior
The March issue of Vogue features seven supermodels on the cover, including the plus-size icon Ashley Graham. The accompanying article claims that fashion is post-diversity, and that “the new beauty norm is no norm. … All are welcome. Anything goes.”
But the cover quickly generated controversy, with many noting online that Graham, the only plus-sized model, was covering her thigh with her hand, while all of the other models bared their skinny gams.
The cover also appears obviously photo-shopped, with Gigi Hadid’s fingers stretched unnaturally long to cover Graham’s stomach. And Graham is the only model wearing all black, some readers noted.
“Possibly the most offensive cover I’ve ever seen,” one reader posted on Vogue’s Instagram. “How 6 unhealthily thin models and ONE healthy sized model reflect American women is a complete joke.”
Another reader noted, “Ashley has 3 hands covering her lower body, and Vogue tries to say it’s not a cover up??? And all the other girls look like a size 0, how does this represent women across the board??”
Graham responded to criticism of the cover this week, saying on Instagram, “I chose to pose like that. No one told me to do anything.”
In the Vogue cover story, Graham noted that 67 percent of American women are size 14 or above, making it a ripe market. As designers and magazines seek to reach these consumers, expect similar kerfuffles.
— Jillian Kay Melchior writes for Heat Street and is a fellow for the Steamboat Institute and the Independent Women’s Forum.