Media Watch: Vanity Fair
By Saul Guevara
According to Vanity Fair, the magazine, in today’s society you have to be thin and white in order to be successful. According to Vanity Fair’s February 2010 issue, you have to look that way in order to be on the cover of the Young Hollywood issue. The overall theme for 2010 Vanity Fair February issue was Young Hollywood. Every year, the magazine’s February issue has a few new and upcoming actresses or actors on their cover. This year’s issue has something wrong with it; there is no kind of diversity at all. All of the actresses look pale with no color and no body shape because they are only skin and bones. In today’s society and the 21stCentury, there should be no racism. To me, Vanity “Fair” magazine is not being fair because they are not providing any diversity on their cover; they are biased as it suggests Caucasians females are the only ones that can be successful in acting.
On the February cover of Vanity Fair, there are at least ten to twelve young women. They are all white with blonde hair or blue eyes and some have even both. All the young ladies range in age between 19 to 28 years. There are no different types of body shapes; they are all skinny, looking like they are anorexic. To me, the only diversity there is in that cover is the color of their hair: ginger, blonde, brown or black. There is no kind of variation in facial expression on those girl’s faces. They all look dead due to lack of sun. The cover makes me believe that there isn’t any chance for a girl of color to make it to Hollywood. This is clearly demonstrated, especially when it reads clearly in bold print on the cover in red, “A New Decade. A NEW HOLLYWOOD, Starring the fresh faces of 2010”. The actresses are positioned behind it as if they were saying, Yes we are all for the new WHITE Hollywood. It also gives me an image of what the old times were like when there was segregation going on.
The purpose of the whole Vanity Fair cover is to convince every young girl that aspires to be a model or any figure in Hollywood, that in order to do so, they have to look like them. Most of the time, I see at least one person of color in every ad, but not in this one. Vanity Fair should have no authority to have all white women on the cover of their magazine. It is logical what they were trying to portray with the content of their cover. To me, it is also unfair to those girls who don’t look skinny and pale. Vanity Fair portrays those white girls as the IT body image of today’s time. Girls might go to the extreme to look like them, perhaps starve themselves or use bleaching cream to look similar to the cover girls. They are claiming that in order to be pretty, girls have to meet their characteristics.
The context of the February issue has lots to do with Culture. There is no cultural diversity on the cover. It’s just a dozen white girls on a lawn observing some sun. All the girls are wearing old-fashioned clothing, but a remake of it, so that it looks more modern. It really looks like the early 1900’s, when racism was strong. There is more to the cover than meets the eye. This magazine was published during the first days of February 2010. The magazine appeared all over the United States. The Vanity Fair does a summary of all the 2009 actresses to see who is becoming more involved in the movie industry. Therefore, they choose a couple of upcoming stars and plaster them on the cover. But during this past 2009, there were many actresses with various backgrounds also coming up. Why weren’t they included in the cover shoot? During that time, many minority actresses got to be on a big screen film and showed much potential, proving that minorities can perform as well as the white girls on the big screen, yet they still didn’t get their talents accounted for. That is not right; that is biased. There were many minority actors in 2009 with great success to name a couple, there were Zoe Saldana, Frida Pinto, Gianna Jun and Gabourey Sidibe. Are our talents not valid in Hollywood and therefore, unable to be acknowledged?
I feel like the cover is saying that we do not meet the standards of white Hollywood and that Young Hollywood is only admitting whites and denying admission to those of color. Vanity Fair is trying to let everyone know that the whites are at the top once again and that the people of color will no longer be in the Hollywood scene more than them. Vanity Fair is advertising their come back in fact it is also saying that the whites are only worthy to be on the cover. The magazine is also very effective, thus, it is reinforcing the pretty whiteness that we hadn’t seen in a while. The cover is trying to convince the girls to look like them, moreover, the writer, Evgenia Peretz’s descriptions of the actresses was, “Ivory-soap-girl features,” “patrician looks” “dewy, wide-eyed loveliness”. She is basically describing a white chick in that statement and it is trying to make everybody think that only whites can be pretty. I think they are doing that to intimidate those who want to become an actress or actor or a model if you don’t look like them, don’t even try.
In conclusion, Vanity Fair has clearly demonstrated to me that it is a biased magazine with their 2010 February issue of the “Young Hollywood”. They are many talented young actors who have the same characteristics as those young women on the cover. They would have messed up their perfect picture of Hollywood with a person of color. As a matter of fact, if people of color were on the cover, perhaps more readers would have bought that magazine just because of the different faces to admire. Vanity Fair is unfair and needs to adjust their next publication because we minorities are becoming more successful in the multimedia industry and the world needs to see that in the United States, anything is possible and that racism is no longer an obstacle to overcome in achieving anyone’s goals.