Cosmo’s True Colors

A few nights ago on Twitter, a set of images got under my skin. Can you guess why?

Earlier this year, Cosmopolitan published an article entitled 21 Beauty Trends That Need to Die in 2015. Typical, right? But their bigoted twist caught my eye. As far as I could tell from the images above, only Black women were featured in the negative (R.I.P.) column. Hence, when I first saw the photos above, I assumed that they were demonstrative of a wider trend. However, it turns out that I was only partially wrong.

Last night, clarity came in the form of a link to the original article. My irritation was somewhat reduced after I saw that not all of the “R.I.P.” women are Black. There are, in fact, Caucasian celebrities depicted in that category.

Yet on the side captioned “Hello, Gorgeous!”, I couldn’t help but notice the inclusion of only one woman of color. Even then, I took careful note of who the non-white celebrity was–Nicole Richie, a woman who, like Rashida Jones, has a background that is not necessarily apparent to those who are unaware.

What do I make of this?

I’m not sure. I have the distinct impression that someone instructed Cosmo’s reporters to make an effort to be more diverse, and the photos in this article came about as a result of their attempt to do so. (I couldn’t help but notice that the piece contains a disclaimer, undoubtedly written after the recent kerfuffle surrounding its discovery.)

Yet I also know what time it is. To this day, more often than not, lifestyle shows and magazines promising tutorials for “all types” of hair end up offering examples for those whose locs fit into categories such as really straight, kinda-sorta straight, and short-and-straight. Time and again, staff of TV shows and magazines demonstrate little-to-no imagination when it comes to offering their audiences authentic diversity. Now, they may claim they don’t need the help that would be available to them if they hired minority writers. However content such as that found in January’s Cosmo article suggests otherwise.

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