Represent: WOC in Print Media

Representation in all forms of media is so important to many minority groups, from LGBT+ people to young POC. Magazine media is one of the most overlooked forms of media, yet one of the most underrepresented.

The target audience for many major magazines is young women between the ages of 16-30. These magazines offer great inspiration for fashion enthusiasts but also place unattainable beauty standards upon young women of color. They create an ideology that to be considered beautiful, one must be blonde, blue-eyed and white. These covers often feature white women and rarely acknowledges the tremendous beauty of women of color. It portrays this idea that “white” beauty is the only kind of beauty that matters. These standards have a quite dramatic effect on many Asian women. Many women in China receive double-eyelid surgery to “correct” the fold in the skin above the eye.

A Fashionista article reports that in 2015, Cosmopolitan Magazine featured 2 out of 12 women of color on their cover (Nicki Minaj and Demi Lovato). Elle featured 3 of 19, while W had 2 out of 22 women. I'm sure these magazines did not intentionally make a decision to not feature women of color, but it does show the Eurocentric beauty standard that is inherent in our society.

Speaking out for black women, Amandla Stenberg said, “Deeply ingrained into our culture is the notion that black female bodies, at the intersection of oppression, are less than human and therefore unattractive….when the media is not ignoring black women altogether, they are disparaging them.” Amandla is the epitome of what our generation represents and fights for. At only seventeen years old, she is outspoken and never backs down from injustice. Many other young WOCs are using social media to have their voices be heard and they beauty recognized. Twitter user, Alexis Isabel (@lexi4prez), uses her account and her website, Feminist Culture, to bring attention to many issues among all women, including Latina/Hispanic women. These young women are making an effort to create a world where little girls can grow up loving themselves and being comfortable with their differences. A world where all types of beauty is recognized.

text: donavan payne
visual: teen vogue
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