Cosmopolitan is in hot water today for its use of models of color in a trend story, originally published on the magazine's website in January.
The article, “21 Beauty Trends That Need To Die In 2015,” used photographs of models to illustrate “gorgeous” trends alongside ones that “need to die.”
The problem wasn't the topic, but rather how the models were portrayed: Five of the trends that “need to die” were represented by a woman of color.
Each “dead” trend photograph was marked “RIP.”
Conversely, not one of the "gorgeous" trends featured a woman of color. Instead, each of these photos showed a white woman.
There is, of course, nothing to suggest this was done intentionally; it's more likely an incredibly unfortunate oversight.
But, the article — which has since been shared over 80,000 times — has Twitter up in arms.
This sort of controversy highlights perfectly the need to be fully aware of what you post on the Internet, especially when dealing with historically “hot” subjects such as racial representation in the fashion industry.
It's easy to unintentionally offend, or for a message to get scrambled and miscommunicated.
Take this as a lesson: You can never be too careful.
Several angry Twitter users have rallied to boycott the magazine.
Boycott @Cosmopolitan this is downright disgusting. pic.twitter.com/WJme0LbnLK — spencer hastings (@KillioussBey) April 1, 2015
Many feel the article represents the prominence of racism in the fashion and beauty industries.
In dishing out advice, Cosmo not-so-subtly tells readers "paler is better" http://t.co/SYuThZ9fsn pic.twitter.com/92cR0Jh3H6 — Overwhelming Black (@MaS1banda) April 1, 2015
Neither Cosmopolitan nor the article's author have yet to comment.
Coincidence that all the "wrong" looks are on black woman/WOC? @Cosmopolitan #HowItFeelsToBeABlackGirl pic.twitter.com/0DUEG5tch7 — Mother Afro (@HIFTBABG) April 1, 2015
There is no reason to believe the poor formatting is intentional in any way.
did anyone not realize how consistent this layout was? Did anyone at @Cosmopolitan realize the blatant contrast between black and white? — yung theoretically (@femmeminem) April 2, 2015
Understandably, however, not everyone sees it that way.
this is blatant racism. stop letting random white women submit articles and get a real staff @Cosmopolitan pic.twitter.com/SCCe4t65QE — Richey Collazo (@RicheyCollazo) April 2, 2015
As of 2:45 PM today, Cosmo added an Editor's note to the original story:
"A note from the editor: This article focuses on beauty trends with images that represent those trends. Some images have been taken out of context, and we apologize for any offense. Celebrating all women is our mission, and we will continue to work hard to do that."