Cosmopolitan recently faced controversy after an article they published early this year titled, “21 Beauty Trends that Need to Die in 2015” resurfaced, sparking outrage across social media.

The article used a handful of colored women to represent dead trends, while solely using caucasian women to illustrate acceptable trends for the new year. 

Unlike most people who hurled “racist” labels against the magazine as they were filled with outrage, I found myself in deep thought. I took a moment to analyze not only my feelings, but also, the things that I have allowed myself to consume for past few years.

After a moment, I realized that the problem doesn’t just end or even start with Cosmopolitan’s alleged intentions to “undermine” black females. The problem is that there is MORE than just ONE problem. There are a number of unhealthy habits the magazine industry has indulged in over the past decades, and it is time that we confront these habits in order to fix them. 

**When I use the term Women of Color, I am referring to African Americans, Asians, Latinas, and anyone who identifies with the term.

5 Magazine “Trends” That Need to Die in 2015

Defining Black Beauty

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“Black Beauty,” as often depicted in most magazines, is generally females between the ages of 18-23 who fall under the not-so-subtle color spectrum they’ve established.

The color spectrum is usually various shades of Caucasian, and a very select number, if any, of Asians, Latinas, and African Americans, focusing solely on the extremely light and dark shades.

This habit saddens me, because black beauty cannot possibly be defined as only light skin and dark skin. There are so many beautiful shades of color beyond that, but sadly, continue to go unnoticed.

Neglecting Diversity

I’ll let the numbers speak for themselves.

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Extreme Photoshopping

Most fashion and beauty magazines boast, “Our mission is to celebrate all women and diversity.”

Yet even with this mission in tow, magazines still continue to feature women who are often shown in the most unrealistic forms.



I get it. Photoshopping makes products and bodies more visual “appealing,” but every woman— hell, everyone on this planet has flaws– so why not embrace and celebrate them? The more magazines uplift unrealistic perfection and unachievable bodies, the more young women and men manifest the idea that they are simply not good enough.


Glorifying Unhealthy Sizes

As a preteen, I aspired to be a model. Although I didn’t have the privilege of going to many casting calls, I did use the Internet as a resource to aid my dreams of being a model. I submitted myself to many agencies, but I never got a response. Why? Although I had a slim figure, I was not the ideal 110 pounds and 5’8’. Instead, I fell at a mere 5’6’ 125-130lbs. 

I wished that I could fulfill that requirement, and a small part of me was willing to do anything to become that. However, as the years rolled on, I was forced to realize that my destiny was different. I was meant to have a curvy body.

But sadly, a lot of young girls cannot accept their bodies and often turn to drastic measures to fulfill this model of perfection supplied by magazines. 

Hair Bias

zendaya-dreadlocks-oscars-2015It is very rare that afro-textured hair gets featured in the beauty section or even receives a glorious praise from editors. In fact, I’ve never seen an ethnic do feature in a magazine at all. Not even in the fashion section. And as a woman of afro-caribbean descent, who happens to have many relatives rocking ethnic hairdos and even rocked a few herself, it is very difficult for me to understand why braids, dreads, and twist cannot be accepted as trendy or even considered in magazines distributed to millions of women.

Now, there are 7 continents, 196 countries, approximately 7.2 billion people on the planet, and as a result, an unquantifiable amount of races and ethnic groups. All of this combined creates a distinct uniqueness that exists on all levels of humanity, and every woman and man has the right to be represented in the best light, and not according to the dose of melanin in their skin, hair texture, culture, or sexual preferences.

As an influential platform for both women and men of various age groups, ALL magazines have a duty to promote REAL diversity and beauty, and It’s about time they reflect that.

7 Comments on 5 Magazine “Trends” That Need to Die in 2015

  1. Biki
    April 10, 2015 at 8:48 am (2 years ago)

    This is a great article with very insightful and telling research, well done! I always shake my head when I flick through Vogue India and Japan and see loads of famous international models like the Cara’s etc, because you would think that these models pretty much dominate the other fashion countries/cities etc. But I get it, magazines need to sell copies and they are more likely to do so with tried and tested ‘in demand’ models, but still, there needs to be more of the magazines in ethnic regions supporting their own…tsigh, I could go on…

    • Primebutterfly
      April 11, 2015 at 2:45 pm (2 years ago)

      Thank you! I definitely agree. And the sad part is not only do fashion magazines do that, but teen magazines and even in the blogger world, submission sites do the same thing. They hardly ever feature ethnic teenagers on the cover or even feature outfits submitted by bloggers of color on their websites and instagram. Its so sad! SMH!

  2. Paperesse
    April 10, 2015 at 1:55 pm (2 years ago)

    Bravo! An excellent and well written post with which I wholeheartedly agree. I would add that this also could apply to age. 50+ women are the biggest purchasing group in the US (and Europe), but it doesn’t seem most magazines give a flip about that. I am so disgusted with fashion magazines I just simply refuse to buy them anymore.

    • Primebutterfly
      April 11, 2015 at 2:37 pm (2 years ago)

      Thank you so much for your comment. I’m really glad you liked my post. And I definitely agree with everything you just said. Its absurd and certainly unfair. I really wish their was a magazine out there without bias, who celebrated diversity. And to be honest, I’ve never been much of a magazine person and doing research for this post helped me understand why I never really purchased them. Even teen magazines indulge in the same habits. Its so sad.

  3. Alex - Funky Jungle
    April 10, 2015 at 4:45 pm (2 years ago)

    The thing about not using native models puzzles me too. I was flipping through the images from the Tokyo fashion shows for Fall 2105 and I was like “Where the heck are the japanese models?”

  4. Piarve
    April 15, 2015 at 8:21 pm (2 years ago)

    Love this post. So much of what you mention goes through my mind when I’m flicking through a magazine. I am completing a challenge on my blog and I am using fashion runway pictures as imagery, and noticed women of colour are hardly represented, if they are it is the mainstream names such as Jordun Dunn or Naomi Campbell.
    I feel magazines represent a type a person these days.


    • Primebutterfly
      April 16, 2015 at 1:35 pm (2 years ago)

      Thank you so much! And I definitely agree. The only models of color I see on a consistent basis Naomi, Jordan, and Joan. I really wish they’d use more women of color and feature normal women.


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