Racialicious has blogged about How Women's Magazines Whitewash Different Ethnicities. While this is not a particularly new debate, it is one that recurs every now and then just like the uproar over fashion models being too skinny.
I agree with some of Alex Alvarez's points, especially the one about magazines "creating a standard of beauty that will forever be just out of the grasp of most women - prompting them, of course, to wait until next month’s issue for more advice on how to be perfect." I have regularly read these magazines for the past 13 years and I can tell you that despite probably a million and one hair "tips," I STILL do not know what to do with my crazy, frizzy, curly hair. Yet I continue to read these magazines hoping for a miracle. I'm beginning to think the magazines really don't want my hair to look fabulous.
Also, I agree that when covers of these magazines do feature women of ethnicity, these minority celebrities are not exactly always representative of their communities. I think it is impossible to always represent every single person in an ethnic community given how varied our looks are. However, putting Jessica Alba, who looks more Caucasian every year that passes, hardly qualifies as representing Latinas. On the flip side, Halle Berry and Jennifer Lopez don't bother me as much as they do Alvarez. P.S. I posted the latest Vogue India cover featuring Laxmi Menon above as an ideal cover look that I would love to see one day in a U.S. fashion magazine!!
To be fair, there are some fashion magazines that have gotten better with features a variety of races and ethnicities over the years. Glamour and Marie Claire now regularly feature women of color and once in a while, you even see a desi girl! They are not perfect, but its something.
Take a read of the article and let me know what you think. Is Alvarez spot on about fashion magazines publishing images and articles that idealize the white woman? Or do you just think its impossible to represent every type of every ethnicity or race in America?