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Was it Racist? Cosmopolitan Magazine’s Beauty Guide Seems to Snub Women of Color

Avatar • Apr 3, 2015

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Cosmopolitan Magazine is at it again. First, they were claiming Kylie Jennie’s co-opted locs were “edgy” and on trend and now it appears as if they’ve snubbed women of color yet again.

The magazine published a guide titled “21 Beauty Trends That Need to Die in 2015.” 42 images of women were shown to depict the trends. Out of the 21 trends that “needed to die”, four women of color were highlighted in the R.I.P. column.

Folks didn’t take this lightly:

In fact even supermodel, Joan Smalls (also one of the WOC featured in the R.I.P. beauty trend column) tweeted at the publication:

Then Cosmo took the time to let us know that co-opted cornrows were no longer “on trend.” Le sigh. Black women have been rocking this look for ages. You can’t co-opt black styles and then throw them away when you feel like you’re “over it.”

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The post now has the following editor’s note:

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.

To be fair, maybe it was all an oversight.

Share your thoughts! Do you think this was all a coincidence?

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Kary
Kary
5 years ago

Oh come on. don’t be so sensitive. Out of 21, 4 women are black so 17 are not…meaning we are not targeted. I am not the last person to fight, défend her community or talk about the struggle but we have to understand that our activisme starts to pay and sometimes when you see a picture of a black woman, she has been chosen because she’s a woman not because she’s a black woman… Cosmo is not saying that the sacred co-opted cornrow that we have been rocking for centuries is an ugly hairstyle (let s not overexaggerate here). They say… Read more »

Lola
Lola
5 years ago
Reply to  Kary

No we don’t. Little things mean a lot. Abusers chip away at your esteem little by little until you have none at all to make you pliable to their abuse. Guard your heart! Happy Easter/Passover!

lindy_arter
lindy_arter
5 years ago
Reply to  Kary

Yeah, people go a bit overboard sometimes. Yes, there is a lot of purposeful and unintended racist ignorance out there, but not everything that happens falls into that category.

I mean, we complain that white women co-opt cornrows and then complain because white women are saying that it’s not for them anymore?

Yeah, there’s real stuff to worry about and this is not on the list. If we keep freaking out over everything, no one will believe us when “real” injustices happen.

cheryl
cheryl
5 years ago
Reply to  lindy_arter

AWGID — Another white girl in denial…and trolling our blogs!

lindy_arter
lindy_arter
5 years ago
Reply to  cheryl

My dear, your ignorance is astounding.

I’ll thank you to remember that you do not speak for all black women in the world and my disagreeing with you does not mean that I am not black. f you have a substantive rebuttal to my statement, please make it. If not, keep your ignorant and backward thoughts to yourself.

cheryl
cheryl
5 years ago
Reply to  Kary

White girl go away…find some other blog to play.…on! I’m tired of you trolls commenting on our issues!

FineNaturalHairandFaith

I’m not really buying their apology or their reason. And now I just don’t care. They can stop sending me their useless magazine (that I didn’t request in the first place).

cryssi
cryssi
5 years ago

Mmmm mmm mm…I don’t read them, always doing the most. Now they’re doing the least at the same time. Just because you didn’t notice you were being racist doesn’t negate the racism and prejudice.

LaModeExpose
LaModeExpose
5 years ago

Yes, it was racist! You mean to tell me they couldn’t find women of other races to represent their so called RIP trend? Please do not make excuse for them.

Tabatha
Tabatha
5 years ago

Give me a Flippin Break! No it was not racists. They are talking about trends in general. People need to calm down take a couple of breathes and not read everything as racism. AND due to the show Vikings, the hairstyle that Heidi is wearing is actually still in. Cosmo needs to revisit that one.

Lola
Lola
5 years ago
Reply to  Tabatha

You need to open your eyes to when someone is discriminating against you due to the color of your skin. A racist doesn’t announce anymore that they are racist, nor do they the racists use the tropes we are accustomed to. You often have to read into it to see it and like in this article see the contrast in how they treat someone whose color is similar to theirs. I don’t know what is happening in my country??? People need to get educated and learn their real history.

cheryl
cheryl
5 years ago
Reply to  Tabatha

Hey white girl (or racism denying deluded black girl)! Get off our blog.…you can’t relate and you are socialized to deny racism, so we don’t expect you to agree! Have a seat!!!

Bigantic
Bigantic
5 years ago

Celebrating all women… Who happen to be caucasian.
:/

Zenkiea Hjerpe
Zenkiea Hjerpe
5 years ago

Well.…..„Cosmopolitan is not well noted for their equality to women of color. However this is my theory : I believe that Cosmo knows full heartedly that black women and other women of color are Stunning and beautiful and they are terrified of that. Especially when it comes to the number of factor. Too many beautiful women of color can be too much of a good thing. To them it might smother out the European percentage. Hmmm.….

perry skyi
perry skyi
5 years ago

i really don’t care what cosmo thinks of me. i wear my natural hair the way i want. i don’t try to be their definition of beautiful because i am me, beautiful and complete. as a matter of fact, I do not even wear makeup. I love the way i look and whats more, my husband totally loves it too. i will teach my daughter the same thing. she is ‘fearfully and wonderfully’ made and she will grow up knowing that. people are people. it is what it is. we black women should be ourselves and stop measuring who we… Read more »

Tsehaitu
Tsehaitu
5 years ago

Not surprised. Its Cosmo.. Like really though. Just calling the kettle black

roo08
roo08
5 years ago

Look, cosmo and all these female mags are incredibly, unapologetically white centric. It’s so ingrained that I bet they didn’t even think twice about the pattern. It’s nothing different from how whites think in society, they don’t have to think about race unless they can’t ignore it and then it makes them uncomfortable.

I’m just not surprised and don’t give a crap about these useless mags anymore. They only care about one group.

Lola
Lola
5 years ago
Reply to  roo08

White supremacists.

Sophie Muta
Sophie Muta
5 years ago

Doubt it was an oversight. There were plenty if pictures of white celebrities depicting these so called dead trends. I would say that subconsciously that they view women of color as inferior in beauty and if it wasnt purposeful and it is an indicator of how this particular writer feels.

Angela
Angela
5 years ago
Reply to  Sophie Muta

Once again, they do not view as inferior. They are threatened by us. I am around enough white woman to know that the ones giving shade feel less than somehow, and it’s confusing because they have been taught to believe they are superior, (while at the same time being prisoners themselves to the Fashion/Cosmetic Industrial Complex. People who really feel superior don’t act out violently (even emotional violence) because they feel calm and satisfied. People who are caught up in the paradigm of inferior or superior, always scrambling between both polarities, are the ones who play the “You’r eworthless if… Read more »

cheryl
cheryl
5 years ago
Reply to  Angela

Brilliant Angela, Brilliant!!! I concur with your response completely!

mlank64
mlank64
5 years ago
Reply to  Angela

Absolutely spot on Angela…notice it very much at work.

Camille
Camille
5 years ago

Cosmo and most other fashion magazines were racist BEFORE this article. They don’t put enough of us in it for us to spend our money on them. There is WAY better black beauty advice on the internet.

alia Spencer
alia Spencer
5 years ago

I truly believe that cosmo was indeed being racist. I say this because the article displays the same or similar hair styles, and only the hairstyles that where ethnic or were on an African American model got the R.I.P

Hair Anomaly
Hair Anomaly
5 years ago

I would like to RIP all the damns we give about what non-black people and non-black media think of our beauty.

obby
obby
5 years ago

I don’t think we should be giving our precious energies to anything that may be against us black people. The more we react or the more combative we are towards these things, the more reactive certain groups outside of the black community will become. Among other reasons, I feel like certain things are being done to get a reaction out of us. It’s what they expect. “Work hard in silence and let your hard work be your success.” Let’s focus all of our energy on building our community up. Supporting our old and new upcoming black vloggers, bloggers and businesses. Constantly share… Read more »

Angela
Angela
5 years ago
Reply to  obby

Maybe it’s a sub- or semiconscious fear of the blogoshpere-and so many black women celebrating their natural selves. And their sense of loss and defeat that Cosmo can’t find a way into that market. Because it’s so homegrown and self generated. I think there is something to this theory… the idea that somehow the liberation of black women is a threat and they are lashing back and establishing dominance. And by they, I mean the whole fashion/cosmetic industrial complex.

Ms. Vee
Ms. Vee
5 years ago

Black women, Ladies, Sistahs. Have we not figured it out by now? They need our attention so that we give them free publicity and/or provide cultural trends that they can monetize . Should we sit back and tolerate disrespect? Not at all. But we know the foolish games they play and need to respond accordingly. Do not buy their BS magazines and support black owned beauty outlets. See how they cringe when we ignore them aka BlackGirlsRock. Let’s not waste emotional energy on the irrelevant.

obby
obby
5 years ago

You’re probably right. There’s defintely something to this theory. I love how you mentioned black women celebrating themselves being so home grown and self generated! That’s what we need to continue doing.

Miss Thang
Miss Thang
5 years ago

They’re full of crap. They don’t celebrate women. They work to bring women down, and make us feel insecure.

vanx 2801
vanx 2801
5 years ago

I agree with Atekam! Why the hell would we need validation from another to call ourselves beautiful? People shouldn’t be surprised and we should not give this issue anymore attention or care that it deserves. I’m not saying bury our head in the sand. It is good to acknowledge articles like this because someone maybe watching that doesn’t believe they are beautiful (And this is not true). But we all know: There is nothing new under the sun. We are often both imitated and criticized for our beauty choices and a few opinions are not the final word. So shake… Read more »

NoTime4Bimbos
NoTime4Bimbos
5 years ago

According to them, the light-skinned lady in the upper left-hand corner was NOT included in the R.I.P. connotations and they do not consider her Black since she’s mixed.

lv
lv
5 years ago

I am 56 years old. I stopped reading Cosmo 40 years ago and I love fashion and beauty mags. Mags that don’t have “me” in it don’t have “me” reading it. Boycott them!!!!

alt-K
alt-K
5 years ago
Reply to  lv

Agreed. I often find myself just having to stop reading or stop viewing something. When I was a teen in the early 90s, I totally stopped watching MTV for this very same reason. It didn’t reflect me.

teppuM
teppuM
5 years ago

How about we just stop caring what Cosmo and other Euro-beauty-standards magazines have to say? Why not make more of our own? Is there a BLGH magazine? Maybe there could be 🙂

Shanan
Shanan
5 years ago
Reply to  teppuM

AMEN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!AMEN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!AMEN!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Nicole Archie
Nicole Archie
5 years ago

Anyone else doesn’t believe their bs apology ?

Cali Rider
Cali Rider
5 years ago

First of all, black people don’t call them “corn rows”, we call them “french braids.”
Braids on a black person are NOT A TREND. It’s a way to tame your hair, hold it down, and make it grow. Course hair tends to dry out and break off when using a bunch of chemicals and heat.…Unless you are black, you won’t get it. I’ll never buy their magazine.

Nope
Nope
5 years ago
Reply to  Cali Rider

I don’t know where you are from, but black folks in the different states and countries I’ve lived in DO call them “corn rows” — conversely, white people call them “french braids.”

Spirit
Spirit
5 years ago

Honestly, I have not read cosmo since I was 18, I mean every time I see the mag there is an article on how to give good head. Um…yeah I already know how to do that thanks…

FromTokyo
FromTokyo
5 years ago

You’re clearly on the wrong site.
Good thing you’re leaving, right?

FromTokyo
FromTokyo
5 years ago

They just keep shading us left and right, even in places where they don’t have to (because Cosmo is not checking for the black reader). That’s how you know they’re shook. I think they were subliminally trying to boost up their target readers based on their own insecurities.

Nothing is coincidence or a misunderstanding anymore.

BlueCornMoon
BlueCornMoon
5 years ago

Cosmo has always been a TRASHY MAGAZINE ever since that Helen Gurley Brown practically told us we should sleep wityh anything that’s anatomically correct. Who gives a @#$% what they think !!

Mom_of_IV
Mom_of_IV
5 years ago

I, personally, don’t even give them my money by buying their ragazines. I know they don’t care for black women. Their main concern is selling sex to the mainstream.

Mango
Mango
5 years ago

I think Cosmo needs to R.I.P itself — people only buy the mag when it has freebies well at least I do. I don’t think it was done on purpose like others have said but it certainly does aid to the paranoia that a black women is somehow inept. Why was there no ‘hello gorgeous’ pictures of black women? etc. End thought : don’t believe the lies and try not to take every little or supposed slight to heart — I mean seriously Cosmo could only have 2 or 3 black models in it and I would not bat an… Read more »

Angela
Angela
5 years ago
Reply to  Mango

When people are hell bent on insulting you, it means that they are intimidated by you. As black women, we should figure that out by now.

Michelle LilReds Burrell

This was so distasteful and disrespectful. A young black girl will see this and think that they are a dead fashion trend, and not the beautiful black girls that she is. Not totally surprised that this happened, just look at the fashion runways. Not too many of us walking down it. I don’t accept the lame ass apology either. This will happen again.

#5
#5
5 years ago

Dear BGLH Staff: Love your website, hate these irrelevant articles. Newsflash: Everything is not about black folks. Get over yourself. Articles like these feed into the “black supremacy” mentality of the natural hair community and it’s getting soooo old. #yawn#

Black
Black
5 years ago

So sad! I’m black and live in Scandinavian and suffer racism basically every day! Im a grown up an know that black/brown is the most beautiful thing alive. I’m so sick and tired of these white low life racist ass bitches trying to pull us down. I will never touch cosmopolitan with my bare hands that magazine makes me sick and i feel sad for all beautiful young black/brown girls reading this! #boycottcosmopolitan

Diamond Jones
Diamond Jones
5 years ago

Smh

TeaJae
TeaJae
5 years ago

this was done to make buzz, cause a splash, cause a stir they knew it would so they did it. Don’t think they were trying to snub anyone just trying to stay relevant, which is sad. i put down Cosmo back in the late 90’s never picked them up again.

Atekam Trebloc
Atekam Trebloc
5 years ago

Um, since I don’t read this type of crappy magazine, I kind of don’t care. ‑_- The world always has something negative to say about WOC. ALWAYS. Regardless of whether or not WOC have been doing certain things since who knows when , if it’s a complement to WOC, it’s bashed; but if it complements European women, it’s praised as innovative. Stop supporting magazines like this who subliminally try to send messages about black people. And then keep it moving.

nyame
nyame
5 years ago

Call me deluded or whatever.Ive experienced OUTRIGHT racism and underhanded racism and this is pathetic and petty that we’ve come to the point of critiquing every little comment and every article scavenging for opportunities to play the race card. Out of 21.…4 of the “trends” were of black women? So what’s to be said about the others? Self hate? Some styles …whether we originated it or not…are (according to the fashion world) PLAYED. If you decide to wear them, that’s your decision! I still wear cornrows from time to time and I could care not on flip if its “in”.… Read more »

lenny
lenny
5 years ago

even if it was oversight, when you put an article publicly, you have to look at it with different angle and be aware of how it might be interpreted for the viewer. you clearly see that most of RIP were black and gorgeous were white. Than you gonna say you are sorry, you celebrate all women… well if that was true, you would be aware that for years black women were put down, drag down, keep telling all kind of negative stuff that tend make us feel, ugly, unappreciated, oversee, that beauty is equal European type.… anyway For any women that… Read more »

LuvBlack
LuvBlack
5 years ago

#1. That was not an apology. It was a blanket statement with the word apologize in it. Basically them saying we do what we want sorry it offended you.
#2. Hopefully no one of color is purchasing this B.S.
#3. We need to stop thinking that white folks is going to validate our beauty, if so where would that leave them? STOP thinking they will do what you think is right.
#4. They always been in the” borrowing ” business #eraseyoazz.…please.
#5. #eraseeurocentricmentality

$8319184
$8319184
5 years ago

is there any image of a black woman in the on trend column? or aer all the on tred example white? I don’t think I’ve ever actually boguht a cosmo mag. Always felt like it catered to the hyper sexed, overstyled sex&thecity wannabe types.

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