Another day, another insensitive beauty story from a ladymag. Cosmopolitan came under fire this week for a beauty story they published back in January that recently resurfaced. The story was about beauty trends that needed to “die” in 2015, and eagle-eyed readers noticed that all the trends Cosmo deemed “out” were all depicted on women of color, save for one beauty “do” from Nicole Richie.
Several readers took to social media to call Cosmo out, many considering the unfortunate graphics a racist act.
— Kon Karapanagiotidis (@Kon__K) April 3, 2015
— Ruby-Beth B. (@ruby_beth) April 2, 2015
@Cosmopolitan is full of shit. Black women set trends. Y’all just take it away from us.. this is nothing new though.
— Diamond Tess (@xbelladiamondx) April 3, 2015
Never really liked @Cosmopolitan anyway. Even if it was a mistake, did no editors see what the particular spread implied?
— ✌️ & ❤️ (@Shlisa_V) April 3, 2015
Yesterday, Cosmopolitan added a note to the story to clarify their misstep: “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.” The explanation was taken by many as rather flimsy. The author, online beauty editor Carly Cardellino responded a concerned reader in the comments section of the piece, saying that she didn’t mean to single out women of color as inherent beauty don’ts. “I can honestly say that wasn’t intentional. The particular models that I chose just happened to be illustrating the trend more clearly. I always do my best as an editor to be diverse and include woc.”
Model Joan Smalls, whose picture was included in the list of beauty don’ts took to Twitter to express how offended she was by the story.
— Joan Smalls (@joansmalls) April 3, 2015
Of course, it was Joan Smalls’ outraged tweet that caused the publication to offer a personal apology to her, one that we noted you can only see up if you choose the “Tweets and Replies” option on their page:
@joansmalls Empowering and supporting all women is our mission, and here, we fell short. We apologize and will do better in the future.
— Cosmopolitan (@Cosmopolitan) April 3, 2015
This whole debacle is yet another example of how crucial it is for the staffs of fashion publications to be more diverse. As our world changes, as those people who were previously marginalized and/or erased from the industry demand representation, it is more important than ever for these publications to hire women from different backgrounds in order for gross mistakes like these to be avoided. Ms. Cardellino herself has not commented on the incident on her social media accounts, but we’re guessing she learned to be very careful next time she’s forecasting beauty trends.