We still have a long way to go, of course.
Although 2016 saw racial issues come to a head in America, one area that made a slight improvement was the number of women of color who graced magazine covers.
According to the Fashion Spot’s annual report, magazine covers were more diverse than ever this year.
From Michelle Obama’s stunning appearance on Vogue and T Magazine to young starlets like Amandla Stenberg and Yara Shahidi gracing Teen Vogue, women of color were more present than ever on our newsstands.
Overall, 29% of cover models were women of color in 2016 — a 6.2% increase from last year.
When you take a look at the actual breakdown of the numbers however, it’s not quite as impressive. In short, 482 white models appeared as cover girls while only 197 non-white faces got a moment to shine.
A few publications such as LOVE, Vogue Russia, Harper’s Bazaar U.S. and Porter managed to exclude women of color all together, while publications like Teen Vogue, Vogue Taiwan, Vogue India and Paper led the diversity charge this year.
The statistics show that much like other areas in the fashion industry (and in the world if we’re really being honest), diversity is slowly improving but we still have a ways to go.
The report also included stats about different aspects of diversity in relation to magazine covers such as body type, transgender representation and age.
In a nutshell, only 6 women over the size of 12 graced a magazine cover this year, transgender women accounted for 0.7% of cover bookings and women aged 50 and above graced the covers of fashion glossies 34 times this year.
The statistics paint a very slow moving yet hopeful picture of seeing more images that truly represent everyday women. As Black women we have and continue to create outlets that celebrate our beauty, however it’s important for young women of color to understand that we’re beautiful not only on our own but alongside any other race. Here’s to hoping that in 2017 we make leaps and bounds when it comes to diversity, inclusion and true representation.
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