The thing about intention is that it’s also implicit. And it doesn’t matter how much we try to window-dress it with the ‘right kind of values’, the intention always shows up. Like in the case of the latest cover of the Vogue issue, that celebrates 14 global superstars who ‘transcend borders’. In each of the magazine issues, Vogue has done the ‘woke’ thing by shining a light on actors of various nationalities, and yet somewhere things got really, really murky.
— Vogue Magazine (@voguemagazine) March 14, 2019
Each of the magazine cover showed a Caucasian woman taking centre-stage, while actors of Asian, African-American heritage sat around her. White women took precedence over other races and those of Asian, Indian and African heritage were relegated to being the sideshow. They’re ‘also’ there on the cover as the limelight shines brightly on the white Caucasian woman, obviously the most important superstar.
You could have tried to not systematically put the white person in the middle with the POCs to the sides
— Isa St-Pierre (@Isi_litt) March 14, 2019
Not to poke the fire, but isn’t it sort of telling that the caucasian women are in the center and on higher ground than the others?
— Responder (@islitdownhere) March 14, 2019
Lea Seydoux is disarmingly beautiful. Everyone looks gorgeous. Great styling, but maybe you could of used a woman of colour as central instead of elevating the white people again and again. This gesture isn’t enough.
— Riley (@RileyW_) March 14, 2019
Twitter picked up on it, and obviously no one shied away from sharing their two cents on the cover. Some even went ahead to question the inclusion of Scarlett Johansson, an actor accused of usurping the role of an Asian actor in the live-action adaptation of Ghost In The Shell, based on a Japanese anime. Johansson was once again trolled when she reportedly took on the role of a transgender, much to the outrage of working trans-actors and activists. She later withdrew from the project.
I’m glad scar jo is here she transcends not only borders but race
— Yuriko (@yurikomunir) March 14, 2019
It’s great to see Scarlett Johansson on the cover too! Forget borders – her ability to transcend races in movies is a true talent __
— Bqv (@BlackQueerVegan) March 14, 2019
It’s obviously a new role, I’m sure shes supposed to be a person of color or maybe even a disable person.
— liese__ (@frangipancakes) March 14, 2019
Great to see Asian actress Scarlett Johansson on the cover that transcends borders
— Zara-Blue Barry (@FitnessByBlue) March 14, 2019
Ok but why would they put Scarlett Johansson on this cover about “transcending borders” considering how she’s known for taking roles from that should be given to people of color… that’s kind of a dumb decision
— 9966_ (@forinfinitii) March 14, 2019
One of the magazine covers feature Bollywood actor Deepika Padukone, who like other women of colour, have been placed on the side. Other actors featuring on the cover include Lea Seydoux, Adesua Etomi-Wellington and Instagram influencer, Angelababy.