Why This 'Cosmo' Story Should've Never Ran

by Lauren Turner

You know when you're just innocently reading something and then notice something else that's seriously wrong with it? Well thanks to The Gloss, that's what happened while reading Cosmopolitan's "21 Beauty Trends That Need To Die In 2015." At first glance, the article seems like just a regular round-up about all the beautiful trends we miss from 2014. But once I scrolled all the way through, I realized something that was totally of. Out of the 21 trends (and 42 pictures), only three of them are of women of color. And all three of those images are shown on the "R.I.P" side. Meanwhile, all of the new trends (titled, "Hello, Gorgeous") are of white women only.

Let me make this clear: My problem is not that there are only three black women in the whole thing, because I know how hard it is to find images that show super specific trends or looks. What I do have a problem with is that the only time we see the images of the black women, they are slammed with a negative connotation. And even though this article isn't even about race, we need more positive images of women of color, everywhere.

I know that this wasn't Cosmo's intent or purpose, and I appreciate the "note from the editor," which apologizes and reminds readers that they're trying to celebrate all women. But what happens when articles like this put women of color in the negative box, is that readers subconsciously associate women of color in a detrimental way. I can say this because even as a woman of color, I've done it myself. And in the age when Lupita Nyong'o is at the center of the envy bulls-eye and Dreamworks releases a film with a natural-haired lead, I would hope that readers would be less assuming, and writers would be more aware.

Coming from an office in which I was the only woman of color, I know what a difference it makes when these conversations are had and questions are asked. Let’s hope that Cosmopolitan is more thoughtful when they decide to do another story like this featuring “dos” and “donts” and really show what they mean when they say they “celebrate all women.”