There’s been a bunch of internet uproar (which to be fair translates to a low hum) over Gabourey Sidibe’s Elle cover. The magazine’s 25th-anniversary October issue features 25 women in their 20s who are really goin’ for it! Sidibe, Megan Fox, Lauren Conrad, and Amanda Seyfried get separate covers, and Gabby’s is the only one that’s framed close-up. People can’t handle it! Among the criticisms: She should do the same pose as everyone else. Her skin seems lighter. Her weave is bad. Sidibe’s inclusion “feels like a weird fetishization that borders on patronizing,” says Salon.
I don’t see what the problem is here. Elle picked Gabourey Sidibe as a game-changer, so she is on one of the covers. Would people be less upset if Elle had put each of these four women into the same tiny dress and asked “Who’s wearin’ it best?” They constructed the Sidibe cover in a specific way so that she would look her best, and she looks beautiful. Is it really so jarring to see someone heavy on a magazine cover that people need to freak out over how it “should look” instead? This is how it looks.
“We have four separate covers this month, and Gabby’s cover was not retouched any more or less than the others,” said Elle in a statement. “We had 25 cover-worthy subjects in our portfolio and we chose Gabby because of who she is….We shot this as a story of exuberant young women changing the world. If you take a look at the portfolio, each of the women were shot in different ways and for different reasons.”
Annie on Twitter: @EWAnnieBarrett