The new Vogue magazine cover featuring NBA LeBron James and model Gisele Bundchen is causing quite a disturbance around the internet chat-sites today. To view a picture of this Vogue cover, with photograph by famed Annie Liebovitz, posted at MSNBC, click here.
The issue revolving around this cover is the fact that LeBron is a muscular and handsome black man, while Gisele is a frail and pretty white woman; LeBron is being compared to a King Kong ape ready to pounce on the poor little maiden in distress on the cover. This is not at all what the cover-shot looked like to me when I clicked-in to take a look at it, but that is what this fuss is all about.
What I saw on the cover was a basketball player concentrating on his game, and a pretty cheerleader looking girl with a delightful smile and that this magazine is called the ‘Shape’ issue this month, devoted to telling people of all sizes what fashions are appropriate. My eyes made sense of the cover: two types of skin, two types of sizes, two different sexes; there’s something inside for all people.
I understand how some may be hanging onto past teachings about what skin colors are defined in what stereotypical ways, but I feel strongly that as a society we need to try to move beyond this point. Every time that somebody participates in bringing up negative past happening as news today, they participate in furthering the racial discriminations that we would all like to see dead.
When you argue that a magazine cover like this looks abstract toward what its actual meaning is, this causes more people to become outspoken about racial injustices from all eras. In my opinion, these online comments about this magazine are silly. The comments serve no purpose except to bring past hurts into present activities and conversations. Vogue took a photograph of two celebrities, in two different shapes for their ‘Shape’ issue, and that is all that this is.
Perhaps Vogue could have put a different photograph on the cover of their magazine, and I am very sure that they would have if they had realized that anybody would think that LeBron looked like King Kong. The fact is obvious that LeBron didn’t look like King Kong to them. They were seeing the same image as I do when I look at the picture. The topic was ‘Shapes’ so they needed two different shaped bodies: one big and one little.
People come in lots of fun and colorful shapes, or sizes. Today, our planet has the unique opportunity to participate in a world where prejudices only exist if they are downloaded into the system. The internet was a new community just a few years ago. It is our choice on what we want to bring into it. This Vogue argument belongs “out there” someplace and not “in here” in my opinion.