Vogue just dropped its latest issue, and the cover features an ensemble of models. Among the seven women to be featured is Ashley Graham, finally fulfilling one of her biggest career goals by making a newsstand appearance on the fashion bible.
The rest of the March cover crew is comprised of Gigi Hadid, Kendall Jenner, Adwoa Aboah, Liu Wen, Vittoria Ceretti, and Imaan Hammam. Graham scored her first-ever (solo) Vogue cover recently, when she fronted the glossy's British edition in January; this is her first time, however, appearing on American Vogue.
Inside the issue, Vogue's Maya Singer makes a case for how beauty and body image standards have shifted and (gasp!) maybe even disappeared entirely. "What would happen if society threw the rule book away? What is beauty when no standard measure applies?" she writes. "The cover of this magazine answers that question."
Well, that's debatable: Yes, there's a range of skin tones showcased (albeit a somewhat limited range, erring towards the paler end of the spectrum), but just one out of the seven models on a cover proclaiming that "no norm is the new norm" doesn't have a svelte, sample-size figure. That's 14.2% of the issue's cover castings, which is a far ways away from the 67% of American women that are a size 14 or up.
To be clear, Graham looks absolutely gorgeous. And it's certainly progress of some sort, albeit very gradual progress, to see a plus model (and to see her entire body, not just her face) featured not just in the magazine, but in its most-visible, prime real estate.
But having just one plus-size model showcased alongside half a dozen women with runway-standard physiques, for an issue that's intended to underscore fashion's democratization, feels a bit conspicuous, no? (There's also the fact that Graham is the only model out of the crew covering her thigh in the cover shot.) Let us know what you think in the comments below.