What is Covers & Content?
Covers & Content is our monthly column unique to The Closet Feminist where we take a look at each of the three major Canadian fashion magazines: Elle Canada, Fashion, and Flare, to see how they are faring in terms of diversity. When going through each issue, we ask three main questions:
1. Does the cover feature a person of colour?
2. Do any of the major editorials feature models of colour?
3. Do any of the major editorials feature a “plus-size” model?
What do we mean by “person/model of colour” ?
Someone who does not appear to have white privilege at first glance.
What do we mean by “plus size model” ?
Someone who does not appear to have thin privilege at first glance.
Why does the cover star matter?
We focus on the cover star because their persona and face is what is used to draw in readers and actually sell the magazine. Who is put on the cover says a lot about who that magazine considers worthy of recognition, further fame and notoriety, and is generally powerful enough to draw a crowd.
Why do we focus on fashion editorials?
The editorials, or major fashion stories of each issue are being examined because they are a fashion magazine’s raison d’etre, and are their major feat for each month. Editorials arguably represent the culmination of the ideals and inspiration for each issue. Who they hire to show off their opus of the month, the models, says a lot.
Why do we only keep track of perceived appearances with regards to ethnicity and size?
I recognize that diversity means a lot of things including gender, sexual orientation, abilities, and so forth. For the purpose of this column I have zeroed in on weight and race in particular because it is something I feel comfortable keeping track of. For example, you can’t immediately see someone’s sexual orientation, and a lot of people have “invisible” disabilities, meaning you cannot see them unless you get to know the person more and they share that part of their life with you. Lastly, I can assume someone’s gender identity, but you know what they say about assuming things…Keeping track of models of colour and plus size models seems the most accessible to me for this project, though again, I recognize “diversity” means more than that.
Why do we focus on these three magazines?
We keep track of Elle Canada, Fashion, and Flare, because they are the three major Canadian magazines. Being a Canadian website, The Closet Feminist is especially interested in the fashion-related media produced in this country, so we subscribe to all three.