Why W Magazine's New Cover Is Facing Critical Backlash

by
Cierra Bailey
Twitter users are questioning and criticizing W Magazine's new cover photo that features teen stars, Zendaya and Willow Smith looking noticeably pale.

W Magazine cover

Renowned fashion publication, W Magazine, has released the new cover photo for its April issue which features teen celebrities Kiernan Shipka, Zendaya and Willow Smith.

The cover image shows all three young women with dark lipstick and wearing variations of black and white attire while giving fierce glares into the camera.

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At first glance, the image is absolutely stunning. However, the Twittersphere noticed a very disturbing editing choice.

Zendaya is biracial — born to a black father and white mother — and Willow Smith is the daughter of black actors Will and Jada Pinkett Smith. Both women appear to have been lightened up or “washed out,” creating a noticeable change in their natural hues.

While it is notable that the magazine features the two young stars of color; what good is highlighting their beauty if it's being altered?

Several powerhouse magazines have been accused of skin lightening in the past — including Vogue and Elle — and pretty much every time they release statements denying that they’ve made any changes to models’ skin tones.

However, last October Zendaya was photographed for Modeliste magazine and took to Instagram to express her own frustrations with how her photos were edited.

"These are the things that make women self conscious, that create the unrealistic ideals of beauty that we have," Zendaya captioned below the before-and-after photos side by side. "Anyone who knows who I am knows I stand for honest and pure self love. So I took it upon myself to release the real pic."

Modeliste manipulated the singer/actresses hips and torso by significantly slimming them down, creating an unrealistic body type that does not belong to her.

If magazines are changing women’s figures, then it is extremely plausible (and likely) that they are also altering their skin tones.

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Even if they aren’t retouching the photos to flush out color, it is common knowledge that lighting choices are crucial elements in photo-shoots which can greatly impact how the subject looks in the finished product.

Traditionally, fair skin has been deemed by society as “more beautiful” than dark skin. By manipulating these ladies' complexions, W Magazine would be upholding a very damaging and discriminatory standard of beauty

Banner Photo Credit: Twitter @tomandlorenzo

Thumbnail Photo Credit: Twitter @ZendayaMedia

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