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.
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.
love zendaya and willow on the cover of w. don’t love how washed out and over lit the cover is to lighten them. zendaya look like a zombie.— Boyega?Malik?Beharie (@Melan8edFangrl) March 9, 2016
Zendaya & willow look....,.very pale......hmmm.... https://t.co/JJmuOHbjEx— arealglitterboy (@whateverassata) March 9, 2016
Look, I love Willow Smith and Zendaya and Yoncé BUT WHAT ABOUT THE DARK SKIN GIRLS?!! WHY DOESN'T ANYONE CARE ABOUT THEM!?!??— cecil ia (@Cece_Sarena_xXx) January 13, 2016
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.
Had a new shoot come out today and was shocked when I found my 19 year old hips and torso quite manipulated. These are the things that make women self conscious, that create the unrealistic ideals of beauty that we have. 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 (right side) and I love it???? Thank you @modelistemagazine for pulling down the images and fixing this retouch issue.
"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.
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