Controversial ELLE Cover Image of Mindy Kaling for Feburary 2014

Image of all 4 ELLE covers running this month, featuring comedy actresses Zooey Deschanel, Mindy Kaling, Allison Williams, and Amy Poehler. Photo used from Yahoo!'s story.

Image of all 4 ELLE covers running this month, featuring comedy actresses Zooey Deschanel, Mindy Kaling, Allison Williams, and Amy Poehler. Photo used from Yahoo!’s story.

Can you spot the difference?

ELLE has done these kinds of issues in the past, with highlighting multiple cover girls in the beginning of each year. What makes Kaling’s cover stand out is the fact that she’s the only Woman of Color featured, and yet her image is also the only black-and-white photo. While the other actresses are featured in full-body shots, Kaling’s curves are cropped out so the image focuses purely on her face.

Internet outcries suggest that ELLE’s directorial decision making in producing the featured photos is both racist and body-shaming. Not that Kaling’s photo isn’t gorgeous, and she ought to be featured more on newsstands. But crying “Creative Vision!” won’t save ELLE now. Not when it’s so blatantly obvious.

Blogger soletstalkabout wrote, “Mindy Kaling got the cover of Elle and we’re supposed to cheer for her even though, intentionally or not, she’s clearly been treated differently from the white women whose covers are running at the same time.”

Actresses Gabourey Sidibe and Megan Fox were featured on ELLE at the same time in 2010.

Actresses Gabourey Sidibe and Megan Fox were featured on ELLE at the same time in 2010.

This is not the first time ELLE opted for a closer shot when featuring plus-sized women. In 2010, Gabourey Sidibe also had a medium shot when featured on ELLE in 2010. Her skin was also lightened, but ELLE claimed “nothing out of the ordinary” was done to the photo.

Jennifer Babu

Jennifer Babu is the editor-in-chief of Videshi Magazine. She's a film & TV addict, and suffers from sleep deprivation (self-inflicted). Follow her on twitter @jenibabu.

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