Photo by Inez and Vinoodh for Vogue
Unless you have been living under a rock, you probably saw Vogue’s latest editorial with Gigi Hadid and Zayn Malik. You also probably heard all the outrage that exploded regarding the cover, because the theme of the August cover story was gender fluidity.
Naturally, everyone was confused as to why a famously straight couple would be representing the genderfluid community. To be fair, I don’t think Zayn or Gigi had an educated understanding as to what gender fluidity is, but you would think that a major publication such as Vogue would know better than to put a couple that isn’t gender fluid on the cover of a story about gender fluidity.
As I pondered this while reading all the articles people have written about the fiasco, all of which essentially said the same things, it became obvious to me that this was part of a bigger problem. Vogue knew what they were doing, but in their eyes, the most important part of a cover is attracting a reader. Someone had to know that putting Gigi Hadid in a suit on the cover and calling it genderfluid would stir the pot. It makes you think that may have been the point all along.
We have all heard the talk about the consistent decline in the print industry, so it isn’t hard to believe that major companies would resort to problematic covers for the sake of publicity. This is especially true for the month of August because it is right before the wild month that is September. With the release of the September issues and New York Fashion Week approaching rapidly, publishers have to get attention in any way possible. Vogue did just that. Everyone is waiting for their next move, which just so happens to be their biggest issue of the year.
I honestly wouldn’t be surprised if a conflict were to arise between Zayn, Gigi, and Vogue, because of how naive the publication made the two celebrities look. I can’t imagine the backlash from the article sat very well with either of them.
Business tactic or not, it doesn’t excuse the controversial cover. The genderfluid community has a right to be angry about the spread because it is flat out disrespectful. Sexuality and gender shouldn’t be used to sell anything. Gender fluidity isn’t a fashion trend and it most definitely isn’t just borrowing a shirt from your boyfriend’s closet. The slow change our generation is experiencing when it comes to gender norms needs to be represented correctly or we aren’t moving towards the right goal. Everyone, especially cultural icons, need to be informed about social issues. Gender identity doesn’t deserve to be exploited for the gain of a company. Changing society’s mindset to be more accepting isn’t easy, so it must be worth it.