Renowned comedic actress Mindy Kaling graced the cover of Elle magazine this February. She’s well known for her role on The Office as actress, writer, and director, as protagonist of her own show The Mindy Project, and for her position as a curvaceous, coloured woman in an incredibly public role.
And yet, check out Mindy’s cover:
While Mindy was certainly and openly delighted about her Elle cover, there is a serious difference between her image and the three other Women in TV themed covers. The three other women – Zooey Deschanel, Amy Poehler, Allison Williams – were featured at three-quarter shots and in colour; Mindy is featured close-up and in black and white, washing out what makes her completely different and unique from the three other actresses.
Mindy may be happy with her cover – and, yes, she should be, she is an incredibly beautiful, talented women and the cover certainly depicts this – yet, the racist, sexist implications behind the shot need to be brought into question. The cover should be perceived as controversial and women – women of colour, curvaceous women who do not adhere to the stick thin standard magazine culture adores, women everywhere who desire a more accurate, honest view of different bodies – should demand better from their society.
So, perhaps it is best that we continue to question these implications, that we criticise the racist, sexist, and demoralising realities behind the cover while upholding Mindy’s character and her wonderful talent.