Are Women of Color Not Good Enough for Mainstream Magazine Covers?


Huffington Post recently posted about a study conducted between September 2012-September 2013 in which 16 mainstream magazines such as Glamour, Self, Women’s Health, Marie Claire, etc were assessed for the number of women of color that were on the covers, and the results were less than ideal but really shouldn’t come as a shock. In revealed that most mainstream women’s magazines do not have women of color as cover girls. Maxim magazine was ranked the last by being the only one in the study to have 0 women of color grace its cover over the course of the last year. Out of the 16 mainstream women’s magazines, only 18% of the covers within the last year featured women of color on the color!

This study reinforces the notion that women of color are not seen as valuable as white women in mainstream culture. Magazines such as Ebony, Essence, Sister 2 Sister, Jones, Black Hair, Latina, etc. continue to be the leaders in the magazine world that serve as sites of empowerment for women for color. In addition, some of the mainstream magazines are doing sister magazines that showcase women of color in their own publications. For example, Glamour has created Glam Belleza Latina, which is nice, but do we really have to have our own magazine just to be featured on the cover?


As an avid magazine reader who has been in love with magazine since I was a little girl. I recognize the importance of young and older women of color looking to a magazine stand and seeing women who look like them. When I use to collect Jet Magazines as tween I loved seeing people who resembled me on the cover who were beautiful and successful. It made me believe anything was possible! Had I seen a women who look like me on the cover of Glamour or Elle it would have made me want to buy that magazine even more. I have brought some of these before regardless of the covers but it would have entice to buy more if there was a women of color on the cover whose experiences I could connect with or whose presence as a African American or Latina women I could connect to. It is not enough to give us our own spin-off publications. It is necessary for our beauty and brilliance to be showcased on mainstream covers all over the world and in all markets! Thankfully, there are places digitally (such as: Clutch, The Root, etc) and in print (Essence, Ebony, etc) who already give us a voice and a visual of the confident, empowered , and fabulous women of color of the world which is to be applauded now more than ever if this is the direction that mainstream magazine covers and stories are to go.

In a country where the Latino population is rapidly growing and diversity is all around us, mainstream magazines need to wake up to the notion that women of color have been and will always be just as worthy and wonderful and worth their while to put on and in the most popular women’s magazines.

Regal Resource: In Statistical Look At Cover Girls Of Color, Maxim Is The Least Diverse

I Want To Hear From You:

  • Do we have to have our own magazines in order to be featured?
  • Do you think we will ever get to a place where women of color grace mainstream covers frequently?
  • Why do you think women of color are not used as much on covers?
  • What women of color would you most like to see grace the cover of a women’s magazine (mainstream or of color magazine)?