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Vice President-Elect Kamala Harris’s Upcoming VOGUE Cover Didn’t Quite Hit the Mark

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.

Vice President-Elect Kamala Harris’s placement on VOGUE’s February issue held hopes of introducing the new Biden-Harris administration with style this past week. Many were initially excited, as this symbolizes a new era of change and celebrates the first woman VP holding office, but disappointment took hold when the cover was leaked on Jan. 11.

 
 
 
 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Vogue (@voguemagazine)

The shot highlights VP-elect Harris standing, hands folded, in her casual, campaigning go-to outfit – a jacket, jeans, shirt combo with Converse – in front of curtains whose colors highlight the sorority she joined at Howard University, Alpha Kappa Alpha. 

However, according to Harris’s team, this shot was not intended for the cover. Instead, the current “digital cover” of VP-elect Harris posing in a powder-blue pantsuit was what her team believed would be the cover of next month’s issue. Apparently, while the Harris team was very involved in the entirety of the shoot, the decision of the cover itself ultimately fell to VOGUE’s discretion. 

In addition, Harris’s photo was not lit to compliment her skin tone, leaving her lookind washed out.

In light of the recent events at the Capitol and President Trump’s impeachment, a magazine cover may seem trivial. But VP-elect Harris’s cover was intended to highlight the historic and monumental accomplishment of finally putting a woman in the White House. While VOGUE explained that their decision on the cover was to emphasize Harris’s "authentic, approachable nature,” the cover fell short of what both the first female, and first Black Vice President deserved. 

So, why does it matter? 

With VP-elect Harris paving the way for women in positions of power, VOGUE should have been aware that the way they portray Harris would be setting the standard for all of the Black women to follow in Harris's footsteps in the political world. Harris’s cover represents more than just the first Black, South-Asian VP to take office; it also represents a new era within the US. An era where women of all backgrounds have not only the opportunity, but also the tangible ability to run for office – and win. 

It signifies that even with all the prejudice aimed at women of color, we can still win. VOGUE’s cover fell short of highlighting the historical and sentimental values that Harris’s win embodies. By attempting to make her seem like a “woman of the people,” the magazine actually diminished the real significance of being elected to this office. 

Keeping in mind the fact that VOGUE has been repeatedly called out for the racism in select issues, the magazine should have worked to ensure that their cover would accurately portray what Kamala Harris as Vice President means, both for the country and for the millions of little girls looking to her for inspiration.   

 

Merry is a third-year political science & economics double major at Boston University. She is a former fashion merchandising major and hopes to work in editorial fashion, PR, or social media post-graduation while also focusing on the journalistic aspects of both her majors. She currently contributes to a number of publications while simultaneously working as an editor at Her Campus BU. Merry was also previously the managing editor of Her Campus at VCU and worked as an editorial intern for Her Campus Media. Contact her at mariamgnebiyu@gmail.com & @merry.nebiyu on Instagram.
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