Out of 29 issues that Venus Zine has published nationally in the last eight years, only four have been women that could be described as anything other than white. Fashion designer Anna Sui, Icelandic pop star Bjork, and Sri Lankan electro-hopper M.I.A. were the only three, until this summer’s issue hit stands this week. Touting Missy Elliott as its cover model, the quarterly magazine for creative women introduced its first hip-hop themed issue, a pleasant surprise in both theme and initiative. Has it really taken this long?
Unfortunately, yes. But perhaps the hip-hop issue with the Missy Q&A and feature on other female rappers in the game as well as the online counterpart “women in hip-hop timeline” might broaden the mag’s readership. But maybe they’re like me, and they’ve been there all along, just waiting for the publication to get a little less white and a little more hip(-hop). (And while we’re at it, there are rarely any queer cover ladies. The only out women I spotted were Carrie Brownstein with Sleater-Kinney and JD Samson of Le Tigre, posed with their bands.)
It’s not really fair to just pick on Venus, though. Feminist magazine Bust also sticks to what they think sells, and that’s still a lot of white. They do get props for featuring Eve, Rosario Dawson, Sandra Oh, and Rosie Perez in the last several years, but they are also bi-monthly, so those odds are really quite similar to Venus‘s diversity.
With so many gorgeous, talented, different women available, why is it that magazines that claim to be different from Cosmo seem to cater to the same kind of buyers? I haven’t been so excited to see someone new on the cover of a magazine since, well, Venus put M.I.A. on its cover. Hopefully we won’t have to wait for another year or two for a different kind of cover girl.
Who would your ideal cover woman be?