Should We Care About Mindy Kaling’s Elle Close Up?

Christine Hanwick

Why was Mindy Kaling’s Elle cover a close-up (and in black and white) while the other three Elle women of comedy covers for February (Allison Williams, Zooey Deschanel and Amy Poehler) had full-body shots and were in color? This seemed to be a question blowing up the internet and twitter this past week. Many deducted that it was because Kaling was the only woman of color–and the only size 8.

Some of the online comments:

“Mindy Kaling’s Elle cover looks different from the others,”

“@ELLEmagazine Mindy Kaling cover is just plain racist and fat-ist. You do not empower women ELLE, you bring them down.”

But should we care? I mean Mindy Kaling herself said in a tweet, “I love my @ELLEmagazine cover. It made me feel glamorous & cool. And if anyone wants to see more of my body, go on thirteen dates with me.”


Well, Lauren Duca from the Huffington Post thinks–that although Kaling’s remark is positive and funny–we should care (Source).

This was the second time as of late that Elle has been accused of covering up a woman on the cover. Just last year, Melissa McCarthy posed on the cover of Elle wearing an oversized coat which seemed to completely cover her figure. Everyone in the media seemed to gasp about the cover…that is until McCarthy said she picked the coat out herself (Source).

And Duca explains in her article that yes, it’s great that Kaling felt pretty and that McCarthy picked out her coat, but what’s important to keep in mind is that Elle magazine affects more women than just those they feature on the cover. There are women just like McCarthy and Kaling (in shape, size and color) who read the magazine and the problem is: these women “aren’t celebrated nearly as often as the main stream ideal.” And so when they are pictured but cropped off or the color is altered, it sends a negative message about these women’s colors and sizes–like it’s not ok or acceptable to be dark or more than a size 6. But it’s more than ok–a woman should feel beautiful in whatever shape or size or color she is.

Duca says the solution is simple: “Give us more real women, more women with curves and women of color, and it will seem less offensive, when just one of them gets cropped.”

Can I get an Amen?