Cosmopolitan’s ‘Racist’ Beauty Guide

Not too long ago, Twitter users began an uproar about Cosmopolitan’s new guide on beauty-do’s and beauty-don’ts. Readers and users were outraged that the online beauty feature, called “21 Beauty Trends That Need to Die in 2015”, suggested discrimination and racial hate against women of color. Nearly a fifth of the “R.I.P.” column features women of color. The ‘outs’ were entirely African American women while the ‘ins’ were all white women.


Despite being published back in January of this year, the article’s potentially discriminatory angle was just brought to light, after someone posted their opinions online. Needless to say, Twitter called the magazine out and accused them of being racist and immorally defining what constitutes beauty:







Coincidence? Sounds like quite a big ‘slip to us, as women all over the world continue the backlash for Cosmo’s lack of judgement.

Before a formal apology, Cosmo replied to a Twitter user by simply saying, “Empowering and supporting all women is our mission, and here, we fell short. We apologize and will do better in the future.” As a direct reply tweet and not a stand-alone public tweet, people criticised the publication even more, slamming the apology as “flimsy” and “superficial”. What do you think?

To prevent further complications, an editor’s note was posted to the article a few days later: “This article focuses on beauty trends with images that represent those trends. Some images have been taken out of context, and we apologize for any offense. Celebrating all women is our mission, and we will continue to work hard to do that.”

Clearly, Cosmo failed to recognize the error which makes us question their stance on racial equality. What’s even more perturbing is that the article remains on Cosmo’s website until this very day, and there are no signs of them taking the initiative to remove it from the site after the controversy.


Cosmo continues to be under heat as angry readers and commentators on social media call for a boycott. With a doubt, the single publication has cost Cosmo a significant amount of faithful followers. Hopefully, future features will utilize more inclusive portrayals of beauty as well as racial equity.


– Hyun Jung Choi ‘16

Header: Cosmopolitan

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