Fug or Fab the Cover: Kanye West and Kim Kardashian on Vogue, April 2014


My feelings about this are varied and complicated (and LONG, so I apologize), so let’s break them down together. (Or you can skip to GFY Kanye’s take at the bottom.)

[Photo: Annie Leibovitz/Vogue]

1) The look:

The dress fits her nicely. Credit to Kim for putting some zip into her eyes, too, but right half of her face is in semi-sinister shadow, which I LOVE imagining is because Anna Wintour secretly authorized a dash of Evil Shading. The lips and stripe of makeup on her left cheek just look half-assed, though. I’m sure the idea was to focus on the diamond engagement ring and nothing else, for some kind of forced regality, but overall, the lack of any other styling feels boring to me — surely an aesthetic choice to keep things extremely simple, but the result is that it looks like Brides, and not Vogue.

2) The Pose:

If the story is about both of them, it’s bizarre to me that Kanye is relegated to a footnote who’s just sniffing mopily at her neck; I agree with the praise for an interracial couple being on the cover, but if that is truly the achievement, then I don’t know why they couldn’t stand there more proudly as equals. Instead, he is stiffly cuddling the air in front of her uterus while her hands equally stiffly seem to be keeping his at bay. Why put him there at all? This feels like a compromise, as if Anna would only do it if Kanye were present, and Kanye is actively trying to force Kim front and center anyway so that he can call it a win. SPOILER: GFY Kanye agrees with that.

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3) The Editor’s Letter:

Even if it’s true, Anna Wintour is never going to come out and say, “Kanye TOTALLY brokered this deal with me, are you kidding?” But in addressing it at all, she gives the most careful and possibly transparently tepid endorsement of Kim ever; I can practically picture her gagging at her desk and thumbing through a thesaurus for ways to euphemize “sex tape”:

“Kanye is an amazing performer and cultural provocateur, while Kim, through her strength of character, has created a place for herself in the glare of the world’s spotlight, and it takes real guts to do that.”

It’s strength of something; self-promotion, self-belief, self-shilling, and yes, the ability to work hard, if that work is the business of being herself and changing clothes like a paper doll for each successive public appearance. I don’t harbor delusions that there is much of a personal touch to the Kardashian Empire beyond stamping their name on things and holding them in public with a sultry half-smile, but certainly all that travel and posing takes up time that she regularly spends, so… she excels at being busy. In my opinion, it doesn’t particularly take guts to stand in the glare of a spotlight you sought and pushed and shoved your way into with such relentless zeal. So Anna, let’s not pretend Kim’s ascent has anything to do with her insides nor her sterling core — or at least don’t let’s pretend you think that. Don’t tease us so, you sly fox. I think saying nothing is better than saying something that rings so absurd. Kim is a salesman, period. And it’s okay to admit that.

4) Why did she cave?

To be honest, the story of the machinations behind the scenes, whatever they were, is more fascinating to me than the fact of the cover itself, and I hope Vanity Fair tries to tell that story someday. There are rumors that Anna banned Victoria Beckham from her cover – someone who has carved out an actual place for herself in high fashion and IS a respected woman with talents in that arena that nobody anticipated, nor can deny — which makes it sit strange and suspicious that she turned around and handed one to a person who make klothes for Sears. Kanye is a legitimate pop-culture force, but Anna would never have put him on the cover by himself. This is also bizarre because Anna supposedly fought this cover for so long. What changed? I can’t think of anything Kim has done in the intervening time to change Anna’s mind, except a) yoke herself to Kanye, which absolutely shouldn’t be the definition of her worth by anyone’s math because that’s awfully archaic, and b) wear more stuff that’s questionable. It’s not like she discovered cold fusion and/or went and got a neuroscience degree — and THANK GOD for that; nobody needs her poking around in their skulls — nor did anything to shade the public perception of her. If anything, she’s someone who MAY deliberately have offset the PR loss from one spectacularly ill-advised and embarrassing marriage by finding herself a bigger and splashier one, and Willing To Accept A Lot Of Nonsense So You’ll Accept Me OOPS I MEAN FINDING TRUE LOVE FOREVER is not really a positive character trait. We all know money is driving every magazine, but Vogue usually covers it better than this, which is part of why it feels so disappointing and unsettling.

I’ll be honest, I never thought it would happen. I didn’t think Anna Wintour would want to endorse even tacitly likes of Kris Jenner — not even KIM so much as the craven Kris — and I thought she’d rather die than look this grasping. Her reasons can’t just be that Kanye begged her (unless he has photos of her with Roger Federer doing something unseemly, and frankly, if I were Anna, I’d rather just be like, “Great! Release those, because OMG I NEED TO GLOAT”).  The tenor of the cover — the Cosmo-like hashtag on the cover, the “selfie” story about Kate Upton, the half-hearted commitment to any other teasers — suggests that even Vogue knows there’s no point to caring that much about anything else in here, because it’s JUST a way to go all-in on trying to monetize Kardashian (or Kimye) Mania. It’s not like Vogue is the only one to do this, but it is the most surprising. Newsstand sales, buzz, a more plugged-in reputation (not to mention the heady rush of being wooed by people who treat you like the only thing they can’t live without, and maybe some iTunes gift cards); all of those are lovely things. But does Vogue need any of those things? Doesn’t it feel a bit desperate? Does the Fashion Bible of Record really need to court public opinion this much?

It makes me wonder if Anna feels pressure from within, or without I suppose, to bend and flex and be perceived as having her finger on the youth pulse so as never to be accused of being out of touch — or whether Vogue is getting a rep as as too much of a dinosaur. Or both. In her letter, Wintour says:

“Part of the pleasure of editing Vogue, one that lies in a long tradition of this magazine, is being able to feature those who define the culture at any given moment, who stir things up, whose presence in the world shapes the way it looks and influences the way we see it.”

Setting aside the BS factor there: Doesn’t that — the pop-culture part; the world’s appetite for her in spite of its distaste for her — all make a better argument for putting her on, say, Vanity Fair, and not Vogue? And therein lies the spike in this cover’s punch: If Vogue were REALLY embracing Kim as worthy of its cover real estate, it would give her the same treatment it gives the other people it respects. She would get a proper editorial spread, and a profile on her as a person, instead of as half of what’s being sold on that very cover as a trend piece. Make no mistake, that is a careful stroke from Anna: Making the story about how we can’t stop talking about Kim puts the onus on the world instead of on Vogue, and basically says, “You are the ones who made this person, not us; we’re just looking at the aftermath of what you wrought.” It is not an endorsement; just a magnifying glass. And it feels very much like Vogue simultaneously making the decision and ducking it, like if Vanna White called out “I’d like an X, please,” and then, when none turned up, still stood to the side of the Wheel board pouting at Contestants Row with deepest sympathy, as if it wasn’t her voice at all.

That comment, to me, is also purely so Anna can sleep at night feeling like she acceded to something purely by the letter of the law and not by its spirit. I also think, as a statement, it’s only half-true. Vogue did put The Spice Girls and Lena Dunham on the cover, but moments like that are few and far between; more often than not you get uninspired pics like the November cover of Kate Winslet. I wonder if Anna’s attempted rationalization speaks more to what Vogue wants to become and what we’ll see down the line, and could spark an interesting discussion of what Vogue‘s place actually is in the landscape — or whether this points to an identity crisis on Vogue‘s part that takes it to a place where it’s less about celebrating art, and more about celebrating commerce. Or was it already there? If an annual YouTube issue is next, you’ll know someone’s seat is getting hot.

5) How do we all feel about it?

I’ve said that I think caving on the cover — not just the fact of it but the sudden reversal on it — makes Vogue look like it lacks confidence in its place in the world; it’s peculiar and grasping. There was also something really nice about the fact that there was a threshold that one couldn’t cross simply by releasing a sex tape and then standing on its shoulders and waving until we couldn’t stop looking. I am not clutching my pearls over it; Vogue isn’t precious to me. But I’m not cheering the decision either.  Kim Kardashian is not an underdog for whom I was rooting, and not somebody who I believe has been void of long-deserved respect. Nothing, least of all a Vogue cover, is owed to her simply for willing herself into existence. But she DID will herself into existence, and that IS a skill. It’s kind of like, don’t hate the hustler, hate the hustle. The world let her in; kind of like Two And A Half Men, there is an appetite for her, even if nobody you know personally is one of the people consuming it.

This doesn’t really have to do with Kim herself, but it’s been nibbling at my edges: I read an argument in which someone claimed this cover is a good thing because it’s super inspirational that she survived the slut-shaming of having revenge porn broadcast on the Internet. My concern about that argument is that I think it is extremely revisionist, and that because Kim has become incredibly famous, people want to absolve her of the really dumb (NOT slutty; just silly) thing she did by turning it into some kind of battlefield from which she emerged triumphant, rather than being like, “Yep, she did that, it was dumb, but she’s still here.” If anyone slut-shamed Kim, that’s terrible. But I think the world at large was just ridiculing the act itself. Kim made a sex tape. That’s fine. You watch whatever you want to watch on your own time, Kim. But it was PROFESSIONALLY LIT AND EDITED AND MONTAGED — seriously, there are shots of her walking on the beach intercut with it — which makes it the vainest and stupidest and most pointless of exercises UNLESS you plan on the world seeing you in it (or do you? AM I DOING IT WRONG?!?), so it’s nuts to me that she, and anyone, pretends she minded that it came out. She has said it made it hard for people to take her seriously, and yet its existence is the only reason she has an image for people to take one way or the other. She owes all her notoriety to it — and received from it, like a gift, an equally exploitative reality show that also makes it impossible to take her seriously. You can’t get a push up a mountain and then claim that push gave you blisters. Let’s not recast this as anything other than the fame grab it was — it’s not slutty; it was simply calculated — and in fact, acknowledging that is a better story. Her REAL triumph is that everyone in the WORLD believes that sex tape came out with her blessing, and yet she’s still here. And that’s not the first, second, or even third thing people talk about when they bring up her name. Own that, right? And as an aside, I get worried when people leap so quickly to using the term “slut-shaming” because that term has an actual cautionary purpose — it exists for a very real reason — and it would be bad if the world gets to a place where a person can do whatever the hell they want and then shut up their critics by calling it “[noun]-shaming.” That’s not why the term exists. It’s not a Get Out Of Jail Free card, or whatever. It’s a real thing people go through.

6) In sum: This cover is what it is. Kim Kardashian is what she is. Both are here, now; neither can be undone. Its just a cover, and in a month or two we’ll forget that we cared, and Anna knows that. The fact is, Kim Kardashian is an immovable force. We don’t have to like it, but she is what’s happening right now. It would be hypocritical of me to whine about it. We have made the decision ourselves to keep kovering Kim Kardashian. People have asked us to stop paying attention to her, and while I completely understand the request — I personally choose not to give her shows nor her merchandise my time or money — it doesn’t make sense for us to do that, because the fact of the matter is, pretending she isn’t going out in krazy klothes won’t make her go away. She isn’t relevant to fashion itself, but she does relentlessly put on its clothes to peddle herself; she uses her self-made platform to push a personal style she clearly thinks is edgy and intelligent and aspirational, and her evolution (or lack thereof) on that front is related to what this site does. To ignore that simply mutes a large part of the pop-culture conversation. It’s like denial. It doesn’t help anything, so let’s just all hold hands and march forward into the morass and hope someone better is on the other side.

Vogue may agree. It is allowed to take the temperature of pop culture water and decide to jump in; what rubs me wrong is it then turning around and pretend it was swimming in the pool all along.

However, if Anna next puts the Housewives of Wherever on the cover, I MAY clutch my pearls and move to the moon, just me and Justin Bieber and Richard Branson and Lance Bass (aren’t they the ones with tickets on Virgin Galactic?) and please SWEET LORD also David Beckham and a girl I can hang out with, like Emma Stone, so we can repopulate up there, and we are going to start over together and it will be really awkward and the first generation of our children will have a 50-50 chance of being douchebags, but we’ll deal.

7) However: If you want a cover subject who, in Anna’s words, “define[s] the culture at any given moment, who stir[s] things up, whose presence in the world shapes the way it looks and influences the way we see it,” the name of a person who’d fit that mandate is right there on this cover. Mindy Kaling has gotten where she is by writing, performing, and producing; she is sort of polarizing, in the sense that some people get her show and some don’t, but her tone is very much of the times, she’s used social media and the Internet to further her persona in clever ways (remember her blog?), and she folds the very pop culture she is part of into the show she’s making. She is impressive and charismatic, and she is a strong, smart woman of color who is confident in her skin and her size, in a way it would credit Vogue to recognize. Obviously Vogue doesn’t want to chase Elle, but giving Kaling her own cover — not one out of four, or whatever; one in color, which features more than just her face and can’t be confused for a DeBeers ad — would be a stronger avowal of hard work and character and pop culture and diversity than Kim and Kanye, in my opinion. I don’t mean this to feel like a stump speech, but it just makes me laugh that this issue gives off the whiff of Vogue trying really hard, and in fact a better solution may be right in there under their noses and they missed it.

8) In GFY Kanye’s estimation: “WE DID IT, FOOLS — I TOOK VOGUE TO SCHOOL AND PROVED THAT I RULE BY GETTING THEM TO FUEL THE FAME OF MY BABY-MULE, AND NO, THAT’S NOT AN INSULT BECAUSE MULES ARE DOPE. NO DISRESPECT. THEY REALLY KNOW HOW TO CARRY THINGS. BUT I DIGRESS. I LAID DOWN THE LAW AND GOT STUCK IN ANNA’S CRAW, AND SHE SAID SHE’D PUT US BOTH ON AND CALL IT A DRAW, BUT I STILL SAY I WON, BECAUSE I HID A TON, SO THE MAIN PART OF THE PICTURE IS THE BAKER OF MY BUN. SO THANKS ANNA WINTOUR, AND A HEARTY BONJOUR, FOR TAKING AN ATTITUDE DETOUR WITH YOUR BIBLE OF COUTURE AND MAKING IT A BROCHURE ABOUT MY LADY SO PURE AND HER VIBE SO MATURE. SHE WILL NEVER BE OBSCURE; INSTEAD SHE’LL ENDURE, AND NOW THAT YOU’VE ENSURED. SO THX. THE CHERUB RUG WITH MY FACE ON IT IS IN THE MAIL.”

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Comments (233):

  1. Kate
    +29

    I can’t even fathom what there is possibly left to learn about Kim K, and that is what is strangest to me about having her on the cover because what can they possibly talk about in the interview that is new? It is all already out there!

    •  Annie E
      +10

      They never talk about anything new with their cover subjects anyway. The cover story is always fawning and always a fluffy rehashing of things we already know about the subject.

  2. emerald_bunny
    +55

    I know this is a really, really unpopular opinion, but the more people rag and hate on her, the more I want to defend her. I have no feelings whatsoever about Kim getting the cover, Vogue means nothing to me personally. It amuses me imagining Anna Wintour having to budge, though.

    The cover itself is fine, the dress is pretty and I like the fact that Kanye stepped back to gave her the spotlight. I’m definitely romanticizing, but it sort of reads like “Here’s my lady, I think she’s awesome and I support her.” I do wish it was more interesting instead of evoking “Say Yes To The Dress” though.

    In essence I see what you’re saying: Kim seeks attention and has no real talent, sure. But the system is what’s wrong, Kim just worked it to her advantage. She’s a hustler and I respect that.

    • GFY Heather
      +30

      I agree with that – like I said, I’m not clutching my pearls over it. The psychology behind it is more interesting to me.

      • emerald_bunny
        +12

        Oh I didn’t mean to say you were ragging on her. :) I agree with the psychology behind it being interesting and I loved your musing on the topic. I just find it annoying/hilarious that people are hating on Kim so much. To paraphrase Eminem, we made her. Everyone reads about her and talks about her, yet they get upset when she gets a cover of Vogue. I mean, why? In the end, it’s just a magazine, however high we uphold it, and Kanye is right in the sense that she sort of is a pop icon.

        On a side note, am I the only one who finds it hilarious that seemingly all Kim’s exes end up with her doppelgangers?

        • lynn
          +97

          I do not get the ‘we made her’. I had nothing to do with this woman, her lack of class, her porn clip, her 2 minute marriage, her current marriage, reports from the past rappers she has slept with, or her banal tv show. I never speak about her, read about her, or think about her. The only time i ‘see’ her is here, when she is wearing yet again something trampy.

          What I most object to is the absolute abnegation of Vogue that it has any responsibility for taste, class, or fashion. As more and more of our cultural mediums, repositories and icons (think Gaga being fake-puked on, Bieber smart mouthing the attorney) simply renege on demonstrating any type of taste or class, we will become that which we most seek – nothing of consequence at all.

          • emerald_bunny
            +14

            Oh I’m sorry, I didn’t mean “we” as in “you and me”, just a generalized sweep on the society. Kim is vastly popular and rich because people read about her and then media keeps writing about her because people read about her.

            I have never seen even a minute of her reality show and I don’t even know how her voice sounds, but by reading articles about her here on GFY, in as a roundabout way it may be, we’re still participating.

          • bilbo
            +6

            I agree. I get that the ladies here think they have had no part in promoting Kim, that they are merely responding to a trend, but I exist, and I would not know about her if I did not read this blog.

    •  Jules
      +35

      I kind of want them to stay in love forever and become that weird old couple who collects kitschy art and eats the same meal every Friday night at their favourite restaurant, just because it would completely defy people’s expectations.

      • Heather
        +61

        I think they are perfect for each other. NOBODY else in the world would be cool with the amount of attention each of them gets, and NOBODY else in the world would be cool with courting more. He gives her a different level of cred, somehow, and she gives him arm candy in case he actually is gay and wants to stay bearded. It’s a perfect coupling.

        • Redthe22nd
          +9

          I totally agree with you about their perfect matchitude.

          Also, I have to say that I was a loyal reader for years and stopped as a result of all of the posts with 75 click-throughs (I just don’t have the workday time to spare anymore), but this may have brought me back:

          I TOOK VOGUE TO SCHOOL AND PROVED THAT I RULE BY GETTING THEM TO FUEL THE FAME OF MY BABY-MULE, AND NO, THAT’S NOT AN INSULT BECAUSE MULES ARE DOPE.

          Bless you ladies. You are a national treasure.

        • Li
          +5

          Speaking of the alleged bearding, how creepy is it that Riccardo Tisci is going to be their baby’s godfather? It makes me wonder what kind of contracts have been signed behind the scenes and how that poor baby is going to be raised.

      • milaxx
        +4

        I don’t think everyone gives that much thought to Kimye. Personally I don’t care if the crash & burn or live long & prosper.

      • Gypsy Danger
        +6

        Nice idea, but I don’t see them lasting. I will not be surprised when the announcement of them breaking up drops.

        •  Morris
          +10

          Why all the discussion! It’s been clear for years you can buy a Vogue cover. They lost credibility many moons ago. The end.
          I give K&K six more months.
          The end (for realz).

      • Fritanga
        +2

        Won’t happen – not just because the shelf life of this “relationship” is probably about another year or two at most, but because almost no celebrities stay married for very long, and actually, regular people don’t either anymore.

        One of these two will bolt soon, probably because one of them will be totally jealous of the attention the other one will get over some pretext or other. ::shrug::

    • bekabot
      +25

      I’m another person who doesn’t understand what’s up with the hating on this cover. I’m not vastly fond of it but I like it fine: the lighting is a little dim but adequate, the people are tall, dark, and handsome, the placement of their hands is almost beautiful (and certainly heartwarming) and they’re both wearing clothes that look good on them. (Plus, they haven’t been photoshopped into unrecognizablilty.) The color contrasts are a bit staid but they’re rich and satisfying. The whole arrangement is based on a painting by Rembrandt, for heaven’s sake. What’s wrong with that? Is it that Kim and Kanye, being low culture denizens, are unworthy of showing up in that kind of high-culture visual quote? Is that what’s inappropriate? Is it that he’s too black and she’s too fat? Is it that they look too married (“they could be any bride and groom,” etc., etc.)? What? What’s the big deal?

      I get the idea that lots of people think they (especially she) are too unaccomplished, but let’s face it, Vogue is not known for featuring persons (especially female persons) who are high-powered outside the limited part of the world with which Vogue pretends to deal. Vogue is a specialized type of magazine already, and women who are interested in clothes, and who shop for clothes, and who (ideally) have the money to shop for clothes, are its target audience. Shopping and clothes are the whole idea behind Vogue — just look at the ads. So, Kim fits in with that idea extremely well, which is why I don’t have a problem with seeing her featured on the cover. (I also don’t have a problem with the idea that it’s going to be a long time before Vogue devotes a cover to a woman like, say, Angela Merkel [if you're not content with that particular example, come up with your own]). And why? Well, because that’s not what Vogue is for. If I wanted to get mean about it, I’d say that perhaps what rubs so many people the wrong way about this cover is not that Kim doesn’t fit in with what Vogue is for but that she fits in with it all too well. That maybe the sore consciences of Vogue readers are being redirected into hostility toward a cover personality. But, that’s if I wanted to be mean about it — as it is I will merely continue to shrug and wonder.

      • jane
        +1

        Amen.

      •  AMS
        0

        Are you referring to Isaac and Rebecca (The Jewish Bride)?

        http://www.google.com/culturalinstitute/asset-viewer/isaac-and-rebecca-known-as-the-jewish-bride/hAERFV8rdOOssw?hl=en&projectId=art-project

        I agree that it’s a (vaguely) similar composition – although I’m not sure I could go as far as calling it an homage – and that the contrasts of dark, light, and texture, as well as the symmetry of their poses, are lovely. If I work at it, I am reminded of Rembrandt’s use of light in his portrait work, but I wonder whether that interpretation gives Annie L. too much credit.

        • bekabot
          +1

          Yes, that’s what I mean. I’m not saying the two compositions are all that similar, only that they’re (maybe) distant cousins (or that one is a distant descendant of the other). Observably they’ve got some genetic material in common but only just observably. The resemblance is not strong, and has to be squinted for, though I’d say that the resemblance still is there. But, I wouldn’t call this an homage either, just a case in which a photographer is aware of the existence of a painting and allows herself to be influenced by it (the painting). That, and the color palette (rich and sober) and the total effect (aesthetically pleasing but bordering on frumpy) is what most people think of as characteristic of Rembrandt. I guess if you really, really can’t stand Kim and Kanye you could think of that as a diss on Rembrandt but if you don’t care that much about them (I don’t) then it’s an interesting reboot of old material.

  3. Gine
    +49

    Vogue has gotten increasingly terrible and irrelevant over the years, so frankly, this feels only natural to me. It certainly bothers me less than Wintour’s desperate attempt to make the same five bland, identical models “superstars” by featuring them in every single photoshoot, in the same stupid jumping poses, for about six issues in a row a few years back.

    •  Bike Pretty
      +26

      This.
      I’m delighted by the cover. I think Vogue is finally acknowledging how boring and shallow it really is. It hasn’t been a fashion magazine for a long time, yet it still clings to the illusion.

      • Fritanga
        +2

        Yeah. And who knew Lena Dunham would be the last credible Vogue cover girl?

        Everyone else featured on the cover after the April issue will seem a little pathetic now, coming in the wake of the magazine’s absolute nadir.

    • gryt
      +3

      The jumping poses! Argh.

      • Jessica
        +3

        I seriously used to rage about that. EVERY MONTH. I think those were all Tonne Goodman styled shoots and it was like ALL SHE WOULD DO.

  4. Lizzy
    +20

    Well, it’s the least cringe-worthy thing I’ve ever seen her wear.
    Of course, her boobs are spilling out, because she seems genetically incapable of being classy.

    The pose is fine because these things are usually all about the bride. Sure beats the Timberlake-Biel People cover where he was jumping over her, or at her, or…whatever, it was weird.

  5. simply_readd
    +47

    Thanks so much FGs for taking the time to write this piece. It very much helped my own thoughts and feelings coalesce into something coherent. I still very much hate that it’s happened but I can now live more comfortably knowing it’s out there. I won’t buy the issue, though, I’ll have to wait till my next dentist appointment; she keeps her waiting room mags forEVER!

  6. annabel
    +49

    But Heather, how do you REALLY feel?

    • jane
      +11

      Seriously? Duchess Kate is the First Goddess of the Hustle but, you know, GFY writes a book about her life and talks daily about what amazing sauce she is. Give me Kim any day of the week. Girl works hard for her money even though fashion bloggers of all people think clothes shouldn’t count as work.

      • Jessica
        +16

        I actually think a book based on the fictionalized adventures of the Kardashian sisters would be REALLY entertaining and juicy. They have a lot of drama! Misguided relationships! Whirlwind weddings! Paternity scandals! Terrible divorces! True love with a rapper whose best friends hate you! I would totally read that book; I wish someone (not a Kardashian) would write it.

        • jane
          +7

          On it. There’ll be a Sliding Doors twist. What if Kim had never made the sex tape? Who would she be? Who could she become? I expect, Catwoman.

      • Hero
        +7

        Exactly- when Heather talked of paper dolls being dressed up all I could think of was Kate middleton-that seems to be all she does!

        • jane
          +6

          I read all these comments and I just don’t understand the hate. Maybe it’s because she denied the sex tape? Else I truly can’t differentiate between Kim and her sex tape and Kate Upton and her bikini cover shots. Not to mention the countless numbers of actresses who’ve used nudity and simulated sex in movies as a start to very successful movie careers or kiss girls in songs and become hugely successful pop stars. I wish female celebrities could all be Sarah-Michelle or Adele or Meryl Streep but they’re not. Selling sex or the illusion of sex is the fast track to winning the game and Kim played the game like a champ. Kim had a sex tape. She’s parlayed into a very very very successful tv show and, for lack of a better word, lifestyle career. So many famous women have taken this route. Why hate on Kim? If it’s because you dislike her, fine, I can totally get that. But because she had a sex tape and you can’t understand why someone like that should be famous? That I don’t get.

          • Charlie
            +7

            Really? You must have a higher threshold for revulsion than most other folks.

  7. Lisa
    +79

    I lost interest in Vogue and most other fashion mags when they started putting the same five celebrities on the cover over and over. I find Kim boring and vapid. Kanye is talented, but I find him to be a humorless douche. I’m sure they think that this cover is another triumphing their takeover of pop culture. I really don’t care about them or Vogue.

    • mrs. peacock
      +6

      Kanye is not talented. He is famous, yes, but not talented. Seriously, what is so appealing about his “music”? I tried, really tried, to listen to one of his songs the other day and my ears hurt. He looks like he is a dickhead too. HIs facial expression, and Kim’s for that matter, are always the same and nothing about them, other than how hilariously horrible they both are, interests me. So the fact they are on a magazine cover that I never read because seriously who can afford the clothes they put in there doesn’t bother me at all. Let them have their fun. I just don’t see any talent in either of them at all.

  8. zhanna
    +58

    in my country following vogue issues are sold in many bigger newsstands: american, british, french, italian, german and russian. in general, american vogue covers are my least favourite. oftentimes for choice of photo, but even more so for the no-models, hollywood-promotion-wheel policy. yet, seeing the new cover online yesterday, i was overcome by very strong dislike and a little bit of sadness. vogue universe is such a lovely fantasy world – but “kim kardashian” and “fantasy” don’t fit into one sentence. so now our fantasy has an ugly crack in it!

  9.  Annie E
    +20

    Why did Anna put K&K on the cover? Look at how much everyone is talking about it and you have your answer.

    • marylou bethune
      +9

      The fashion industry/Vopgue isn’t known for subtlety so the entire mess makes sense. The K’s care about nothing but show and money and who knows what Kayne cares about. He may be a genius but she has shown none of the “strength of character” that Anna W writes. What a joke. Such codswallop and such mighty ego. The two love birds (for now) deserve each other. I truly feel sick.

    • Heather
      +34

      Yeah, but it IS a valid question because people are talking about it in EXTREMELY negative terms, so it’s a big risk to take if you’re not sure you get other benefits/unless you feel backed into a corner.

      • Li
        +9

        It seems desperate to me, and tied to the state of publishing in general, which is not good. All major magazines have seen huge dips in circulation, but Kim has the ability to move product and attract advertisers, so if Wintour is feeling up against the wall with declining circ and ad numbers, it would explain the cover.

      • SPJava
        +3

        There’s an old saying, “There is no such thing as Bad publicity.” Vogue and its current cover couple are the living breathing proof of that.

        • gefeylich
          +3

          Yes, but will all this “bad publicity” translate into cold hard cash, because that’s the only thing all of them – Vogue, Wintour, Kanye, Kardashians – really care about. It might (after all, billions of people also think McDonald’s is haute cuisine), but probably not as much they hope it will.

          As someone mentioned elsewhere, Kardashian and West think this cover is the validation of their brand; I think most intelligent people see it as the demise of Vogue’s. But then again, most people in this country are anything but intelligent.

          • qwertygirl
            +1

            Exactly–we may discuss it, but will you BUY it? My answer is, no. And if our eyeballs aren’t on the print ads in the magazine, all the “publicity” in the world is completely useless.

          • SPJava
            0

            That’s the gamble they are taking; will it be bought. Its clear there are people to whom the Kardashians are a product to be consumed. I’m guessing they are not the typical readers of Vogue. That goes for Kanye’s fans as well. So if they can appeal to a portion of those foks Vogue sells extra issues and gets some new readers. Temporarily to be sure but in the paper trade today better then nothing.

      • Maria L.
        +26

        I wouldn’t put it past Kanye to pay people to buy the issue (or just buy up every issue he himself can) just so he can say they outsold every other cover. There is nothing that those two do that isn’t ego or money-driven.

        I don’t care about the cover, I find them both so vain, tasteless, and generally irritating, that they do not really interest me except to laugh at every now and then.

        What I find truly revolting is the BS Wintour is trying to shovel to justify caving in and appeasing the lowest common denominator.

  10. TalleyL
    +8

    It’s just so boring! Also, Kanye looks like he just got a whiff of something smelly. I’m not saying I think Kim is smelly! He may just have Resting-P-U-Face.

  11.  bookworm1973
    +47

    I think Vogue started down a slippery slope when it started featuring celebrities instead of models. And the cover line about “fashionable life” is so at odds with her image – even if you like her, or just defend her out of empathy, Kim is not famous for being fashionable, she is famous for being famous. And, if you’re going to put KimK on the cover of “The Shape Issue,” shouldn’t the cover line be something about loving/flaunting her curves (which we know she does)? Maybe this pic is supposed to show how her man loves her curves, but hiding those curves behind a foofy dress (and I like the dress) *and* Kanye’s arms/hands just further emphasizes the whiff of desperation emanating here. And not just Vogue’s – to me, this looks like the K’s are all trying desperately to legitimize their self-image as important and relevant.

    • Jessica
      +59

      I kind of wish that, for the Shape Issue – which IS, I guess, the traditionally most WTF-y of all Vogues — they just had Kim in a pencil skirt looking over her shoulder. Just celebrate her butt! OWN IT. This whole thing feels like AW hedging her bets.

      •  bookworm1973
        +1

        I think the whole tenor of the conversation about this cover might be different if Vogue had went in that (or a similar) direction. Some of Kim’s best looks over the years have involved pencil skirts and given the right stylist, this maybe could have worked – or at least worked better. As it is, it feels kind of random – random picture of a random woman-of-size.

      • Holly 
        +14

        Yes! If they had done that, I would have thought it was clever and provoking in the best of ways. Instead it just makes me feel like Vogue had a price, and Kanye named it.

      • mrs. peacock
        0

        I don’t know about you guys, but I’m so sick of those “shape” issues, in all of these types of magazines actually. We get it, we all have different shapes. Some of us are bigger, some of us are smaller! Seriously, they just write the same crap over and over. Or peddle some “new” diet or torture system designed for weight loss, or some other nonsense. Er!

  12. Fuh Ugh
    +6

    Just one more reason to buy Korean Vogue and not the US version. Better start those Korean language lessons….

  13. Sonya
    +36

    I really hope someone has hidden this from poor Posh and/or medicated her before she sees it. I think this decision takes away any validity American Vogue had left to claim as an arbiter of style (although it was already on a downhill slope). It’s like “well, we HAD to wallow in pop culture trash…everyone is”.

    • Li
      +71

      Does Posh care anymore? She doesn’t need AW to validate her fashion career. She’s done it herself through hard work and actual talent.

      • Annelie
        +6

        Oh man I would love, love, love to see a fanfic of AW calling Posh to finally offer her a cover only for VB to have the perfect thrill of declining it.

  14. Tassie
    +22

    She seems very awkward & tentative/uncomfortable in the photo. The shot isn’t anything special-dull even. More BRIDES magazine than VOGUE. I must admit I can’t understand his obsession with this. If he’s so fashion focused, why didn’t he insist on a more fashion forward/edgier shoot? (Since based on his persona I’m guessing he was intimately involved in all aspects).
    Also I can’t decide if I’m more amused or disturbed by the his Pygmalion-ing of her. It’s funny b/c he’s SOOOO OTT, but off putting as she comes off as little more than his concubine.

  15. Tassie
    +8

    Oh, & do you suppose the hashtag line is a sly reference to the nodisrespecttobenaffleck thing? And how I wish they had done the cover lettering in all lowercase letters.

  16.  karen
    +17

    Does AW usually issue an “editor’s statement” or something about the Vogue covers? Because it struck me that if you have to explain it, well, you’ve kind of lost the battle right there!

    AND isn’t Kim on like hubs #3 or 4? My rage is centered on the WASTE of money spent on the sham of her last wedding. Ugh. And now you’re posing in yet another wedding gown on ANOTHER magazine?!

    • Martha
      +2

      Don’t most magazines include a letter from the editor at the beginning of each issue? I don’t read Vogue, because it is ludicrously out-of-touch with, like, the rest of society, but I subscribe to Vanity Fair and there’s certainly always a letter from Graydon Carter at the beginning of each issue, and I think that’s true of most magazines.

    • Stacey
      0

      Yup. I would have a lot more (read: any) respect for the both of them if they were like “yeah, well since this is her THIRD marriage, we’re going to take all of the millions we were going to spend on a wedding and donate it to charity.”

  17. Mrs. Helpful
    +10

    I was all set to loathe and despise this for all the reasons thoroughly argued above and in the post.

    But surprisingly I found myself slightly disarmed by how it looks like he really likes her and is proud of her. Maybe I am a fool. Is he putting her first because he wants all good things for her? Letting her be the star. Or just forcing her fake stardom upon us. Yeah, I guess so.

    But then also, if she is just famous at this point for walking around in various outfits — hideous as most of them are — is that so different from modeling? as a criteria for covering a fashion mag?

    OK I gave it a fair shot. I suppose I would rather it not be there.

    I am sure they did it to be cool, reach a younger more diverse crowd and sell copies. Maybe they struggled with the other issues but the bottom line is the bottom line.

    • Heather
      +17

      I think he probably DOES like her — I’ll say this; she seems to have an empty head, but a perfectly pleasant one. On talk show appearances, she seems vapid but not mean nor unkind. I just think Submissive Kanye is weird. I also think it’s totally him peddling something because everyone thinks he’s so in-your-face. But his hands look afraid to touch her, weirdly.

      • Mrs. Helpful
        +1

        And she looks frightened. Or at least vulnerable.

      • Fritanga
        +1

        The weirdness in this photo is due to the nature of the relationship. It’s so obvious that theirs is a contracted relationship as creepy and phony as any of those devised by Tom Cruise.

  18. HelenBackAgain
    +43

    Nice piece, Heather.

    I do suspect that Vogue is having an identity crisis and finding itself a bit of a dinosaur. I rather liked that about it, but I’m growing accustomed to seeing the last bastions of taste defenestrate themselves as I age. This is just one more lemming, now. I am surprised, and sad, but resigned.

    On the bright side, it’s given me yet another reason to love Sarah Michelle Gellar:

    https://twitter.com/RealSMG/status/447104444144955394

  19. Christine
    +9

    This reeks of Vogue’s desperation to me – and I’m not surprised. I’m part of the generation (well, the older end of it) that’s putting Abercrombie & Fitch out of business because we don’t want to buy in to their elitism and brand recognition. Where will Vogue be when we’re their target demographic?

    • HelenBackAgain
      +5

      Print magazines in general are on their way out anyway.

      •  Des
        +6

        Do you really think so? THEY certainly seem to think so, because I’m getting great deals on subscriptions lately. But I think some-like Allure, The New Yorker, and (I hope) Bust-have such a passionate following that they’ll be around for a long time. I (obviously) like readinggreat writing on my computer, but it’s not a comparable experience to reading a print magazine. I still love print magazines. I love getting mail!

        • HelenBackAgain
          +4

          I share your preference, but yes, just like newspapers, print magazine sales are down, industry-wide, while digital subscriptions are trending upward.

          Here’s one piece on it – you can find tons of ‘em easily:

          http://www.nytimes.com/2013/08/07/business/media/magazine-newsstand-sales-plummet-but-digital-editions-thrive.html

          I don’t think the print versions are going anywhere anytime soon, but I expect we will see more wacky behavior as they try desperately to hold on to hard-copy sales.

          • nobody much
            +3

            I still get the print issues, but I read the magazines on my iPad now. With the print sub, you get the digital version for free. If I had to pay for both, I’d go digital all the way.

            •  Des
              +3

              Can I ask how old you are? I’m forty, and I wonder if my love of print is partially because of that.

              • nobody much
                +4

                heh, I’m 60. Not anyone’s demographic. And I know plenty of people who think it’s only older ppl who like print, but I’m actually happier with electronic print – it’s easier to read (for me, but only if it’s black on white), and I’ve been a bookworm since I learned to read at 5, so it’s not just people who don’t read much who go electronic.

              • lilacsigil
                +2

                I’m 43 and I’m digital all the way.

  20. karen
    +17

    What I want to know is, how does Grace feel about this?!

    • Lillibet
      +9

      Me too. Grace is the last of her kind – what the VOGUE title used to embody – a lively, sophisticated elegance to be admired and inspired by. Women still need elegance – hence the cult of Audrey Hepburn. But… Heather, you and Anna are right that the April cover is the world now, it’s just most of us don’t like seeing the last bastion of feminine elegance brought down to lowest level. The world has embraced trash culture with all its sneering and tattoos – even the French! – and its ugliness is the current aesthetic.

  21.  Katie
    +3

    It’s amazing how different Kim looks when she wears something that fits properly. Nice work on that, Vogue.

    And I would LOVE to see a real (color photo, one cover only) cover of Mindy Kaling!

  22. Patricia
    +3

    I kinda wish the Ks and Rob Ford would go off together into the sunset never to be seen or heard from again, but then we’d have no one to mock and would have to inflict our Mean Girlness on other, less deserving, subjects (see Community Season 1 episode 22 for an example of this). Still, Vogue loses this one.

  23. nobody much
    +11

    actually, I think her boobs look better in this dress than they have for some time now. Other than that, I don’t care that they’re on the cover. I’ve been a Vogue subscriber for a long time now, but the magazine is increasingly irrelevant to me. Adding more pop culture & youth takes away from the clothes, which is the only reason I ever subscribed. But now they have ‘art’ and ‘film’ and tons of other stuff, the clothes aren’t photographed in a way that shows them, and I have no interest in their ‘edgy’ (lord, I hate that word) editorials, or the people they choose to feature in them.
    Whew, rant over!

  24. Nat
    +9

    I giggled at your Federer comment (big fan here), ‘coz just yesterday he was at the Heat’s match, wearing bright red Nike Air Yeezy (the fug sneakers designed by Kanye)…coincidence or IS THERE A PATTERN we’re not seeing? LOL.

    Seriously speaking, I’ve never been a Vogue reader, but still…this whole thing feels very half assed and tentative, from the dress and the styling (“Ok, we’ll have KK on the cover but let’s dress her in the most unoffensive thing we can put her in”) to Wintour’s editorial (“Ok, I’ll put her on the cover and then I’ll try to justify it with some BS I obviously don’t believe in!”).

  25. Chasity
    +5

    I just think it isn’t that big of a deal… I don’t care about Kanye or that family, but to pretend that Vogue is some beacon of virtue and honor is dumb. It is a magazine that is a money making venture and all the people saying they are going to cancel their subscriptions take themselves and this magazine far too serious.

    • Heather
      +35

      I think the issue is that Vogue ITSELF presented itself that way, and now can’t put itself on that pedestal.

    • Blair Sylvester
      +5

      but Vogue has been a large part of peoples lives for years. Some people look forward to the escape and fantasy. Some people look to it for what is happening in culture. I don’t think it is wrong at all for people to not purchase something that isn’t selling them what they signed up for

  26. SugarMagnolia
    +34

    1) this piece is excellent, so well done, Heather

    2) The Muppets released a parody of this cover featuring Kermit and Miss Piggy, that is about 526272838 times better

    • HelenBackAgain
      +27

      Oh, thank you for that! I did not know of this, and IT IS FABULOUS.

      http://i.dailymail.co.uk/i/pix/2014/03/22/article-2586629-1C7BEAF500000578-804_634x887.jpg

    • Lisa
      +8

      So did Seth Rogen ( with James Franco as Kanye) ha!

    • Gypsy Danger
      +9

      Piggy and Kermit for the win! I like that they went even bigger than the world. #UNIVERSESMOSTTALKEDABOUTCOUPLE

      According to Muppet Wiki:

      Miss Piggy has always had two magnificent obsessions: her stardom, and her love for Kermit the Frog. According to The Muppets Character Encyclopedia, all of Kermit and Piggy’s weddings have been fictional, but Piggy carries around a marriage license in her purse, just in case.

      Maybe Kim just wants to be like Miss Piggy? Except Piggy has excellent taste in clothes and I think she’s too classy to release a sex tape.

  27. clm
    +4

    She looks good. I don’t see the problem with putting her on the cover. I agree with a lot of what you wrote, but I do feel that there was and is an aspect of sexism in the way she is discussed in the media the sex tape is what it is, but the way people describe her, even in relation to her relationship with Kanye, is very misogynistic in my opinion.

    •  M
      +26

      I think she objectifies herself, which leads to everyone feeling comfortable describing her in objectifying terms. Her whole career is about self-objectifying.

      • clm
        +4

        Sort of, but not really. I feel like a lot of men in entertainment also make their love lives a big part of the story without being called the kind of names she gets called. Also the bs people put her through when she was pregnant was really awful. It was the first time I ever felt strong sympathy for her. I agree with the person who said they are coming around to liking her because of the hate. It is getting ridiculous now.

        •  Natasha
          +13

          She put out a sex tape that shows her getting peed on. It’s pretty hard to come back from that and say “oh, woe is me” or to claim that she’s a victim of sexism or misogyny. She’s put her life and bad decisions out there willingly – sex tape, televised courtships, wedding, divorce, pregnancy. With those kinds of decisions, I have zero sympathy for her. Let’s save the sympathy for people who actually need it.

          • star
            +12

            There is a man in that sex tape too. A man who wrote a disgusting song about how he hit it first which was just seen as something funny to people. We can’t just decide that only pure women get to claim that they are victims of misogyny.

  28. Sarah 
    +45

    Excellent piece! It made me wish more of the GFY posts were longer. I never thought I’d want to think about KK for as long as it took me to read that, but I found it really intriguing. You have a real gift for writing, Heather! :)

  29. Hypnotist Collector
    +9

    Just excellent. The best thing I’ve seen on the sorry state of the kulture. It is desperate, and a good reminder that not everything has to pander to the lowest denominator of social media.

  30. Anne
    +27

    I don’t hate the Kardashians, and I don’t really care about Vogue. My comment is because this is an absolutely fabulously written piece. Extremely well thought out, executed brilliantly, I can’t wait to read it again. This and The Sound of Music Live review are the two best blog posts I’ve read in YEARS. Well done.

  31. Cookie
    +3

    Really enjoyed reading this until you compared having sex to murder. Are you kidding me? It is a ridiculous and incredibly, incredibly offensive analogy. The whole “You shouldn’t be able to do whatever the hell you want and then shut up your critics by calling it “[noun]-shaming.” argument doesn’t work when doing “whatever the hell you want” just means having & enjoying sex and you are criticized for that. The language people use to attack Kim Kardashian for that sex tape can be so cruel and sexist, and saying that not shaming her for that sex tape is like not shaming someone for committing murder is so messed up. I’m not a Kardashian fan at all, but my problem with Kim is the blatant narcissism and that awful show, not the sex. Please be more careful with your language.

    • HelenBackAgain
      +58

      You’re conflating sex with pornography. They’re not the same things.

      I have more respect for Sibel Kekilli or Traci Lords. Neither pretends she wasn’t a porn actress, and both have acquitted themselves very well as actresses in non-porn productions, as well. If either of them turns up on Vogue, I’m going to think it’s a pretty interesting choice representing a very interesting life. And a new direction for the magazine that I would genuinely find intriguing.

      Kim marketed a recording of herself making pornography, which made her famous, then pretended she hadn’t marketed it herself, and then demanded to be taken seriously by the world for being famous. And no, you don’t get to do that and then call the people who decline to take you seriously “shamers” or “haters.” They’re merely observing the plain fact that the empress has no clothes.

      Or, in this case, that she has gawdawful clothes. ;-)

    • Jessica
      +77

      I don’t think anyone gives a shit who she’s enjoying having sex with. I certainly don’t. Have as much as sex as you want with as many people as you want and I hope you enjoy it all. It’s none of my business. I DO, however, think that you — the general you — cannot get defensive about a sex tape that you obviously planned to have released because it has professional hair and makeup and MONTAGES. It’s disingenuous. THAT is what I think people react to negatively WRT to Kim’s sex tape. NOT the sex.

      As far as the murder analogy goes, I don’t want to speak for H but I think you misunderstand; she’s simply saying that it sometimes feels like we’re living in a world where people lash out and say, “stop X-shaming me!” as an excuse for behavior that is questionable. Sometimes people do things that they regret and it’s OKAY to look back at them and say, “shit, I regret that” OR even, “you know what, I can see why people think my doing that was ill-advised, but I don’t regret it because of XYZ,” instead of a kneejerk reaction to throw blame back on the person who is calling them out. I literally can go the rest of my life without seeing a “[blank]-shaming” construct in a sentence ever again. I think it’s reductive and it makes it easy not to talk about actual issues, because it makes the whole conversation an exercise in defensiveness on both sides. (And now you all know my current pet peeve.)

      • Jessica
        +17

        Or, what Helen said.

        • HelenBackAgain
          +12

          Thank you! Very much!

          And, to add my two cents on the comparison used, in agreement with your observations: I don’t have a problem with the employment of a little fanciful reductio ad absurdum for the purpose of underscoring the point that we denigrate shame, which absolutely has its uses, at our collective peril. As a reader, that’s how I took Heather’s construct. Also, it was hilarious.

      • SugarMagnolia
        +21

        Yes, yes, and yes. Just because someone commits a behavior, does not make that behavior necessarily “right,” either for the person or for those who are affected by the person’s actions. And someone respectfully questioning that behavior does not make it shaming. Maybe you (in the general sense) are in the right, but throwing out the shaming label is not a solid defense of your actions and does not show that you’re owning your choices, rather than merely getting defensive about them.

      • Gypsy Danger
        +39

        “I literally can go the rest of my life without seeing a “[blank]-shaming” construct in a sentence ever again. I think it’s reductive and it makes it easy not to talk about actual issues, because it makes the whole conversation an exercise in defensiveness on both sides”

        THANK YOU!!!!!!!

    • TalleyL
      +16

      I may be reading it wrong, but I don’t think she is comparing having sex to murder at all. Her point is that it is ridiculous to create a professional sex tape and then claim to be shocked, SHOCKED, when that sex tape gets released (very probably with your blessing) and say how terrible it is that people are looking at and talking about your sex tape, that you probably helped to release. That is behavior that should induce shame! All that being said, I have never seen said sex tape and have no intention of ever seeing it (I have actually never seen a Kardashian anywhere other than this blog and the few glimpses I have gotten of Kanye outside of GFY have me wondering where the claims of genius originate, but to each his own). I have only Heather’s assertion that it looks professionally produced. I have no reason to doubt Heather, but I have not independently confirmed her description for myself. It’s more that she was comparing the attention grab to murder. Which also sounds a little over the top, but I think I get where she’s coming from. Enjoy sex, everyone, as much as possible! Have at it! Just don’t do it in Macy’s front store window and act “surprised” when it gets you the attention you were obviously so desperately craving or when you proceed to build a career on that notoriety.

      • TalleyL
        +7

        Or, what apparently everyone else already said, by the time I finished writing my missive!

        • Heather
          +19

          Oh, yeah, I’m totally not equating sex with murder. My point is that it feels like people are SO obsessed with accusing each other of {noun]-shaming these days that I’m afraid someday it’s going to go to a totally absurd place (ie, murder-shaming).

          • Jodi
            +2

            I love this blog usually, but I’m really pretty grossed out by the fact that you’re dismissing the fact that slutshaming is a valid concern by using a ridiculous slippery slope argument. The reason slutshaming is a problem is because it reinforces rape culture. By bringing out the slippery slope argument, even if you’re not intentionally doing it, you’re suggesting that there is something comparable between the two, because that’s what happens when you make comparisons like that.

            I know this comment is a little heated but this entire post has been incredibly upsetting for me, and I had to say something.

            • Heather
              +24

              ‘m sincerely sorry that what I wrote upset you so much; it was not even anywhere in the ballpark of my intention to imply that sex and murder are the same. I don’t agree with that interpretation of what I said, but if two of you came to the same conclusion then I must have expressed myself poorly and I will happily adjust it.

              We aren’t encouraging slut-shaming. Nor are we saying it isn’t a valid issue. What I was trying to get at was, I think the way people fling the term around — referring to ANY comment about ANYTHING as “slut-shaming” — actually devalues the term, and its valid uses, and leads to the kind of hysteria where EVERYTHING is interpreted as “shaming,” which overshadows the core issues and the whole reason the term was invented. Which is what led me to the absurdist idea of someone calling someone else a “murder-shamer,” because “x-shamer” has become such a trendy thing to throw around, forgetting that it actually used to have a point. I just want to make sure you know that’s not what I’m saying. Being misinterpreted is one thing, but if you actually believe that I think sex and murder are on the same level then that’s not okay and i need to make sure y’all know that’s not what I meant.

              ** Okay, it’s snipped. Seriously, in my head I know what my point was, but if it was causing that much confusion and consternation then it’s not worth leaving it in, because it means I failed at making it universally clear what I meant.

          •  Cas
            +16

            Some blogs (Jezebel) use it as bread and butter. I think it steamrolls legitimate issues.

            • Heather
              +4

              I agree — that was kind what I was getting at with my original comments, about how I think people are bastardizing that term (and xx-shaming in general) in a way that makes a mockery of it. But I couldn’t get the words to come out that well and the joke wasn’t worth a misunderstanding.

            •  Cas
              +6

              I also think Kim having no business being on the cover of VOGUE has nothing at all to do with her staring in a professionaly edited sex tape that her mother brokered a deal for. I would go so far as to say H&J would agree. An Ad for Sears in the pages of Vogue makes more sense.

            • SugarMagnolia
              +6

              Exactly. Like Heather said, it’s not that “slut-shaming” isn’t an actual issue that deserves to be discussed, because it is. But immediately throwing out any term like that is a barrier to having a conversation. It’s like “now that I’ve thrown out the [whatever]-shaming label, we don’t have to talk about it anymore” which prevents productive conversations that can actually help us, as a society, get over some of our traditional hang-ups with certain behaviors.

  32. Sarah
    +1

    I feel like if there was a song accompaniment to this entire issue it would be “Hooker with a Penis”//Tool.
    (the lyrics not the title, lol)

  33. Geeves
    +19

    All in all, I couldn’t care less about this whole thing. I don’t care about Vogue, I don’t care about Kim or Kanye, I don’t care about their super tacky life together. But what’s funny to me is I will bet good money that this issue sells very poorly. Vogue’s demographic really doesn’t seem to enjoy this couple AT ALL and the demographic who do buy into the K&K Factory don’t seem like the type to buy and read magazines.

  34. Tetra
    +12

    This cover just stinks of desperation from Vogue. Magazines, especially fashion magazines, have been folding one after the other. Who really cares about Vogue anymore? Fashion is what makes you look good and what you can afford, not what Vogue tells you to wear. After the wedding will come the divorce and the world will go on. Posh should feel vindicated by this cover.

  35. Lori
    +18

    Ok I have THOUGHTS, but first, thank you Heather for that eloquent breakdown. You and Jessica are excellent writers, which is a large part of why I continue to read this site and recommend it to others. Mine will not be nearly so coherent.

    Count me among the small minority that likes the cover and is ok with the decision. Sex tape aside, her biggest sin seems to be that she puts clothing on without regard to how it looks on her. She also probably needs to learn to say “no” to people, starting with her mother (“no Kanye, I will not wear that monstrosity to the Met Ball”; “no Mom, I will not participate in a sham wedding that I plan to have annulled three days later”). I’ve never seen her show; maybe she’s not that bright, but honestly, neither are many people in Hollywood from what I can tell. It just happens that she puts all her energy into playing “herself” rather than characters in a movie or TV show. I’d still rather see this site, and others, give her coverage rather than the likes of Phoebe Price or Courtney Stodden.

    Vogue obviously prides itself on setting a certain level of taste and class, meaning we wouldn’t be having this discussion if the Kardashian Kollection was sold in Neiman Marcus, not Sears. Honestly though, I used to subscribe to Vogue, and canceled because it took itself too seriously and its world was too narrow. Fashion can, and should, be fun–just look at Rihanna, who has covered Vogue multiple times, and always seems to enjoy pushing the boundaries of fashion. And there’s an entire fashion world out there beyond the crowd that populates NYFW (tangent: Tom and Lorenzo recently had a fascinating discussion of the rise of stylists, and the fashion world’s attempt to clamp down on who its tastemakers are).

    Like it or not, Kim and her family are incredibly famous. Like it or not, Kim and her sisters are trendsetters for a segment of Americans. There’s probably not much overlap between that segment and Vogue’s readership, but really, for one issue a year, it doesn’t kill Vogue to acknowledge, however grudgingly, people outside its target demographic.

    My only criticism is the dress. As another short woman with a small waist and large hips, I would have loved to see her showing off those curves! Fit and flare dresses are my best friend, but man I would like it if some other style fit properly. Since I don’t have access to the stylists and tailors she does, I need to live vicariously!

  36.  sarah
    +31

    This cover is just so pedestrian. There’s nothing high fashion about it. It could be the cover of anything brides. They couldn’t have even put her in an interesting dress? No, just boring strapless ballgown. .. now I really want Mindy to get a cover though.

    • Lori
      +18

      It’s also super awkward. I mean, what is going on with their hands? They are so stiff and unnatural. Imagine for a moment that these people weren’t famous and were just models. Can you imagine this picture making the cover then? It’s just not good, and that is all (or at least mostly) on the photographer.

      • TalleyL
        +17

        I think Annie should count herself lucky that she continues to get hired at this point. Compare anything she’s done recently to naked pregnant Demi Moore or Whoopi in a bathtub full of milk or even naked John lying next to Yoko. No comparison. She hasn’t brought anything new to the medium in years.

  37.  understateddiva
    +2

    I am picturing Candice Bergen as Anna. “It’s a beautiful portrait, Grace. But it isn’t Vogue.”

  38.  hillary l.
    +5

    The whole thing just makes me feel bad for Victoria Beckham. I’m indifferent at best to Kim and Kanye.

    Although…this might be the issue that makes VB rethink that dream and just focus on doing her best work.

  39. fashion don't
    +28

    I work in a bookstore and typically when there is word of mouth about a certain magazine we get lots of requests for it. (Case in point: The New Yorker issue where Adam Lanza’s father speaks out for the first time since the Newtown tragedy. We sold out in 2 hours.) I have to say, while having no feelings either way for the Vogue cover subjects this time around, NO ONE has asked for that magazine.

  40. Lori
    +24

    I wanted to stand up on my chair (OK, couch) and give a big hearty, “Oh Captain, my Captain!” to this. Yes to everything you said. This is pathetic and grasping. Mindy would have been a much better choice. Of course, in my opinion, a blank cover would have been a better choice.

  41. fashion don't
    +8

    Totally forgot to say awesome work, Heather! :)

  42. Stefanie
    +4

    Yes. Yes. Yes. To all of this.

    The only thing in going to add is that I actually think Kim looks gorgeous here. She looks “natural” or as natural as she can look and like glint in her eye hints that she has a secret. Of course I’m going to give mad props to the person who photoshopped the picture for all of this. If this was the cover of Brides magazine I would think it was fantastic. As a Vogue cover…it is what it is.

  43. Blair Sylvester
    +18

    I think the thing that is shocking to me is this seems like a bad time to put Kim Kardashian on the cover. I feel like most people have gotten over her. The public has gone from love/love to hate to please go away. Tabloids have stopped putting her and Kanye on the cover because those issues stopped selling well. So if the downmarket of tabloid readers won’t consume her its hard to imagine Vogue readers will or the former tabloid readers who stopped picking it up will be attracted to Vogue. I am shocked this happened. Three / four years ago I wouldn’t have supported Anna’s decision but I would have understood it from a calculated approach. I also hate that most Vogue cover stars are celebrities in their own rights but she is there because she is a product of her families empire and a dress up doll for Kanye. I would love for another feature (Mindy Kaling ) to get the cover because she is a woman with the balls to create a role for herself because she didnt see people like her on tv. Mindy is someone who is provocative but also intelligent and her provocation isn’t to drum up attention it is to change the dialogue. So long story short I cancelled my subscription because I have no interest in looking at either of these people and Kim hasn’t done anything worthy of acclaim ever and Kanye hasn’t done anything worthy of acclaim in years. so yeah over it

    • Rachel 
      +14

      I agree that I think the public have kinda moved on from them, lost their appetite for their “reality”. I don’t think this cover will be the validation that Kim wants but will actually prove that the public are over them.

  44. Edel
    +6

    I think my issue with the cover is how boring it is. It looks half-hearted. You know, if you’re having Kim & Kanye on the cover, make the most of it! It’s so bland! If they have hugely interesting lives and personalities, by god you couldn’t tell from the cover.

  45. Gina Romantica
    +12

    My problem with it is that they are considered fashion “icons” for some unfathomable reason. He looks like an out of work construction worker all the time and she seems totally incapable of ever wearing anything that actually fits her and/or doesn’t make her look like a prostitute. I would much rather see actual models on the cover.

  46. Jenz
    +14

    Heather, this is an extremely well-written piece. This talent is one reason I read this site (both you and Jessica).

    That said, my issues lay mostly with the decision to put Kimye on Vogue. The actual cover, as magazine covers go, is fairly neutral and Kim does look very pretty in that make up. This dress is sort of reminiscent of her wedding dress (to Kris H.).

    My issues are with Kim and Kanye. Sex tape aside (everyone’s commented on it so I’m moving on), if they wanted to show an influential inter-racial couple, surely there were better options than these two.

    What have they done? They have a zillion dollars – do they have charities (and not ones involving art and music – nothing wrong with those but putting music in people’s lives doesn’t put food on the table and there are more hungry, homeless and abused kids than art-deprived ones. She put out a sex tape, he made an international ass of himself (and really hasn’t done much to reverse that image). She by many accounts is a vapid idiot. He is an arrogant, self-aggrandiziing, narcissistic jackass that’s probably only sticking around because Planet Kardashian has a moon of attorneys that will sue his ass into the ground.

    Finally, how long have they been together? A couple of years? Big deal.

    If I’m missing something, please provide the information – I will gladly revise my opinion of these two if I have them wrong. I’m not too proud to do so.

    • star
      +3

      I’m confused by your comment they should only put an interracial couple on the cover if they are both model citizens? Which high profile interracial couple did you have in mind?

      Maybe I’m taking this the wrong way, but it seems to me that any old white person can get on the cover of vogue, but an interracial couple has to be exemplary? Do you ask about the charities every vogue cover person is involved with or just these two?

      • Jenz
        +10

        I was referring to Heather’s commentary in the section under Pose where she mentioned she agreed with the praise of putting an inter-racial couple on the cover. While I do agree with that, its the choice of couple I disagree with. If Anna’s goal was to feature an inter-racial couple, there surely has to be a better choice than these two particular people who have contributed nothing to society, except further the fallacy (sp?) of self-entitlement. When they deviate from the norm (I.e. models), why not do it to honor someone instead of such a blatant strain for relevancy? Where is Morgan Freeman and his wife? Robert De Niro and his wife..or any of the thousands of inter-racial couples that do contribute?

        • star
          +7

          I guess I understand that, but your question about charity feels unfair to me. I don’t remember people asking which charities Lena Dunham, Kate Upton, or Jessica Chastain were involved with when their covers came out or how smart they may or may not be. Like why does this couple has to prove they are good enough people to be on the cover of a fashion magazine?

          • Rigor_Mortis
            +13

            Here is what I believe Jenz meant (and if my interpretation is correct, then I agree with her):

            Dunham, love her or hate her, writes, directs and acts in a very talked about TV show. Upton is an actual model. Chastain is a talented, Oscar nominated actress. Kardashian, on the other hand, is solely famous for being a vapid imbecile with a sex tape. She isn’t a model, she isn’t relevant to fashion; she has no discernible talent and no other trait (such as being charitable) that would make her worthy of this cover.

            • Jenz
              +2

              Rigor_Mortis, that’s exactly what I meant, thank you! I should have been more clear in my original post.

  47. Harrybythebeach
    +16

    OK first of all I haven’t commented on here in a long time even though I read GFY every single day, because when you changed the format of the website I wrote in and told you that it sucked–that I hated the red bow, etc., and then I thought that you guys were probably like “what an asshole he is” after you were so nice to personally answer some of my emails etc. Anyway–sorry…? Onto more important things…

    Great dissection of this event. A huge brick being disgorged from the wall of Western Civilization. Diana Vreeland is turning in her grave, that’s for sure.

    You say “but she is what’s happening right now.” But WHAT IS HAPPENING? What does she DO besides parade around? I know I probably sound like a million other people, but dayum she is a big bore and basically a strange mannequin who the media seems obsessed with. I don’t know why. And it’s a shame.

    I think it’s a much bigger deal than you surmise here. It’s corporate. Something is up at Conde Nast. This feels like something bigger than Anna, like something that came down from the top. Somebody in research did the numbers and figured out that Kim and Kanye on the cover will sell more than any other cover in the last five years. It will be every interesting to see the numbers. On the other hand, am I being totally paranoid and have I really just dedicated 20 minutes of my life to this post? Yikes. On the other, other hand, EVERYONE is talking about it. And isn’t that what you want for the cover of your magazine? Isn’t that the most important aspect of the magazine business? Buzz and sales? Maybe at the core, Anna is just a shrewd editor who wants to sell magazines and maybe she built this whole escalation of energy around Kanye and Kim NOT getting onto the cover just so she could PUT them on the cover when they reached critical mass.

    Either way, loved the articulate and thoughtful commentary you provided. Thank you!

  48. Tim
    +28

    Nice summary Heather. To me it feels like your boyfriend just cheated on you. (With someone you consider cheap) He can promise not to do it again, or say that he was drunk, but it’s just never the same again.

    •  Des
      +12

      This is so funny and so true. Just based on this comment, I want to be your boyfriend and never cheat on you.

  49. Gypsy Danger
    +5

    Very astute and well written commentary.

    The thing I am most interested in on this cover is “The Fittest Woman on Earth”.

  50. Claire1
    +27

    Not that GFY isn’t important…. because I love it ( and it brings me joy when I’ve had enough of reading the true horrors of the world…. I can just look at fashion horrors and breathe again).. It is my main source to all things award show/ celebrity/ fashion ….
    But GD HEATHER! I am looking forward to your fist “serious” piece published.

    On that note. I wish I had the funds to support Victoria Beckham. Not because she needs my money….but over the years, with her interviews, her fashion ( I’m always pleased on how for such a trim woman, she manages to create clothing that MANY female shapes can wear)….I’ve grown to truly like her…which kind of makes me not like Vogue….and the use of the most unfashionable couple ever ( imo, in both dress and behavior) has sort of cinched that.

    All of that said. I don’t really care if Vogue uses these two or vice versa….I do care that your piece took it to another level, a deeper commentary that was wonderfully done.
    I am not surprised….the usual wit of this site cannot be created by women who aren’t also, immensely intelligent.

    • Claire1
      +5

      FIRST piece…. but…you know fist works too…for something hard hitting ;)

  51.  Barbara
    0

    Just cancelled my subscription to Vogue and am already feeling much better.

  52.  Carolyn
    +11

    This is more about the death knell of magazines, in the same way that Vanity Fair is now pencil slim.
    Clearly Vogue is no longer a fashion bible but a mag that will put anyone on their cover to sell a copy.The proof will be when the numbers come out. In doing this though they have offended their core readership and that may be their undoing.
    I can’t imagine that Grace CS was onboard with this decision at all.

  53. Amanda
    +4

    Great read. Very well done. Also, does anyone else think Wills & Kate might take issue with that hashtag?

  54. Kate
    +4

    I think you need to delete this post and have a strict policy that you will not engage in Kim talk. That is, unless your fear (like Vogue’s) is that you’ll be out of the discussion and become irrelevant. It’s clear you have been drawn into this with some real gusto and serious emotion. But, like someone who is a lunatic in your life, you ignore their actions. They do not affect you. More attention paid to them perpetuates their not getting healthy. And, the Kardashians are pretty darn diseased. Please vow to stop the insanity, because I like you guys. Without sounding silly, you seem like really nice people. Push the positivity, not this sort of super tweaked, long reaction.

  55. Philippa
    +11

    Anna Wintour has morphed into Tina Brown.

    Heather, congratulations on your outstanding essay and for generating so much thoughtful commentary.

  56.  Mo
    +23

    Heather, I originally came to this site for the snark and stayed for the writing. This is the best piece on popular culture I’ve read in a long time. Bravo.

  57. Heather
    +51

    Hey, thanks everyone SO MUCH for being so kind about this. I was bracing myself for a lot of “too long didn’t read” — not because you guys do that, but because I was self-conscious about how long it turned out to be — and so I really appreciate all the kind words.

    AND the fact that, as ever, Fug Nation has stepped it up with really interesting, good-spirited debate that doesn’t ever get mean even when people disagree. Y’all are sincerely the best.

    • Sajorina
      +21

      There are a lot of fashion blogs and pop culture blogs, but none like this one, so this is the only one I read because you guys are AMAZING writers… That’s what keeps me coming back! We appreciate all you do! Thank you for another great post!

    • Cas
      +10

      I’m a Ride or Die Bitch. For GFY

      •  Stephanie
        +5

        Even days after, I came back to read new comments because I found the comments and ideas to be interesting, even if I disagreed. I love that we can discuss it so well because what is the fun without good discussion?

  58. Blair Sylvester
    +6

    So Vogue is now offering a clutch with subscription (on their Facebook page ). This reeks of oh crap we made a mistake and are loosing subscribers so we have to draw in new subscribers

  59. amy
    +18

    I agree with everything. It isn’t a success to have a multi race couple on the cover because she doesn’t embrace them – they just look like the cover of a bridal magazine. Mindy Kaling would have been much more interesting, or Lupita Nyong’o!!!

    The problem I have is that I did see Vogue as a bit of an aspirational or standard in culture; an evil arbiter of good taste, or at least an attempt at such. But I think it’s such a cop out for Anna Wintour to put her on the cover and then point the finger back at us, saying that this is the Vogue cover we deserve for having such low taste as a society etc. It was her decision and putting her on the cover not only degrades the magazine, but also elevates Kim and her entire family so unnecessarily and undeservedly. Yes, maybe too many people watch Honey Boo Boo or the Kardashians but that should make Vogue more exclusive and more … beautiful. Give us something to learn, something to find beautiful, not something to mock or to just serve as an ad for the next season of the Kardashian show.

    Basically, this cover (for me) I worry will give the Kardashians more momentum and since when did making a sex tape and then doing disgusting, rude things on television become the American Dream? Even if that desire for empty fame is something growing in America, why celebrate it or legitimize it? Vogue should embrace being somewhat elite, at least in the fashion world.

    •  Shannon
      +13

      Oooh, can you imagine how beautiful a cover with Lupita and, say, Jared Leto would have been? I’m swooning just thinking about it!

    • Stacey
      +3

      Exactly, Amy! It’s not just the sex tape. Anyone with a brain and a moral compass who has seen more than five minutes of their show recognizes that they are crass, crude, vulgar, terrible people. I was flipping through the channels and heard one of them say “fat p*ssy”. I was shocked, so I kept watching. It was an entire scene with 2 of the sisters discussing the other’s penchant for always having a camel toe, and the reason was because she has a fat p*ssy. Why are the given a platform?

  60. Thoughts
    +32

    I have no animosity towards Kim or Kanye. I have no opinion of them at all, actually. My disappointment that they were chosen for the Vogue cover has more to do with what Vogue is supposed to represent, and Ms Wintour’s role as a ‘style gauge’ than anything else.

    Kim’s style—and I am not saying this in a positive or negative light, just as an observation–is not what I would call ‘on trend’ haut couture. It is very, very Hollywood and remarkably consistent regardless of trends. Bandage dresses, a heavy tan, the smokey eye, and the stiletto. This quasi-wedding dress they have her in is an encapsulation of her style: a strapless satine sweetheart-neckline ballgown that would have been au-courant in 2001 but is not interesting, aesthetically, by today’s standards (the strapless ballgown is so ten years ago!). There is nothing objectively wrong with it, it is just not reflective of some of the more interesting trends right now: masculine cuts, minimalism, 90s grunge. Or even the more interesting bridal trends: sleeves, lace, colored gowns.

    I am disappointed in Ms Wintour not because I dislike Kim/Kanye, but because I consider their ‘brand’ to be culturally passe, and their styling to be not a representation of the au courant risk-taking one used to find in Vogue. As good as KK are at keeping themselves in the headlines, I think most culturalists would agree that they don’t have the relevancy they had even three years ago, just as the spotlight is moving from Lady Gaga. Global interest is drifting towards cultural figures that are a little more ‘real’ and self aware. Lena Dunham. Lorde. Jennifer Lawrence. Lupita N’yongo and Shailene Woodley. Even Taylor Swift has cannily kept up with this through allying herself with Ed Sheeren whose music represents both self-awareness and stripped down ‘reality’. Vogue disappoints me because it should be a sophisticated reflection of what’s new and intriguing in culture and more importantly fashion. Instead, it’s a redux of E!Online? Disappointed. I’ve thought for awhile that they should have a new editor in chief. Now I’m even more convinced.

    Also, I have to do some finger wagging towards Annie Leibowitz for this photo. Regardless of the dress (which I find boring) and the pose (which I find weird), the cover is dull. Really, really boring. Anyone could have taken this photograph. The past cover of Jessica Chastain was interesting, intriguing and artistic, the most interesting Vogue cover I’ve seen in years. This, layout looks cheap. If they had given Kim a high fashion pose and some interesting clothes to go with it, then perhaps, they could claim some artistic merit from the whole endeavor. Like it or not, Vogue is supposed to be a convergence of art, luxury and high fashion. Paris Vogue does this beautifully. As many others have said, this could be a Bridal Magazine cover. I am embarrassed for Kim because they didn’t even TRY something artistic.

    Also, the most talked about couple in the world are now Will and Kate. So even that’s wrong! Argh!

  61. Lily1214
    +2

    Kanye has always looked in photos of the two together as if he is very proud to be with her and that he loves her. I think she has the right man.

    • Mags
      +2

      Let’s revisit that–oh, say, a year from now. That’s about how long I give them.

  62. Andrei
    +12

    Ah, please. The world’s most “talked-about” couple? That is rich. I never heard anyone I know talk about them and no one even gives the slightest shit about them.

    Talk about over-reaching and grasping nothing that is there. I think it needs to be hacked with a chainsaw.

  63.  moi
    +7

    As brilliant and biting a piece of pop cultural writing as anything I’ve read in a long time.

  64. Michelle
    0
  65. Faye
    +1

    Interesting fact: Vogue America was the first U.S. magazine to publish pics of concentration camps after WWII.

    From that . . .to this. It’s kind of sad.

  66.  Miriam
    +3

    I’m not a regular Vogue reader and am curious. Have there been other men/couples on the cover?
    Both the essay and responses are thought-provoking and thoughtful. Kudos!

  67.  Nancy
    0

    So who are these kardashians? And who cares? Vapid Americans have created these celebrities..let’s hope they fade away soon.

  68. Natalie
    +3

    Correct me if i’m wrong but this is the April Cover of Vogue right?
    In my estimation, April is a very slow selling month for magazines (I am not in the publishing industry, maybe it’s March)….so maybe it was a calculated move by Anna – we’ll put K&K on the cover in the month we know we sell the least amount of copies….higher sales = more $ for Vogue (Kim sells magazines) and no loss if it doesn’t sell (it’s the slowest month for sales anyways) so basically Kim has no real impact on Vogue, Vogue culture, Vogue’s loyal readers or on sales…

  69. BoomBoomLaRoo
    +4

    I was hoping this was an April Fool’s joke.

    Bright side:
    Nobody can bitch about anybody being “skin and bones” on this cover.

    Now go buy some Chanel sunglasses, Lowest Common Denominator, Karl needs to buy Choupette a house.

  70. Pat H
    +32

    Thank you for a well thought-out essay on what this cover is, and why it has created such an emotional response. For me, it’s not about him: I don’t listen to his music, so he is just background noise. Yet, it is him that gives her legitimacy on this cover. It’s almost epic in historical proportions. She is the whore that is elevated to the throne by the king (It’s a bit Anne Boleyn and Henry VIII). And so, she can be crushed easily when this game is over. She is a straw dog, left on a badly lit cover, poorly fitted in a tight dress by a lazy photographer (yes Annie- I am looking at you, and your not giving a f*&k anymore) in a prom dress with her baby daddy. Perhaps Anna doesn’t read gossip blogs about Kanye and his friend Tischi. Or she knows, and thinks we don’t hear the innuendo. We all play this game in some way.

    Vogue was always aspirational. I worked there, and this was a mantra. It is fantasy, fashion and culture to the highest level. Or at least, it was. Anna Wintour is retirement age, and like Grace Mirabella and Diana Vreeland before her, she may have missed the point, or she may have been led to the slaughter. Either story is worth telling– but not something to be proud of. That’s more the fault of the culture of Condé Nast, than Wintour or her minions.

    The bigger picture is the decline of the magazine. Readers did not like Lena Dunham or Rhianna on the cover. Rumor has it, Kate Upton was bumped from this month. Would that choice be an improvement? The endlessly long hashtag as a subhead was silly, too. It exposed Wintour as a “try-hard” in the hipstakes. What do we want in a magazine? Do we even want a magazine in print that shows us $10,000 dresses in a world where most college graduates still live with their parents? Sometimes, a clusterfuck like this just means it’s time for a change, and that’s OK. But no one ever said it wouldn’t hurt.

    • Elbyem
      +3

      Great comment, Pat H – “aspirational” is the word that was alluding me, when I thought about all of the years I used to buy Vogue. I love your insider insight, too.

  71. Rachel
    +13

    I just don’t like this cover because it looks like a cheesy prom picture.

    •  Constant Reader
      +1

      That’s it! I couldn’t put my finger on what it made me think of, but you nailed it.

  72. Terry in Maryland
    +7

    “It makes me wonder if Anna feels pressure from within, or without I suppose, to bend and flex and be perceived as having her finger on the youth pulse so as never to be accused of being out of touch — or whether Vogue is getting a rep as as too much of a dinosaur.”

    Wintour would have been better off putting someone like Lorde on the cover.

  73. Sajorina
    +3

    I don’t like the cover nor do I like the decision to put them in the cover when there are so many talented and accomplished people who would represent with dignity “what is happening now”! For me it is disappointing because I considered Vogue a classy magazine and this is far from classy to me! But I don’t subscribe… never have and never will! MAJOR COVER FAIL! And, Anna Wintour is not bullshitting me with what she wrote… How disingenuous!

    This post was brilliant! Thank you!

  74. JJ
    +3

    “…let’s not pretend Kim’s ascent has anything to do with her insides or her sterling core…” come now, Heather; isn’t that what RayJ revealed, starting this entire production?

  75. ew
    +6

    Et Tu Anna?????

  76. Fern Hallman
    +8

    Totally worth putting them on the cover because anything that causes y’all to write anything in Kanye’s voice is a win for me. That stuff is brilliant.

  77. Jill
    +8

    This cover looks more like the cover of a David’s Bridal catalogue than a Vogue cover.

  78. Bambi Anne Dear
    +6

    I want to see models wearing beautiful clothes on covers, not celebrities pushing personal brands. Wasn’t a cover what a young model aspired to way back when? What hope do they have now? Even the supermodels hardly get a look-in these days.

  79. jen310
    +13

    Excellent and well-written piece as always, Heather. Thanks for articulating what most of us think about this cover and its meaning. Most of Fug Nation is in agreement with you and the dissenters opinions are always welcome which is what Fug Nation is all about – being inclusive. I just wanted to add my support of what you’ve written and thank you and Jessica for providing a welcome and delightful port in the internet storm where one can relax, laugh, and snark on the clothes of celebrities. It is always a fun escape from the ugliness that life and the internet can provide on a daily basis.

    I came too late for the “slut-shaming vs murder-shaming” hullaballo but I think anyone who has read this site long enough knows that you and Jessica are witty, articulate, and excellent writers who are decent human beings and don’t take lightly the wrongs of the world and would never suggest that being a slut vs. being a murderer are one in the same. You two are too good for that.

    I do understand your argument on “slut-shaming” though, in that the phrase is thrown around so carelessly that it ceases to lose its power and becomes an all-purpose excuse for anyone who doesn’t agree with someone’s opinion on something. That phrase and other “shaming” phrases get thrown around with such frequency that it it is in danger of registering its original purpose as meaningless.

    I think most of the negative reactions to this cover are because we, as humans, want to think that any achievement should be based on hard work and many, including myself, believe Kim has done little to none and a sex tape should not bring access to fame, fortune and a Vogue cover. But as you said, “Don’t hate the hustle, hate the hustler.” Kim, and even Kanye to a degree, are hustlers and for some reason they have gotten their due.
    But you also pointed out that this is just a magazine cover and this too shall pass. Its not the end of civilization its just an annoyance to those of us who think that she is not the most deserving of persons in this world for what she has achieved.

    The too long; didn’t read version of my comment: you and Jess are awesome. If you weren’t Fug Nation would not be the large, strong community of considerate people that this site attracts. Never be afraid to post your thoughts on any subject, no matter how long, on here. You will always find a welcome audience. You and Jessica continue to stay awesome and all will be right with the world.

  80.  Stacey
    +3

    I really don’t care enough about vogue to have an opinion about them being on the cover. I think they do look nice though, much better than when they dress themselves. And “baker of my bun” is cracking me up.

    • KHS
      0

      Everything you said. I wanted option “Don’t care enough about Vogue to have an opinion, but think they look nice(r) than usual.” And then I wanted lots of KANYE VOICE.

  81. jewel241
    +3

    I have been a little out of it lately but can I just say that this cover really speaks to the power of the dollar and how non relevant people can foist themselves into any situation they want just be wearing us all down with over exposure. Anna W, I am disapointed in you and vogue. Not that you don’t put some silly stuff on the cover but please this is sad. I have no bad feeling toward the two but, blah.

  82. Linden
    +7

    Some of the best writing – not just Jessica and Heather but so many of the commentators here. Throughly enjoyed reading it ALL – gave me great pleasure. Unlike the feelings that arise within me in gazing upon Kim (whom I’ve always sorta liked for some reason until she hitched up with…) and Kanye, who has been perfectly described here in ways I cannot. Those feelings include, but not in any order of importance: BLRGGH, YEECH, WTF, WTH, SMDF, and that noise known as “ralph.”

  83. Michele H.
    +4

    I felt better about the picture after I wrote to Vogue and told them I was never going to buy another issue of their magazine, because of this pic…

  84. tigers4us
    0

    OK, my 2 cents worth… Snoooze… Are K & K still here? Do they EVER do anything spontaneous? Or have they become the 6th-tier Bey & Jay Z?

  85. Lauren
    0

    This is the most eloquent and thoughtful piece of writing on the internet right now. Can you please also write all the news stuff I’m supposed to be reading, too? Kthanks.

  86. cccertainly
    +1

    I love the intelligence and wit on this site, but this dissertation speculating on Anna Wintour’s decision to give cover real estate to Kim Kardashian: serious overkill. It’s a cynical business decision by a mainstream magazine. It’s entertainment, and that’s how a magazine like Vogue stays entertaining — by making you second-guess its decisions from time to time.

    • Roz
      +1

      I was going to say the same thing. This enchantment and fascination with AW’s decision making is just too much playing into her hands.

    • greatwhitenorthchick
      0

      Agreed. Fashion and magazine insiders have, pretty unanimously, confirmed that it’s all about the bottom line. The two idiots on the cover are about as important to mainstream culture as Honey Boo Boo.

  87.  K
    0

    Thank you so much for this. You put into words so eloquently what I’ve been thinking ever since the cover came out.

  88. Kristina
    0

    This was pretty fascinating! I don’t go too in-depth with the psychology of any Vogue cover, and Kim and Kanye neither annoy me nor are they super fascinating, so… I don’t have a huge opinion on it myself! I think it’s a relatively okay — if blah– cover, and thank goodness Kim is actually wearing a piece of clothing that fits, isn’t sheer/netted/cutout/smashing her boobs into pancakes, etc. Their hands weird me out. (They’re like Barbie hands.)

    But can we just talk about the fact that Vogue used a hashtag on their cover? *sigh*

  89. Ash
    +2

    Dang it, Brandy’s little brother. Look at what you’ve done!! LOOK AT IT!

  90. Louise
    +3

    I watched Bill Cunningham New York recently. There is a scene where Catherine Deneuve is mobbed by paparazzi in Paris. Mr. Cunningham mused that the other photographers probably thought he was crazy for not taking her picture, but he said she wasn’t wearing anything interesting. It’s about fashion, not celebrity. Vogue is about fashion, and after watching Bill Cunningham dedicate his entire life to fashion on the runway and out on the New York streets I am very upset Anna Wintour put this couple on the cover.

  91. Mags
    +2

    Excellent analysis, Heather.

  92. hng23
    +5

    Diana Vreeland must be turning in her grave.

  93. shirley
    0

    Oh, Heather. Brava, girl.

  94.  Raemesela
    0

    Excellent writing Heather, you out of most bloggers have captured how most of us feel about this cover and Anna.

  95. TonyG
    0

    One day, there will be a philosophy course based on the lives of these two.

    It will be about their own decisions, their road to cultural icon status, and our reactions to it all.

    It will seek to answer the proverbial question, “why?”

    There will be a multitude of valid answers to that question, none of which we will all agree upon, and that is what will make it one damned interesting philosophy course.

    I have no qualms about the cover. The fact of its existence, or its execution. It’s not spectacular, but the bride does look beautiful and it will sell well.

  96. Liliputian Lady
    +1

    I do not like her. She is no more and no less than a high dollar prostitute. Sorry, but that is how I see her.

  97. Roz
    +1

    I had another thought about this. If AW puts people on the cover who “define culture,” then why shouldn’t she show Kim in the WAY she defines culture–i.e. in a see through fish net top with her ass hanging out all over the place? That’s who she is. That;s what she’s known for. That’s her contribution to “culture,” correct? This cover is hypocritical.

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  99. Emma
    +1

    Being in the UK I haven’t seen the entirety of the spread yet. However, i have seen pictures of north West in it. find it hypocritical to shield her from the media as much as possible then throw her in the first glossy that gives you a high profile cover! My next issue with the whole thing is based around the fact kim is famous for a sex tape. Is this what we are now promoting tot he worlds youth?? Make a sex tape and a few years down the line you will have a massive amount of fame, followers and a coveted Vogue cover?? I do not understand how they can go from someone as talented and interesting as Lena Dunham to someone as vapid and unimportant as Kim Kardashian. To look back over the last year of vogue covers and to see people like Lena, Jennifer Lawrence, Kate Winslet et al on them and seeing the amount of talent that is put on to them it is almost saddening for them to stoop as low as a reality TV star.

  100. Pam
    0

    I’ll take sex tape Kim over coke snorting Kate any day.

  101. Julia
    0

    I have nothing profound to add, just that you put your finger exactly on my confusion with the Two and a Half Men reference. This cover is very blah to me, and I can’t quite imagine that it’s SO COMPELLING to the rest of the world that it would cause AW to drop her principles so spectacularly, but you’re so right – I know no one who watches that show, and yet it constantly gets top ratings. And I try to tell myself I don’t live in a bubble…

    It also bothers me that Vogue’s FIRST COVER HASHTAG is not even clever. It’s a totally pointless subhead that, to another commenter’s point, would be better used to describe William and Kate.

    Love y’all…

  102. Julia
    0

    OH and also, reading Harry’s comment that it feels like something that came down from number crunching, corporate Conde Nast – anyone else having visions of Jeff Fordham poking Anna in the collarbone and telling her she is NOTHING WITHOUT THE LABEL?

  103. hmmm...
    0

    I actually like the cover – it looks kind of great and the regal ‘we rule the world, so suck it’ vibe k&k give off here feels appropriate. What I find interesting about this is what it says about Anna’s position, especially in the context of the last few months. This is because, to my eyes, Anna is eager to appear current to her publishers who are beginning to have doubts: for instance, while wholly appropriate and well realised, lena dunham’s appearance as a cover girl shows a desire to be current (although for that they should have run her for series 1 or 2…) and March has the signs of an editor keen to splash herself, and a relevance, all over her magazine: note 1) lorde reference 2) diversity reference 3) use of her first 1988 cover in editor’s letter. And now Kim. I feel as though Anna wants to be seen to understand the future of fashion, as she did so well in her anticipation of both celebrity and street style’s importance, yet honestly doesn’t know where it’s heading. As for her letter for April – it’s awkward and is trying to tell you what it is, rather than being it (Vogue wants to be W, by the sounds of it).
    I’m enjoying vogue 2014, and this cover is no exception (I’m not precious about vogue), but I’m interested to see whether or not Anna will still be around for vogue 2015… Would we miss her???

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  105. Jennifer
    0

    Vogue does mean something to me personally; I have literally been reading it since I could read – my mother was a subscriber, and I went on to become one myself. And I read it almost because I couldn’t afford anything in there – it’s like a window to another world! A world that I probably couldn’t/wouldn’t live in even if I could afford to, but still, a glamorous, beautiful world. And to put a talentless fame-mongerer, beautiful as she is, on the cover…well, I am clutching my (faux) pearls.

  106. Sarah
    0

    I disagree with the Mindy Kaling comment. Mindy Kaling may be popular in America at the moment, but in other countries very few people know who she is. Kim and Kanye on the other hand are known all over the world, whether you like it or not. Also, Mindy’s show has been on for, what 2-3 seasons? Kim’s reality show is almost in the double digits by now. She has been relevant in pop-culture for quite some time.
    Although I disagree with this cover, I do think Kim cannot be denied as a pop culture phenomenon. I just think it’s not Vogue’s style. I think they have tried really hard to stay relevant: putting Rihanna and Lena Dunham on the cover, celebrating Beyoncé as ‘the queen of curves’. But on the other hand, maybe their selling less and less and they needed something drastic to boost sales.
    But then I would’ve loved it if Anna would’ve owned it, like: yeah I didn’t want them on the cover, but apparently you people are so obsessed with them, you gave me no choice!

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