I already made a cosplay joke today, which is a shame, because it would work so well here. This cover feels a lot like Marie Claire trying out an old Vanity Fair costume that it found in the attic. It’s not a bad concept at all: I like the fonts, and I like the suits, and I like the women. I’m torn, however, on whether I think it’s too dour, too lifeless. On one hand, it’s diverse and classy, and great to see women not being required to look friendly and easygoing and giggly in order to be taken seriously. But it keeps nagging at me that a vision of powerful women should not have to be stone-faced, either, because women do not need to erase their personalities in order to wield influence. Power, in 2019, should be able to look like a woman doing her natural thing, and that does not look like Constance Wu’s natural thing, to me. I don’t know that she’d stand there on a chair with one leg open (I would not have directed any of these women to do that in this situation, I don’t think — it feels too Come Hither, My Intern) pulling her face into Business Fierce. And Ava DuVernay’s natural thing doesn’t particularly seem like it would be sitting ramrod straight with her hands folded in her lap, like the best-behaved sister wife at the dinner table. There is acreage between what they seemed to avoiding doing, and what they did. Also, please check out the one of Jessica Chastain’s thighs we can see. Either they had her in bike shorts, or someone did a really bad Photoshop job to try and cover up some of her leg.

For me, in the end, I think the cons win out over any pros. It is not the AvaDuVernay, Constance Wu, or Jessica Chastain magazine cover of my dreams. OVER TO YOU.

[Photo: Marie Claire]