Vogue’s Kamala Harris cover backlash is yet another example of woke at its worst
Vogue’s Kamala Harris cover backlash is yet another example of woke at its worst

Kamala cover: Why the woke will never be happy

Surely America has enough to worry about.

There's no shortage of distressing issues: 389,000 people dead from COVID; the Capitol coup in which five people died; yet another impeachment; or social media's blocking of President Trump (while Iran's Ayatollah Ali Khamenei still gets to tweet away).

But anger is raging over a far more unlikely controversy: Kamala Harris' US Vogue cover.

The February issue was intended to portray the incoming Vice-President as "accessible", according to the magazine's editor-in-chief Anna Wintour.

Instead the magazine has been slammed as "racist" and "sexist" for displaying Ms Harris - the first black person and first woman to be Vice-President - in what critics described as a disrespectful and demeaning way.

In the photograph a smiling Ms Harris wears a black jacket and tight jeans, with her trademark pearls and Converse sneakers that became her signature on the campaign trail.

Behind her is pink and green fabric in a tribute to the colours of her African-American college sorority, Alpha Kappa Alpha and the slogan reads: "By the people, for the people".

The photographer was Tyler Mitchell, who was the first black photographer to shoot a Vogue cover (the amazing Beyonce shoot in 2018) and is known for his informal and muted pictures. The feature journalist and sittings editor were also both talented black American millennial women.

The image portrays Ms Harris (whose father is of Afro-Jamaican descent and mother is from India) how she normally is, not how people want her to be seen.

 

But despite this inclusivity and that Ms Harris chose and wore her own clothes, it wasn't enough to satisfy the perpetually displeased woke who called it a "mess" and "trash".

"The choice smacks of racism and sexism," Mary McNamara said in the Los Angeles Times.

"The cover did not give Kamala D Harris due respect. It was overly familiar," The Washington Post's senior critic-at-large Robin Givhan said.

Anna Murphy in The Times said it was "downright blah" and said Ms Harris had a "slightly awkward in-the-queue-at-Starbucks stance".

Online the negative response was worse, with commenters claiming she looks like a "tired soccer mom" and that is was "bizarrely horrible". "It looks like what some kid who really wants to work at Vogue some day would slap together," one person tweeted.

Others conspired that discrediting Ms Harris was Ms Wintour's main motivation, ignoring the fact that the Vogue editor did not feature First lady (and former model) Melania Trump in Vogue in the past four years.

Tyler Mitchell’s 2018 Vogue cover of Beyonce. Picture” Tyler Mitchell/Vogue
Tyler Mitchell’s 2018 Vogue cover of Beyonce. Picture” Tyler Mitchell/Vogue

It's also telling that Ms Harris is, according to a source, "extremely disappointed".

Her team allegedly agreed informally with Vogue that a different image (Ms Harris in a powder blue suit) would be the cover, according to reports.

That with everything going on in the US, they bothered to address off the record this tempest in a teacup is worrying.

Isn't saving democracy is more important than wading into yet another confected outrage by triggered moralisers searching for the next pile on?

It's easy to dismiss this as petty and trivial, but it signals a significant toxic trend in society.

Everything must now be judged through a filter of race, colour and (to a lesser extent) gender and nothing will ever be allowed to succeed in satisfying the liberal progressives.

And it's not just a problem for the US.

In Australia, anti-racism campaigner Stephen Hagan who drove the push to change the name of Coon cheese is still unhappy with the new name Cheer as he would have liked it "to be something more inclusive of First Nations people", according to Nine Entertainment newspapers.

And that is what is so disappointing about the Vogue outcry is that no matter how Ms Harris would be styled and photographed it would be met with a petulant tantrum from the Left.

 

 

The same people enraged that she was photographed wearing sneakers would foam at the mouth if she was in a ball gown.

If she was wearing designer clothes there would be backlash for making her look disconnected in a pandemic, just as New York congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez was ridiculed for her Vanity Fair cover.

Put her in a pencil skirt and high heels? That's stereotyping a powerful woman.

Have her in bare arms and there would be the same uproar Michelle Obama got.

What Ms Harris looks like or wears should not matter. What she says and does is what counts.

But that means nothing to those people who actively seek to be outraged on behalf of others.

You're damned if you do, damned if you don't.

Originally published as Kamala cover: Why the woke will never be happy


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