White, White, White, Black: How U.S. Vogue Balances Diversity and Homogeneity
Schopf, Stephanie. “White, White, White, Black: How U.S. Vogue Balances Diversity and Homogeneity”, Boston College, 2016. http://hdl.handle.net/2345/bc-ir:106844.
My motivation for this research study comes from my own experience with and observations of body image issues among female students on the Boston College campus, as well as my observations of and research into the homogenization of beauty in the high-end fashion industry. Through various social institutions, namely high-end fashion media, our society supports an extremely narrow definition of beauty for women (read: White and thin/ultra-thin). There is an overwhelming lack of representation of women of color and women who do not fall in line with the thin body standard. I aim to contribute where there are holes in the conversation regarding diversity and exclusionary practices in the high-end fashion industry. Chiefly, I seek to contribute to an understanding of how fashion industry producers might continue to engage in the homogenization of beauty while evading liability with intermittent diversification effort. I conduct a content analysis of 11 issues (past and contemporary) of the high-end fashion magazine, U.S. Vogue. The units of measurement for my data collection are images, articles, and text produced by Vogue, as well as featured advertisements produced by other industry players. My data consists of recorded frequencies and two major codes (Race and Body Type) with various sub codes. I ultimately conclude that: (1) despite our society’s supposed increased sensitivity to diversity and diversification effort, we have made little progress on this front in the fashion industry (especially body type representation); and (2) U.S. Vogue does in fact continue to engage in racial exclusion while concealing its liability via the practice of racial capitalism.