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I posed this question on Twitter and for the most part the replies I got confirmed my stance; Vogue is irrelevant. It is a magazine that exists largely based on hype and lives on its past glory. What’s more, the fact that someone’s worth is based on a Vogue cover is simply mystifying to me. Gone are the days when Vogue did anything that mattered, it is stifled by its abject refusal to grow out of that comfortable bubble and spark something other than really good editorials. I used to be an avid reader of Vogue until a few years ago and save for the occasional September Issue- though I still haven’t finished reading the Gaga September Issue- the Michelle Obama Issues, etc. nowadays I only have to look at the cover and it would elicit a huge eye roll and side eye. The same tired subject matters, with the same old celebrities, the same interviews that lack depth or gumption, the same skinny, for the most part white girls, on the cover. It operates in this cocoon of safety that only manages to hammer home its irrelevance more than anything else. Having watched the September Issue too many times to count, where Grace emerged as the straight talking sweetheart we couldn’t help but love, you get a sense of what Vogue was and what it is today. The chasm is so obvious it smacks you in the face.
Its no secret, Kim Kardashian is dying to be on the cover of Vogue, its almost as if its her mission in life to make that cover, which I believe is such a pointless aspiration to have. Kanye West, the Great Kim Crusader, desperately wants his fianceé to be on the cover of Vogue US, he is so hung up on her fame that he believes there is no one more deserving of a Vogue cover than his baby-mama/fianceé. He also believes she deserves a star on the Hollywood walk of fame. In his interviews West has proclaimed Kim more relevant to fashion than First Lady Michelle Obama, who has made the cover twice, because FLOTUS can’t instagram half naked pictures of herself like his girl did, -I guess that’s what Michelle Obama went to school for, to be fashionably relevant and nothing else (*S). He has put her influence on pop culture on par with that of Marilyn Monroe, claiming Kim to be the modern day Marilyn, he insists she is the most intriguing woman right now because Barbara Walters is blowing up her phone and as a pair, West believes they are most influential when it comes to clothing – I didn’t realise how much I listen to what Kanye has to say! Now rumour has it that Kanye is not best pleased about the fact that Lena Dunham made the cover of Vogue before his fianceé. Allegedly, Kanye believes Kim is just as talented as Dunham, Writer and Director of a critically acclaimed cult hit TV series, Author and oh, lets not forget essayist for the New Yorker, if not more so. Yes Kanye, Kim is groundbreaking alright. Since the dawn of her celebrity, that sex tape, the defining moment of her celebrity, Kim hasn’t done much to shift the conversation about her, whatever else she has achieved, she perpetuates the same stories. But to her credit, she has managed to parlay her notoriety into a bankable “career”, if we are redefining success as such, Keeping Up With The Kardashians is arguably the most successful reality tv series. No idea why, but it is what it is.
So I cannot help but wonder, what exactly does being on the cover of Vogue magazine matter? Why should Kanye West care that his fiancée, who by all accounts doesn’t really need Vogue, is still being given the cold shoulder by Anna Wintour?
In my opinion, Vogue has written itself into redundancy by becoming a high brow version of a tabloid magazine. It is the foremost socialite roaster, a rolodex for advertisers, the odd good article buried in a million other monotonous things and very great fashion, I’ll give it that. But like other magazines of its kind, it perpetuates tokenism, continues to tell women that being who we are, normal, is not enough, we have to be something else. Its a shame that a magazine with the means and platform to do so much more, one marketed in a league of its own, is still trapped in this cycle of trying to remain the coolest kid on the playground. We know what happened to that girl.
Like the “it girl”, Vogue is redundant.
Here’s the thing though, I’m convinced that Anna Wintour will one day put Kim Kardashian on the cover because she embodies everything about the celebrity culture that Anna is responsible for cultivating. She will and people will lose their minds. At which point, Vogue might have hit the final nail to its coffin and it will be knocked off its lofty perch to become just like every other publication of its kind out there. Who knows…but mark my words.