Magazine News

January 10, 2014

Elle’s “Women in Television” Issue Under Fire for Cover Treatment of Mindy Kaling

Elle Magazine Women in Television Issue Allison Williams Amy Poehler Mindy Kaling Zooey Deschanel Magazine Cover Controversy

Elle’s Women in Television cover girls, clockwise from left: Allison Williams, Amy Poehler, Zooey Deschanel, and Mindy Kaling.

Elle magazine is under fire for treating Mindy Kaling differently than her funny girl co-cover stars on the “Women of Television” issue. Kaling says she loves the cover, but others aren’t so sure it’s sending the right message.

Oops, Elle magazine did it again. Well, maybe, depending on whom you ask. The women’s fashion magazine has become nearly synonymous with some sort of controversy any time it releases a multi-cover issue—like its annual “Women in Hollywood,” “Women in Music,” or “Women in Television” collections.

Invariably, it usually goes something like this. Super-thin stars are featured in slinky outfits, their fit and trim physiques rewarded with full-body shots. One woman—usually the larger of the group—is featured in a closely-cropped shot, her plus-sized body hidden under bulky clothing, and/or in “The Mindy Project” star Mindy Kaling’s case showcased in black and white while the rest are in vivid color.

The latest multi-cover issue features funny girls from popular television shows—Allison Williams, Amy Poehler, and Zooey Deschanel—in curve-hugging outfits or full-body shots, while Mindy Kaling is shown from the waist up, her ethnic features softened by being presented in black and white.

Is there anything to it? Melissa McCarthy insisted the “Jacket Gate” flap over her November Elle magazine cover was nothing short of ridiculous. She told multiple news outlets that she loved the jacket and she picked it herself.

Mindy Kaling took to Twitter to respond in similar fashion. She tweeted, “I love my @ELLEmagazine cover. It made me feel glamorous & cool. And if anyone wants to see more of my body, go on thirteen dates with me.”

The dissimilar treatment of the TV actresses didn’t sit well with readers, who interpreted the move as a slight because of Kaling’s size and ethnicity. Huffington Post blogger Lauren Duca pointed out that while it’s all well and good that both McCarthy and Kaling loved their covers, Elle’s different treatment in composition and dress of them sends the wrong message to women with curves or women of color.

What do you think?

About the Author

Michelle Ryan
Michelle Ryan
Michelle Ryan is obsessed with good food, great shoes and Alabama football way down South in Savannah, Georgia. She hasn’t met a kitchen gadget she hasn’t at least thought about buying (trying them is another story) and devotes her time to Bikram Yoga, baking and trying to overcome long-held finicky eating habits.