The image: For its 25th anniversary issue, Elle magazine has produced four separate covers, each featuring a 25-year-old female celebrity. Three of the women — Amanda Seyfried, Megan Fox and Lauren Conrad — fit the "wispy and white" stereotype of a fashion-magazine cover girl. The fourth, full-figured African-American actress Gabourey Sidebe, decidedly does not. Is Elle's expectation-bending experiment a success?
The reaction: "It’s one thing to tell our young girls that beauty comes in all shapes and sizes," says EBrady at Babble. But quite another "to see a gorgeous young lady that breaks all the moulds smiling back from the newsstands." I wish I could share your enthusiam, says Mary Elizabeth Williams at Salon. But the cover "feels less like a celebration of non-traditional beauty than a token gesture of diversity" — even "a weird fetishization" of Sidibe. Elle seems to be patting itself on the back and saying: "We're just bold enough to celebrate you!"