My running club includes several professional African American, Caribbean American and African women (and men) of all ranges of running pace and ability. During our weekly Sunday 6:30am runs, we break off into pace groups.
While we run, walk, or jog, (depending on your pace group), we chat about our lives. It’s all good. Being able to run and talk is a good way to make sure we aren’t over exerting ourselves.
My pace group includes myself and two doctors who I went to college with and thankfully so because often times I find myself breaking a sweat trying to keep up with them and am comforted in knowing if pass out doing so they could resuscitate me! I jest!
Anyway, one of the awesome fast runners in my group, we nickname Sergeant Leggs , yes with two “G”s because she has these long lean and toned legs that look awesome in a pair of short running shorts. Many of us have admitted to running just so we can eventually, one day “fit into her shorts”!
On one particular run, we were talking about our experiences during our first pregnancy and Sergeant Leggs announced that she was inside one of the top three pregnancy magazines when she was pregnant! Inside? Yeah, as in inside an issue! Whoa! How cool is that?
The story goes that when she was pregnant with her first child a little over two years ago, she was very excited about the experience and had a wonderful pregnancy. She loved being pregnant she said and enjoyed reading all she could about pregnancy, but when she would go to her obstetricians office and flip through the pregnancy magazines in the waiting room while waiting for her turn to be seen by her doctor, she said she was disappointed to discover that the magazines rarely had women of color or women who resembled her in them. She shared her sadness about that with her husband who, being the wonderful supportive husband he was, did not like to see his beautiful glowing otherwise upbeat and positive wife distressed. The good chap wrote into one of the magazines sharing with its editors a photo of his beautiful wife. The editors, perhaps shamed by the slight and acknowledging their malfeasance, decided to include her husband’s letter in their magazine along with the beautiful photo of his wife showing off her baby bump. He had sent in the photo with his letter.
I am awaiting a scanned copy of the magazine from the Sarg to share. (*clears throat for the Sarg if she is reading this*). I assume in that “Dear Pregnancy magazine” column the editors vowed to be better and reflect more diversity in their magazine. I thought that was the case and felt they deserved “kudos” for acknowledging the issue. I haven’t been pregnant in nearly over two years myself, so I wondered if given recent times, (we’ve got an African American president for God’s sake) if the pregnancy magazines on store shelves have indeed stepped up their game and started featuring diverse pregnant models.
Hmm. As research would have it, NOPE! Not so lucky. I guess that magazine didn’t learn too much from Sargeant Leggs’ husband. I kidded to the Sarg that maybe it was time she and her husband to conceive again so they could put her back in the magazine.
In all fairness, Boxer/Actress Lailah Ali and Actress Garcelle Beauvais-Nilon graced past coversof Pregnancy magazine. Thank goodness celebrities are hot commodoties that can push magazines.
And I get it! I realize that pregnancy magazines want to sell magazines and sometimes are challenged to respond to and keep pace with the types of models that mainstream non-pregnancy magazines for women put on their covers. That begs the question, “Is the standard of what a beautiful pregnant woman looks like supposed to be so monolithic?”
I mean, if it’s about keeping up with what drives the mainstream fashion magazines, last I checked, Michelle Obama, is and was once considered a fashion icon. According to several sources including the New York Times, she was touted to be the savior of the American fashion industry. These days, magazines with her on the cover sell faster and more issues.
Further, statistics reveal that as soon as the year 2050, America will be majority Hispanic. I guess that means at any given moment on any given day in the year, there are most likely more Latina women pregnant than any other race of women in America. I suppose they aren’t the target market for pregnancy magazines, then, huh? hmmm. Curiouser and Curiouser.
I know we all don’t look as good as the models in the magazines when pregnant. Notwithstanding, I know there’s a good selection of “model perfect” models and I know that not just because I am enamored by the pregnant women and am one of those people who take notice of pregnant women walking around in my daily life. Surely, it couldn’t just be me, so lookey here! I was able to find these while doing an internet search:
Look, even the stock photo companies have pretty generous samples of pregnant models of diverse ethnicities. So they do exist!
I even found an elusive image of a pregnant Native American model on the net!
Even, in my circle of personal friends, in real life and on the internet, there are gorgeous model perfect preggo babes! They include, first
During my research for this post, I discovered Canadian based Black Woman and Child magazine, which, according to its publisher, was created as a direct answer to the absence of diverse models and topics for multi-ethnic audiences in pregnancy magazines on shelves in Canada. In college sociology and psychology classes, I vividly recall some of my classmates challenging the need and importance of things like a “Miss Teen Phillipines USA” pageant or for Black fashion magazines or Black Entertainment Television or the ALMA awards recognizing the achievements of Latinos in the music industry. They wondered why and how one would even come up with the idea to create such things. Hmmmm??? Inquiring minds want to know. Could it be that they were fed up waiting for someone else to acknowledge their talents, beauty and skills and positive non stereotypical imagery?
So with that, I challenge these magazines to step up to the reality that is 2009, present time, and embrace the modern Multiethnic times and do a better job reflecting the diversity of their subscribers and readership. All readers, regardless of race and ethnicity deserve to see their images represented fairly in their magazines. It only makes sense, and cents. I know it sounds cliché, but the color of money is Green. Well, still mostly green anyway!
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