Scanning Series: Business (Women) Magazines Cover
What is Scanning Series? It is a deep analysis of all parts of movies, series, magazines, anything really, in order to detect the best and worst features beyond the obvious.
According to the Cambridge Dictionary, a businessperson means someone who works in business, especially someone with an important position in a company or someone who owns a company. Nothing specifically related to men, but why are business magazines still insists that power, success, and career are based on what a man represents?
We are living the fourth-wave of feminism, which we still face issues caused by a society based on gender and generalization. Feminism doesn't only rely anymore on only the struggles of women, it is a strong combat call for equality and inclusion. The fight for rights is a new broad-based activism that supports the workplace, home, the online connected world (especially social media), and the streets. To be a feminist is to be conscious of the oppression suffered by sexual orientation, racism, ageism, and classism.
Therefore, I observed that renowned business magazines are stacked in the old concept where successful women aim to be like a man and not their own being. I listed 4 key takeaways from the scanning analysis series:
🟣 Arms Crossed: This body language resembles power and the concept of powerful people reflects that they are not approachable. It is respectful to be afraid of them. However, does this thought is aligned with what we believe a powerful person should represent nowadays? I don't believe it is. Concepts must evolve with time too, high-powered people are supposed to look human and accessible to inspire others, instead of frightening. Forbes should review their notion of how to portray women in its covers. 🟣 Formal Dressing: When did you ever see Kylie Jenner wearing a suit? Never, right? But for the cover of Forbes Magazine in 2018, she wore one. Women still need to wear suits or a formal dressing to be taken seriously. This is 2020, but the protocol of good manners and common sense "written" in no one knows when, saying that powerful women need to copy man in order to look successful. The formal clothing in all of the covers represents that they are closer to become the representation of a powerful man, meaning they are fortunate. These covers show as women lack in character and are always trying to fit in a label pre-disposed for them. It is time to end this conception of success, women aim to become nothing but themselves, and they are full of personality to be where they are. 🟣 Almost Smiling: Please, don't forget to not smile! If you are on top, you can't look friendly. And power is not for everyone or at least that's what they want you to believe. On 80% of the covers, women are smizing (smiling with their eyes), a look often saw in fashion shoots too. To be a serious person you can't smile, you can't look amicable or accessible. How old is this assumption? These women worked hard to be where they are and don't have the option to smile? Business magazines need people to look serious because it represents strength. Although toughness has nothing related to not smile, it is personality. And a person smiling on the cover, if it is her wish, must be acceptable, and not just live by another rule imposed by others (and mostly men, again). 🟣 Dark Clothes: In business, dark clothes symbolizes strength, authority, elegance, and formality, everything the society built around what power must reflect. For example, I typed "black clothes" on google and this came out when your favorite color is black: "While black may mean “depression” to the clinical psychologist, to you it means dignity.” How crazy is that? People truly believe that by wearing black or darker tones, others will take you more seriously, I believe this is just another imposition of society. Why should you define someone's strength by the color they're wearing? If you are powerful, you are in every color.
People on the covers of business magazines should have the freedom to define what they want to represent to others instead of just playing by the rules. And these rules are just society's impositions and norms saying that we are all labeled. We must break the chains of pre-assumptions and create our own. Stop the obsession of placing people in boxes. It is more than time to be nothing, but yourself.
A great example of what it could have been a unique cover is Sara Blakely photo from the article about her inside the magazine, which shows all her personality of taking things easy by leading with friendly character and good humor. What if, right?
Only last year (2019), on the October Issue of Inc., it was the first time a pregnant woman, Audrey Gelman, one of the founders and ex-CEO of The Wing, was in a cover of a business magazine. Isn't it crazy? History proves once again, women are fighting for their rights since the 18th century but only in the 21st, we were able to tell the world that a woman can do business and still be a mother. This year, Forbes Brazil decided to take the chance too and covered its March issue with Cristina Junqueira, co-founder and CEO of Nubank. She was 9 months pregnant in the picture. You can be powerful and pregnant! Yet, still, both of them are wearing dark clothes, but at least no crossed arms.
At the same time as most of the magazines seem to be still stuck on past assumptions, others take one step forward to show the beauty in celebrating the uniqueness of the personas, by taking representation and inclusion as serious matters in order to narrow the gap of lack of diversity that hunted their covers all these years.
This series is made for us to reflect, go deep and see-through. We are living at a time of disruption and need to make sure that the companies are being held accountable by evolving too. Every little detail matters. Every step forward counts. Every achievement must be cheered. The covers below are wonderful examples of how people should be celebrated, showing their personality, being true to themselves, and proud to be colorful.