An Open letter to Vogue

An Open letter to Vogue

Dear Vogue,

I would like for you to know that I called myself ugly for the first time on my 7th birthday.

I had never muttered the word before, as far as I could remember, I had gone through a phase in my earlier years where I deemed everything “prettyful.”

The cotton candy mirage of clouds in the sky was prettyful.

The birds’ harmonic tune that slipped through my open window in the early morning was prettyful.

The lush green leaves that sprinkled my lawn like a array of confetti was prettyful.

Never had the word “ugly” slipped from my mouth, but for some reason, opening the Vogue magazine my mom had deemed a “grown-up gift” to mark my venture from childhood to my teenage years had made me commit the sin for the first time.

Your magazine, with its glossy pages and spunky headlines, made me appoint myself with this adjective. The adjective can clearly be defined on Webster as being used to characterize “unpleasant” or “repulsive” things. Vogue, can’t you see that you made me degrade myself from a human being to nothing more than a thing, one that was horrifying and grotesque, one that would never get to grace the front cover of your magazine because everything about me, from the color of my skin to my height, was wrong?

Vogue, what you fail to realize is that while flipping through your magazine, the one I had received from my mother as an indicator of growing up, my mind was simply regressing and maintaining the simple, close-minded mentality that your editors had when picking the models to grace not only the front page, not only the back page, but all the pages of you.

Every page of you was the same. Different graphics, different articles, but the modified version of the exact same thing over and over throughout the 250 pages of you. Because no matter what page I flipped through, I still saw the same thing. I saw a different version of the same girl, with the same skin color, the same perfectly structured face with razor-sharp cheekbones, the same body size, and the same perfectly proportioned body. I saw the same thing over and over again, and because I did not match what I saw, that it when I decided that I was ugly.

So thank you, Vogue, for making me run to the bathroom after receiving you and then trying to scrub the caramel-complexion from my skin. Thank you for making me tug at my arms and legs in an attempt to make them longer. Thank you for making me refuse a second piece of birthday cake in an attempt to have the perfect body just like all the models scattered throughout you.

You see, Vogue, I don’t particularly have a problem with you. I enjoy flipping through you once and a while to see the latest trends and take the latest quizzes in you. My problem, however, is the fact that you tried to craft a single definition for the word ‘beautiful’ without recognizing the word is instead crafted from an amalgam of contexts. My problem with you, Vogue, is that you made me, and plenty of other little girls across America, believe we weren’t pretty enough because we didn’t fit into your definition. You made us reduce ourselves to nothing more than an adjective.

I’m sorry, but I am so much more than that and I won’t allow you to taint the white pure version of reality anymore with your streaks of blood-red lies. I am beautiful, and it is my short stature, the freckles scattered throughout my caramel complexion, and my curly hair that finally made me realize it.

So, I’m sorry Vogue, but for right now, you will remain in my bathroom trash until you find a dictionary and figure out the real definition of the world ‘beautiful.’