Model and actress Cara Delevingne had her first Vogue cover this month, and the interview that went with it has been getting a LOT of backlash rage thrown its way. Delevingne is kind of a fascinating child— she’s 22, very very wealthy, and seems to have no verbal filter. The full interview is basically her entire life story told as intimately as teenage diary entries, but it really focuses on two issues: Her troubled mother and her own sexuality. And boy does Vogue botch the handling of that latter topic. Here’s the most problematic bit, broken up by the points at which we much tell Vogue to f*ck off.
First “f*ck you” to Vogue:
Those who have been gathering the crumbs on Cara’s romantic trail may be confused about whether it’s men or women who excite her. She conveys a Millennial’s ennui at the expectation that she ought to settle upon a sexual orientation, and her interests—video games, yes; manicures, no—might register as gender-defiant in the realm of dresses and heels. (“I’m a bro-ey chick,” says Cara.)First of all, are there people who really care this much about this woman’s dating life? There probably are, I suppose. But I have trouble believing that those people really can’t wrap their heads around the idea that this isn’t an either/or situation. It’s not “confusing” to imagine a woman can be attracted to both men AND women. And how stupid does Vogue think its readership is to project upon them the confusion of “She like video games and hates manicures— she must be 100 % gay!”
Delevingne goes on to say that she’s uncharacteristically happy right now, and happy with who she is as a person, and she attributes that to her relationship with Annie Clark (aka St. Vincent). She stresses how unusual this is for her.
Second f*ck you:
Cara says she felt confused by her sexuality as a child, and the possibility of being gay frightened her. “It took me a long time to accept the idea, until I first fell in love with a girl at 20 and recognized that I had to accept it… Her parents seem to think girls are just a phase for Cara, and they may be correct. “Women are what completely inspire me, and they have also been my downfall. I have only been hurt by women, my mother first of all.”This interview sparked a Care2 petition, demanding that Anna Wintour publicly apologize for its content. Of course, there’s no way in hell that’s ever going to happen. When reached for comment, Wintour (I imagine) simply said,
Apology or no, not only is the idea that bisexuality is a phase completely offensive (and sure, maybe for some it is, but who the hell is this journalist to comment on Delevingne’s preferences), but it perpetuates even more damaging stereotypes.
The idea that queer women only form relationships with other women as a result of childhood trauma is a harmful (and false) stereotype that lesbian and bisexual women have been combating for decades. How could Vogue’s editorial staff greenlight this article and publish it without anyone raising concerns about this dismissive and demeaning language?Because every woman who’s ever been hurt by her father goes through a “straight phase,” right?
Third f*ck you:
“The thing is,” she continues, “if I ever found a guy I could fall in love with, I’d want to marry him and have his children. And that scares me to death because I think I’m a whole bunch of crazy, and I always worry that a guy will walk away once he really, truly knows me.” When I suggest to Cara that to trust a man, she might have to revise an old and stubborn idea of hers—that women are perennially troubled and therefore only women will accept her—her smile says she concedes the point.I honestly don’t understand what he’s going for with this one. That men are less troubled or damaged what the f*ck ever than women, and therefore can love and accept a person’s flaws more easily?
Michelle Rodriguez, who dated Delevigne a while back, had the best reaction during her own interview this week.
Did she come out in the article? Oh that’s so sexy, you go girl! Work it out. I think that’s hot I think everybody should be open about everything in their lives, but at the end of the day the world isn’t that black and white. You’ve got some people who, if they really did say what they do for a living, they’d lose their job. And that’s the real world. The real world is that with the truth comes judgment. And with judgment comes opinion and with opinion comes stupidity, ignorance and all these other things that can really mess up your life. What you do behind closed doors should never affect your work.