Society and Physical Appearance

Two magazine editions have recently taken the spotlight for media interest because of who they feature on their covers. As Karen Grigsby Bates writes in her article Who Runs the World? ‘Time’ Magazine Says BeyoncePeople Magazine featured Lupita Nyong’o for their “50 Most Beautiful” list and Time Magazine chose Beyonce as the cover for their “100 Most Influential” issue. Such controversy has arisen over the latter due simple to Beyonce’s outfit from the issue: a simple white two-piece bathing suit.

A lot of questions were raised concerning Beyonce’s appearance and her outfit, mainly because of the objectivity of her body that it suggested (Bates). From an anthropological point of view, it is interesting to see how gender and masculinity have made their way even to this. While the magazine cover intended to attract a lot of readers in order to celebrate Beyonce’s influential nature, it instead draws a lot of attention on her as a physical body. Instead of focusing on why Beyonce is on the cover of Time, most people immediately choose to voice thier opinions on her photograph. As anthropologists, we can ask: what does this say about the importance we place on looks and personal appearnace versus internal qualities?