They say ‘Beauty Revolution’

The science of signs.   Semiotics 



As explained by me in a “Dummies for Communication” type of way, what you see when you see a certain image, and then its initial meaning.

Every word and image has two aspects to it, and the relationship between signs and what they stand for is arbitrary (Turnbull, 2018), meaning someone out there has created an image or sign deciding exactly what it means,



The controversial thing about this is that not one person perceives an image just as the person who created it, and this is where ideologies may arise and interpretations of images or words may depend on what one knows or believes, but furthermore, complex images allow for a range of different emotions and opinions. 




vogue ad.jpg

Vogue Magazine cover, March issue 2017. 


Vogue magazine, a worldwide fashion phenomenon, or also a classic dance move.




Looking at the cover image, we see the obvious, 7 models, modeling clothes and celebrating women.

Going deeper, the text reads, “Women rule, Beauty revolution”.


Simply Vogue expressing the values of women, beauty in all shapes, skin colour and background, unified beauty across the globe.


But the more I looked at this image, the more things stood out to me, and to some extent they may be tiny non-problematic issues, but for a fact every person is entitled to their own opinion, and for me Vogue has managed to cleverly misrepresent exactly the type of diversity and clarity the world should be exposed too.




“Some questioning whether she was specifically instructed to cover up her leg, given the other models’ legs are in clear view.”

“There was also speculation model Gigi Hadid’s arm had been extended with Photoshop to cover Graham’s stomach.”

(Guthrie, 2017)


Yes, the cover featured 7 different beautiful women, each representing their own culture, background and diverse look.


But in terms of “Beauty in all forms”, and the “No norm”, Vogue decided to feature only one plus-sized model, ‘Ashley Graham’.


I start to question the amount of diversity really thought into this cover, and to add to the speculation, as ‘The New Daily magazine’, question the pose Ashley is seen in, as the arm of model ‘Gigi Hadid”, looks oddly longer, assumed to have been photo-shopped to cover Ashley’s stomach.


But also going back on to the topic of diversity, the image doesn’t necessarily interpret as much diversity as it can, especially for a multi-national magazine company like Vogue with over a million subscribers and social relations, but yet only one plus-sized model is featured, while the rest all mirror each other in body shape. 


If Vogue states “No norm is the new norm”, why aren’t they making it clear enough with more representation of women, size 12 or size 16?


Featuring one plus-sized model amongst 5 ‘stereotypical models’ thin and tall, is that really enough? but it also just proves semiotics allows contrasting interpretations behind every image, word or text. 




Reference List

Guthrie, S 2017, ‘Plus-size model Ashley Graham defends Vogue cover’, ‘The New Daily’, 10 February, viewed 19 March, <;

Turnbull, S 2018, Representation and Interpretation, University of Wollongong.


6 Replies to “They say ‘Beauty Revolution’”

  1. Hey Julia, great interpretation of semiotics. I really enjoyed this post and how you defined the science behind signs. Your explanation of how ideologies are conceived differently is great and your analysis of Vogue’s image was really insightful and interesting. I agree how they have “misinterpreted” the type of diversity the world should be exposed to. The image of 7 models diverse in ethnicity however lacking diversity in body image is personally not enough when they state “no norm is the new norm.” This example is was really good relating to the topic, excellent work! 🙂
    – Kyle


  2. Absolutely loved your “Dummies for Communication” such a great explanation of the concept. There are so many different ways to view your image and I 100% agree with you in that “vogue has managed to cleverly misrepresent exactly the type of diversity and clarity the world should be exposed too”. It’s so interesting with semiotics that each individual will have their own subjective approach when viewing an image yet in this case I feel it is quite evident that there are controversial issues many would agree on. Especially with the many females struggling with their “body image” and even in relation to race and cultural identity. Excellent blog, I really enjoyed it 😊


  3. This is a really well-done post and you’ve covered semiotics extremely well !!

    The entire “what is beauty?” debate within the model industry is such a controversial topic especially since the whole point of diversity is having an assortment of models of different shapes, sizes, and colours.

    In this case, I believe Vogue has failed to achieve that and I completely agree with your statement of questioning whether one plus-sized model being featured was “really enough”, as it certainly contradicts their “no norm, is the new norm” claim.

    Overall, this was an excellent read and I found it so interesting to see the manipulation of well-known magazine covers to fit a companies’ definition of ‘beauty’.


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