Zoe Saldana looks beautiful on the cover of Allure Magazine, a fact that isn’t surprising when you consider the glossy’s reputation for glamorizing their subjects. What stands out as bizarre is the cover line which reads “Zoe Saldana: 115 pounds of grit and heartache.” It’s the first time we’ve seen a cover subject’s weight featured so prominently, especially in a magazine that mainly focuses on beauty, not body.

It can be argued the editors were trying to play up the “little and full of grit” reference to speak to Zoe’s lithe frame and larger-than-life personality. But they could have accomplished that by any number of adjectives describing Zoe as small and petite. Including the numerical figure draws significant attention to her weight and poses it as attractive enough to be displayed on the cover.

Furthermore, her weight is the first descriptor we read after Zoe’s first and last name. Weighing in at a mere 115 pounds, it’s Zoe’s lithe frame that’s put on a pedestal and seen as something to aspire to; her success, natural beauty, confidence, attitude, sexuality and race all take a backseat.

Interestingly enough, her weight isn’t referenced in the article though the write-up does touch on Zoe’s race and sexuality. In a particularly fascinating quote, she reveals she could “end up with a woman raising my children … that’s how androgynous I am.” The focus remains on her body though as we see Zoe posing in the nude, showing off just how attractive Allure finds a 115 pound, 5’7″ frame to be.

Sure, it could just be an innocent device used to describe Zoe. But given the magazine industry’s history of glorifying thinness as the ideal body standard (even when it’s achieved by unhealthy practices), Allure‘s cover line is ill-conceived. Do you agree?

-Jennifer Grimes

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