The Year’s Most Controversial Magazine Covers: 2014

What did we learn from the controversial magazine covers this year? It was an complicated and tumultuous year politically, although this year that didn’t leave us with boundary-pushing, banned-in-Boston covers like Rolling Stone‘s notorious Boston bomber selfie. We had a lot of conversations about famous women on magazine covers and what it all meant. The themes that keep cropping up, repeatedly, is that controversy comes when issues of class, race, and size are in the picture. Here are some of the covers we couldn’t stop talking about this year.

vogueWhy are people so weirdly proprietary over American Vogue, the brand? Is it because Anna Wintour is the terrifying headmistress at the fashion boarding school of life, wearing Prada devilishly, rendering us all into cowering Anne Hathaways in cerulean, “the funny fat girl,” as a result? Whatever it is, when Lena Dunham was on the cover for February’s issue (in close-up, like everyone not a size two; looking great, as well), that was sullying the brand, according to some detractors, and then Jezebel made it worse (and gross) by demanding $10,000 for the “unretouched originals.” When they were put up on the site a week later, the evidence mostly revealed that, hey, Vogue pretty much let Lena be Lena.