By Katrine Singhbaba
Mindy Kaling’s most recent achievement, being honored on the cover of Elle Magazine’s “Women in TV” February issue, drew quite a bit of attention since it was released last week.
Unfortunately, the attention wasn’t due to her stunning cover photo or her witty hit show The Mindy Project (which she writes, produces, and stars in); rather, Twitter followers and “fans” were outraged by Elle’s treatment of the “Indian American” and “curvy” star. I cringe to use those words in the opening of this article because they may be two of the least important things to know about Mindy, yet seem to be the only thing people are talking about.
While landing the cover of Elle Magazine should have been just another golden moment for Mindy to be proud of, the “deep concern” from “fans” and media seem to turn her lime light green by accusing Elle of singling out Mindy because of her ethnicity and other aspects of her physical appearance by using a black and white head-shot for the cover photo.
But aren’t they singling out Mindy, instead of celebrating her?
When I first heard about this, I quickly Googled an image of the magazine cover and my initial thought was, “wow she looks beautiful,” not much different from Mindy’s own initial reaction who tweeted that she “love[d]” her Elle cover.
However, after reading a few articles, including one from the Washington Post entitled, “Mindy Kaling loves her Elle cover, but should we?” I couldn’t help but wonder if people were missing the point.
Before I had finished the first paragraph Mindy had already been called “curvy” and, in another article, “brown.” The entire controversy seems to be inviting people to scrutinize and discuss Mindy’s physical appearance instead of celebrating the fact that she had landed the cover in the first place to honor her hit T.V. show.
Mindy Kaling has come quite a long way since playing Ryan’s “whipped” and balmy girlfriend on The Office, with The Mindy Project averaging over 3 million viewers per episode, over 2.7 million followers on twitter, and, now, bragging rights entitled to any “cover girl”– Shouldn’t we be talking about that?
Rather than celebrating the show, the magazine cover, or Kaling as a young, beautiful, and incredibly talented woman, those who are outraged seem to be singling Kaling out the most. Why not focus on her success and the reason for her place on the cover, or the fact that she has just been nominated for yet another award?
I won’t deny the possibility of unscrupulous intentions or manipulations behind the scenes at fashion magazines, but I think there may be a bigger issue here.
Those of you who want to throw daggers at the world en vogue for being shallow, prejudice, or unethical–have fun! Let’s not waste Mindy’s majestic moment to question the intentions of the fashion world. If Mindy Kaling loves her new Elle cover, why shouldn’t we ?