Vogue on Thursday released the cover image for its August issue. It features model Gigi Hadid and singer Zayn Malik, who, of course, are dating IRL.
The cover story discusses how Malik and Hadid are "part of a new generation embracing gender fluidity." In one passage, the author says the couple have a "blasé attitude toward gender codes" because they share clothes.
This new blasé attitude toward gender codes marks a radical break. Consider the scene one recent morning out in Montauk, New York, where the photos accompanying this story were shot: Gigi Hadid and Zayn Malik snuggle in interchangeable tracksuits as, nearby, Hadid’s younger brother, Anwar, rocks back and forth on a tire swing, his sheer lace top exposing scattered tattoos. For these millennials, at least, descriptives like boy or girl rank pretty low on the list of important qualities—and the way they dress reflects that.
“I shop in your closet all the time, don’t I?” Hadid, 22, flicks a lock of dyed-green hair out of her boyfriend’s eyes as she poses the question.
“Yeah, but same,” replies Malik, 24. “What was that T-shirt I borrowed the other day?”
“The Anna Sui?” asks Hadid.
“Yeah,” Malik says. “I like that shirt. And if it’s tight on me, so what? It doesn’t matter if it was made for a girl.”
Hadid nods vigorously. “Totally. It’s not about gender. It’s about, like, shapes. And what feels good on you that day. And anyway, it’s fun to experiment. . . .”
While many fans of the pair totally fangirled over the cover and images, a lot of people were like, huh?
Hello, Vogue, just because you borrow your boyfriend's shirt doesn't mean you're gender-fluid.
Many were perplexed why a straight, cis couple were chosen to represent gender fluidity on such a large scale.
They were a little disappointed.
"Straight cis couple shares clothes, Vogue declares them gender fluid. Teen Vogue is gonna have to clean this one up for Mama Vogue," joked one person.
"Yes hello police, Gigi Hadid wore pants last week and now Vogue is calling her a gender fluid icon," joked another.
Despite the backlash, some people did praise the magazine for featuring Malik, a Muslim, on its cover.
"In this political climate US Vogue put a Muslim immigrant and a half-Palestinian on its cover. that's important," one person tweeted.
In a statement to BuzzFeed News on Friday, a spokeswoman for the magazine apologized for the story.
“The story was intended to highlight the impact the gender-fluid, non-binary communities have had on fashion and culture," she said. "We are very sorry the story did not correctly reflect that spirit – we missed the mark. We do look forward to continuing the conversation with greater sensitivity."