Denmark: Black doesn't sell

Dark-skinned models do not often grace the covers of fashion magazines in Denmark. In fact, according to a questionnaire by MetroXpress newspaper, they don't appear on front covers at all.

Weeklies and monthlies such as Alt for Damerne, Woman, Q, Bazar, Sirene and Eurowoman have not had any women of colour on their covers in the past year.

According to Karen Klitgaard Povlsen, media expert at Århus University, Danish society is still very much a 'white society' and not many Danes are interested in other concepts of beauty other than their own, which is 'white and slim'.

'Danish media do not invite others in, and that's why ethnic minorities find other places to mirror themselves,' she said. 'It's a democratic problem.'

Sirene fashion magazine, targeted at women below 30, had a dark-skinned model on their cover once, but said sales were affected so much that the attempt was never repeated.

Fear of slumping sales and aiming for specific target groups were reasons most editors gave when questioned why only ethnic Danish cover models are used.

Camilla Kjems, editor-in-chief of Q and Bazar magazines, has never assigned a cover girl of colour and said: 'The industry is very narrow-minded and I've never come across models of ethnic minorities. It's thought-provoking.'

She said she would like to put a dark-skinned woman on one of her covers, but feared that magazine sales would fall.

Hanne Højberg, editor-in-chief of Alt for Damerne, concurred and said that it was important the cover models reflected their readers. The target group for her magazine are well-educated Danish women between 20 and 40 years old.

She added that the magazine has had interviews with women from ethnic minorities, but the cover needed to have a broader appeal.

Source: Copenhagen Post (English)

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