What Vogue’s interview with Cara Delevingne got wrong

The latest Vogue interview with model Cara Delevingne touches on a myriad of subjects including her upcoming projects, her mother’s struggle with substance abuse, her own partying ways and her sexuality. Delevingne is known to be an open book, and her interview with Vogue definitely validates that. Her openness was not the issue, however. The issue was writer Rob Haskell’s use of the term “phase” to describe Delevingne’s interest in both men and women.

During their open and honest conversation about her sexual history, Delevingne discussed her past relationships, as well as her current relationship with girlfriend Annie Clark. She self-identified as bisexual, which means that Haskell also should have identified her as bisexual and left it at that. Instead, he wrote one sentence that sent the wrong message. He wrote, “Her parents seem to think girls are just a phase for Cara, and they may be correct.”

Insinuating that Delevingne, or anyone who identifies as anything, is going through a phase is both dismissive and demeaning. It can also cause psychological harm and be damaging to personal relationships. The word “phase” did not bode well with many people in the LGBT community, including Julie Rodriguez, who self-identifies as bisexual. Rodriguez started a petition on Care2.org titled “Tell Vogue Magazine: Being LGBT Isn’t a ‘Phase’,” demanding an apology from Vogue editor in chief Anna Wintour for allowing the “insensitive and offensive interview” to be published.

Rodriguez wrote: “As a bisexual woman myself, I’ve experienced hurtful comments like this many times. People are quick to assume queer women’s identities are a ‘phase’ and to refuse to recognize the important relationships in their lives — an attitude which can cause depression, result in families rejecting their daughters (or forcing them into abusive conversion “therapy”), and even put young women at risk of suicide. Vogue should have taken this opportunity to combat negative stereotypes, not reinforce them. We should be applauding Cara for coming out as queer, and being open about her relationships with men and women.”

As of Friday, the same day same-sex marriage was legalized nationwide, over 15,000 people have signed the petition. At such a momentous time in history, it’s important to note this isn’t about shaming anyone for misunderstanding, but recognizing that there’s more work to be done in educating both the media and those around us about the nature of sexuality. As one commenter on the petition put it: “It’s not about gender, it’s about love.”

(Featured image via Instagram)

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