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Crucial Update

What's Variety Trying to Say, Exactly?


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Women across all industries have long been fighting for the same compensation as their male counterparts, but lately, it's Hollywood that's been the subject of focus. In a lengthy feature published today, trade magazine Variety charts the recent rise of high-profile actresses drawing attention to the issue, complete with interviews with everyone from Kathy Griffin to Sandra Bullock, as well as behind-the-scenes power players like Paul Feig and Walt Disney Studios chairman Alan Horn. It's a timely and important piece, but there's one glaring problem: the artwork, which manages to be both totally cheesy and incredibly tone-deaf all at once.

The cover features an unfortunately literal play on the headline, "Sticking It to the Man:" A woman clutches a voodoo doll wearing a suit with one red-fingernailed hand— clearly intended to represent a Hollywood suit — and with the other, pricks him with a sewing pin.

As one Twitter user points out:

One would hope that no, Variety is not consciously equating women asking for equal pay with voodoo and therefore exploiting deep-seated stereotypes about women and witchcraft, no less in an article about women fighting prejudice. But it did. Photographers, prop stylists, art directors, and everyone else who signed off on this cover: do better.