Basketball superstar LeBron James and Brazilian supermodel Gisele Bundchen are featured on April’s cover of Vogue. In early March, the choice seemed to spark media interest mainly because James is only the third man to grace the cover of Vogue in the title’s 116-year history (following Richard Gere and George Clooney). Today, however, the choice seems to be igniting controversy and sparking debates about stereotyped media representations, particularly whether the cover’s striking resemblance to King Kong iconography actually critiques or merely strengthens racism against African American men, as well as sexism against women in general (although the latter is so rampant in fashion that the uproar is largely over the more-unusual former.)
While pundits, talk show hosts, and bloggers continue to spin this in millions of directions, consider the trio of images above: on the left, Vogue’s April cover; middle, Jessica Lang and King Kong in the 1976 remake directed by John Guillermin; right, Naomi Watts and King Kong in the 2005 remake by Peter Jackson. You decide.