Nobody Likes Vogue Portugal's New Cover

Illustration for article titled Nobody Likes Vogue Portugal's New Cover
Screenshot: Vogue/Instagram

Vogue Portugal is getting backlash for its July/August cover, which features a woman curled up in a bathtub while two old timey nurses pour water over her. The theme is “madness” and it’s...not a good look!


The image is one of four covers created for the issue, and features model Simona Kirchnerova along with her mother and grandmother. “My career highlight! she wrote on Instagram, “Made it to Vogue cover with my mum and my grandma!!! 3 generations on Vogue cover.”

Not everyone was quite so thrilled about the concept, which has been criticized for glamorizing mental illness, and for using the anachronistic term “madness.”

As clinical psychologist Dr Katerina Alexandraki told the Guardian:

“Promoting the aesthetics of mental health is very problematic. It’s never a fashion, that is so invalidating.

“Not to mention the history of women and mental illness. There are hundreds of stories of abuse where women are at their most vulnerable.”

Others said that in a time when there’s more awareness around the topic of mental health than ever before, Vogue’s decision to use an outdated depiction of a psychiatric hospital was an an unfortunate choice.

“Ultimately, misrepresentations such as this can make life even harder for people experiencing a mental health problem to speak out and seek support. Furthermore, we know that compounding negative attitudes towards mental health problems can lead to negative behaviors and discrimination,” Jo Loughran, director of Time to Change, told the Independent.


“While it’s great to see that Vogue Portugal is trying to raise awareness of mental health in this issue, doing so behind this cover is not acceptable.”


Koala de Vil RN

So I’ve not long ago been discharged from a psychiatric hospital after 8 weeks. People who have never seen inside one, except in horror movies and faux documentaries, really don’t know what to expect. I’ve been in public and private psych hospitals, and while public was awful for me because there was a higher patient:nurse ratio and the patients were more likely to be involuntary and psychotic, the private one was just like a nice hotel where you also had to work on yourself. Like, eat great food, have 3 desserts a day (which was great mentally, not so great physically), attend helpful groups, see your psychiatrist daily, have counselling by your nurses every shift, go on supervised walks etc etc. I didn’t want to be there, I have a partner and kids and they couldn’t visit because of COVID19, but it wasn’t the worst thing in the world. But it didn’t have a weird bath in a cold room with three old-timey nurses pouring water on me. I have also worked as an RN in psych and also never done that/worn a pinafore and a hat. I mean, generally psych nurses don’t even wear a uniform in my country. I’m not keen on being called ‘mad’ either. Unless you’re referring to my ‘mad nursing skillz’.