Monday, June 25, 2012

On Diversity in Wedding Publications

1 in 5 millennial marriages, the majority wedding consumer today, are interracial. Yet wedding publications do not reflect the reality of current weddings, even with the real weddings they choose to publish.

Since 1 in 5 millennial marriages are interracial, then in a perfectly balanced world, 1 in 5 real wedding blog posts and magazine features would show someone other than a white couple. I understand that finding this perfect balance is difficult and unlikely to happen. However, as an industry, wedding publications can -- and MUST -- do better.

The average number of posts with a non-white couple being featured on wedding blogs right now is 1 in 150. Only 1 in 150 real weddings being published online has a couple that is not Caucasian. Some sites are above average and feature more diversity, but even most of the best ones have numbers that hover around 1 in 50. 20% of today's weddings are interracial, yet only 2% of real weddings published on the most diverse wedding sites are of a non-white couple. This is not diversity. This is pathetic.

The push back from editors that I, and others who have spoken up about this, commonly hear is that diverse weddings aren't being submitted. This may be true, but it is not a valid excuse. These weddings may not be getting submitted, but at that point, it is in the editors' hands.

Blog publishers and editors are called publishers and editors for a reason. They get to curate and choose what gets published -- that is their job description. Just publishing what comes in, if it's not reflective of what a publication wants their brand to be about, is the easy way out. It may still be a lot of work, but it is the easy way out.

When wedding blogs started they didn't get submissions, they had to go out and find the content. So if diverse weddings of the quality and caliber an editor wants aren't getting submitted, then it is time to once again go out and find that content. Beautiful weddings are held every weekend by non-Caucasian couples. Just because they are not coming across an editor's inbox doesn't mean they aren't happening. Only about 20% of wedding professionals are active online and there are about 40,000 weddings each weekend in the United States alone, so there is a ton of amazing work that never sees the light of the web.

Couples planning their weddings are noticing this lack as well. 12% of couples married in 2011 indicated that they would like to see more diversity in online and print wedding publications and only 2% indicated that they would like to see less diversity.

This isn't an easy issue, but it's a necessary one. The publications that figure out how to showcase beautiful weddings with couples of differing skin colors and cultural backgrounds on a consistent basis and in a more realistic ratio will be the ones who set the tone for the rest of the wedding industry. A publication pretending to be diverse when they are not is a smokescreen that everyone can see right through.


No comments: