6 Of The Most Polarising Magazine Covers Of All Time

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Kim Kardashian. Public relations genius, or simple attention seeker, estute business woman, or fame-hungry reality TV star. The debate rages on, and will continue to as long as she remains in the public eye. In some senses, she is all of these things – perhaps she craves attention, but she garners it in a slick, modern way. She is a well-oiled (pun not intended) PR machine who exploits a 21st century audiences voyeuristic desires. She may be fame-hungry, but through her TV show, her high profile marriage to Kanye West, and her public appearances at both events, and in magazines, she has constructed an empire. For some, this empire’s foundations lay in infamy; in sex tapes, nudity and objectification. For others, it’s an empire that has been built out of ruthlessly, doggedly, and tirelessly manipulating the media systems of the current age.
Regardless of what view you ascribe too, its undeniable that Kim Kardashian is the archetypal 21st Century celebrity phenomenon. Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook fuse seamlessly together to create a bestial, behemoth like figure that – whenever it moves, sleeps, eats, fucks, marries, or takes a photo – devours, demands, and consumes the attention of millions of people worldwide. For those that criticise, for those that are worried that one of our generations icons, one of its most celebrated people may have little or no talent beyond the manipulation of social media – well then perhaps this is more damning for our society and culture at large; a society that has worships the cult of the celebrity.
In wake of that Paper cover that has been terribly hard to ignore – here’s our list of polarising magazine covers that have, and will, go down in history

Rolling Stone – KanYeezus – Feb 2006

Proving his wife isn’t the only one that can rile up the masses, Yeezus donned the iconic crown of thorns in 2006 for a Rolling Stone cover that had more than a few people pissed..



Esquire – Muhammad Ali The Martyr – April 1968 (George Lois)

Esquire vocalised support for Ali’s refusal to fight in vietnam because of, among other things, his religious beliefs. The first of a few issues that backed Ali. This cover, shot by George Lois, puts Ali in St.Sebastian’s Martyr pose arrows n’all.



Vanity Fair – Demi Moore Bump – August 1991 (Annie Leibovitz)

7 months in to her pregnancy, Demi Moore’s now iconic nude pose on the cover of Vanity Fair is one of the most highly regarded covers in the history of the publication. This pose, now imitated by all manners of celebrities, sparked a certain outrcry when it dropped in ’91.



Playboy- Darine Stern – October 1971
Stern was the first African-American woman to feature on the cover of one of America’s whipsered household names; Playboy. Stern went on to became a high-profile model, .



Paper – Kim Kardashian – Winter 2014 (Jean-Paul Gaude)
Y’all ready know bout this one. Gaude also recreated the famous ‘Champagne’ Photo he took with Grace Jones a while back


Rolling Stone – Janet Jackson – September 1993 (Patrick Demarchelie)
in ’93, a 24 Year-old Janet Jackson “Came Of Age” and dropped a very sexual new album Janet. Janet complimented that album with this brazen cover – which garnered wide publicity, praise, and condemnation.


(Bonus – Yeah we’re six, but this one is text only so it don’t count as seven aiteee!) Time – God Is Dead – April 8th 1966

This marked the first time in the history of the magazines publication, that a text-only cover without a supporting image was displayed.


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