No, ASAP Rocky And Jonathan Majors Are Not Being Emasculated

Whitney Alese
Published in
3 min readFeb 20

“Emasculate” is one of those words I wish more folks simply hadn’t learned.

Case in point, it’s overuse in recent conversations surrounding magazine covers; specifically the covers of British Vogue, featuring Rihanna, ASAP Rocky, and their son, and Ebony Magazine, featuring Jonathan Majors. Folks across the internet are weighing in on these magazine covers, and the conversation has devolved into not only antiquated “gender roles” but dangerous rhetoric.

Starting with British Vogue:

Noticeably, Rihanna is walking ahead of ASAP Rocky and their son with the focus on her. The article is, after all, about her. The focus should be on her because that is who the story is literally about.

Yet folks are saying Rocky is somehow “emasculated” because he is not only walking behind Rihanna (gasp) but also holding a baby. His baby. His son. Leaning in to get a kiss from the smiling baby at that, and looks at peace with it all.

“How dare he?!”

Certain folks have even resorted to geometric breakdowns of the cover to attempt to prove their points.

Then there are the Ebony Covers of Jonathan Majors, a handsome man with strong features and body on display.

One cover of Ebony features Majors sitting atop a vintage sofa, wearing a red beanie, a pink coat open to show his bare chest, jeans, and boots.

“How dare he wear pink and cross his legs? The emasculation!”

What a Google search would have shown critics is that Majors’ Ebony cover was paying homage to an anime character, a villain from the show One Piece called DonQuihote Doflamingo. In his two upcoming films, Creed 3 and Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania, Majors…

Whitney Alese
Writer for

Whitney Alese is a writer & podcaster, featured in WIRED Magazine (Sept 2020) & I-D Magazine (Dec. 2021), and NBC (Jan 2023). She is based in Philadelphia.