True beauty lies within…Photoshop?

Written by Alexandra Theodorakidis

Here’s a piece of information that is neither shocking nor new: magazines Photoshop their models and celebrities, which means their heavenly-lit glow is, gasp, unnatural.

Still, it was a little surprising that a magazine like Self, which claims to promote healthy lifestyles with fitness, nutrition and beauty advice, would sink to such a low level by digitally altering a photograph of a woman who is not a perfect size zero.

Singer/songwriter Kelly Clarkson has been telling people for a long time that she is happy with the way she looks—if she doesn’t have a problem with it, why should anyone else? In fact, in the September issue of Self, Clarkson says, “When people talk about my weight, I’m like, ‘You seem to have a problem with it; I don’t. I’m fine!’ I’ve never felt uncomfortable on the red carpet or anything.”

And yet the magazine made every effort possible to conceal what Clarkson actually looks like. On the cover, Clarkson’s arms are barely visible and a yellow dot has been strategically placed to hide where her butt meets her lower back. As well, Clarkson’s white pants against a white backdrop make her legs pretty much invisible. Self’s editor-in-chief Lucy Danziger has admitted to altering the photo, saying:

“Kelly Clarkson exudes confidence, and is a great role model for women of all sizes and stages of their life. She works out and is strong and healthy, and our picture shows her confidence and beauty. She literally glows from within. That is the feeling we’d all want to have. We love this cover and we love Kelly Clarkson.”

Oh, of course! They were just trying to show a strong, confident Kelly Clarkson. The heavier Clarkson could not possibly be any of these things. No, it’s just not believable that a woman could be confident and content with her own body image if she’s anything larger than a size two. And as a magazine that is all about promoting health and beauty, that is exactly the message they are sending to women, women who probably already thought it was fine to not feel as if they have to fit into the generic Hollywood mould.

But clearly, from the messages Self is sending out, these women are mistaken. In order to be taken seriously, especially if you’re a woman, you better be skinny or be prepared to do everything you can to be skinny. If you don’t, what chance do you really have at true happiness? According to Self, the answer is zero.

You know what’s really great about the magazine cover? Other than all those headlines that read “Slim Down Your Way” and “Total Body Confidence” that are placed right next to Clarkson’s body, there is an ironic message in tiny purple writing that says: “Stay true to you and everyone else will love you, too.”

Really? They will? Will they love me though, or will it be what some magazine editor thinks I should look like? One does have to wonder though, why did Self even bother putting Clarkson on their cover? Next time Self, just save yourselves some money and find a Hollywood starlet that is supposedly real, healthy and can fit into your size zero clothing to put on the cover of your magazine because clearly, what you’re telling me is that a real girl with real confidence is never going to be deemed worthy enough, so let’s not even bother to pretend anymore.

You can read Lucy Danziger’s full blog at Self‘s website where she explains why she retouched the photo.


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