Teen Voices intern Courtney Shane MacNealy
Last month, Self magazine featured an interview with pop singer Kelly Clarkson, who has recently been facing tabloid criticism for her supposed weight gain. In the article, Kelly radiates confidence, saying, “When people talk about my weight, I’m like, ‘You seem to have a problem with it; I don’t. I’m fine!’ I’m never trying to lose weight–or gain it. I’m just being!” While Kelly is comfortable with her size, apparently Self‘s editors are not–the magazine cover featured a doctored image of a drastically slimmed-down Kelly.
Check out Jezebel to see the real Kelly and the edited photo.
Unfortunately, we are used to seeing heavily edited or Photoshopped images of fashion models in ads–but we expect more from a magazine like Self, which focuses on healthy living and gives women fitness and nutrition advice. We want to see a happy, natural-looking woman on the cover, not a teeny-tiny model. Editor-in-chief Lucy Danziger addresses the controversy on her blog, stating, “Did we alter her appearance? Only to make her look her personal best.” Hey, Self! Skinnier isn’t always better. Lucy also writes, “Self tells women, ‘Love yourself as you are and reach your goals.’” Yet by heavily editing Kelly’s cover photo to make her look skinnier, Self certainly doesn’t seem to love her as she is!
Lucy says that magazine covers should “inspire us to be our best.” But if magazines continue to show us altered pictures, women are going to aspire to unrealistic, unattainable ideals, and we will never be satisfied with our own bodies. It seems that Lucy herself is searching for that unrealistic image. She says, “When I ran the marathon five years ago, I was so proud of myself for completing it in under five hours and not walking a single step. But my hips looked big in some of the photos (I was heavier then), so when I wanted to put one of them on the editor’s letter in Self, I asked the art department to shave off a little. I am confident in my body, proud of what it can accomplish, but it just didn’t look the way I wanted in every picture.”
Lucy’s message is contradictory: she claims she is confident, and yet she is not confident enough to publish an unedited photo of herself.
We need to embrace our bodies’ unique shapes and all the wonderful things they allow us to do, from playing an instrument to running 26.2 miles. We applaud Kelly Clarkson for loving her body, and hope we can soon see the real Kelly on a magazine cover.