Saturday, January 16, 2021

SELF Magazine PhotoChops Kelly Clarkson; Has the Cojones to Defend Butcher Job

August 13, 2009 by  
Filed under Body Image

I’m banning SELF magazine … not because they photochopped the heck out of Kelly Clarkson and admitted it, but for the “justifications” behind it.

Click here to read editor Lucy Danziger’s post about why she chose to so drastically retouch it and why she stands behind her position, however ridiculous it is.

Be prepared to be outraged.

Sure, we all have good and bad pics … I only show the best of the best, myself, in albums or on Facebook — I think most people do.

I mean, let’s be honest, we aren’t going to make an album with the ones with our eyes closed, where our hair’s a mess, where we look terrible from that angle … that’s human nature, to want to put our best foot forward.

But listen to what she says:

“This is art, creativity and collaboration. It’s not, as in a news photograph, journalism. It is, however, meant to inspire women to want to be their best. That is the point.”

Um … OK, but then this implies cover-model Kelly isn’t her best as she is, and needs to be retouched, and not just minorly retouched. So … what!!!!

We’re not talking about seeing the best pics of her and just picking the cream of the crop for the cover; we’re talking about trimming, slimming, chopping the hell out of this woman — to the point where she’s not even HER anymore. She’s barely recognizable.

Fortunately, Kelly’s very self-aware and knows that they chop her to death, but still … it’s mind-numbing!

Oh, and she goes on to say, “A cover’s job is to sell the magazine, and we do that, every month, thanks to our readers.”

Well, she lost one reader today. (Any actually a ton, per the comments on her blog — including my own).

I, for one, won’t be renewing this subscription.

Is anyone else as outraged as me?

*Interesting side note, it was SELF magazine that I credited with leading me to realize I was, indeed, a disordered eater.



28 Responses to “SELF Magazine PhotoChops Kelly Clarkson; Has the Cojones to Defend Butcher Job”
  1. inthemainstream says:

    Do you ever think of what might happen if women as a whole decided to stop buying magazines until editors stopped changing their cover models? I know that’s one of those longing pipe dreams, but it’s interesting to imagine what that world might look like.

  2. Candice says:

    I would love if the magazine’s sales went from whatever it is now to something like 500 copies next month. We can dream, right?

  3. lissa10279 says:

    What’s most infuriating to me is not that they photochop — every magazine does — but the ridiculous justification she gives. Because *she* would (and did) chop her own hips/thighs post-marathon, what does that have to do with Kelly? Kelly who, in the article, admits her weight fluctuates and she loves herself as she is. Seriously, it’s mind-boggling.

    I joined the chorus over at the editor’s blog expressing my outrage and I’ve only seen maybe three comments out of several hundred that defend the editor.

    And American women aren’t dumb; we know magazines need “pretty” covers to sell, from a marketing perspective that’s annoying but reality.

    But when your cover model is telling you how she loves herself as she is — and then you go and totally manipulate her and there’s backlash … well, then there’s a price to pay — declining sales would be proof.

    I sincerely hope this does prove to be a social media success story — where enough people boycott the magazine that they have to issue a response.

  4. I agree. The actual act was not nearly as bad as her explanation. All she had to do was admit that it went too far and I think it would have blown offer. Her justification was more worrying than the cover.

  5. bix says:

    This isn’t anything new, and it is more common than not…womens’ magazines in general exist to do nothing more than sell you something you either do not need, or cannot achieve. stop buying them!! if you really must read them, go to the newsstand or library and do so…please please please stop putting cash in the publishers’ pockets though. the excuse “its just a cover” is no excuse. it is created to affect us negatively & subconsciously, and it DOES affect us negatively & subconsciously!

    killing us softly 3:

  6. Just_Kelly says:

    I’ve been trying to construct a post about the whole SELF debacle but am having trouble articulating my anger.

    The photoshopping itself doesn’t piss me off. Annoy me? Yes. But I think most people know it’s par the course for mainstream magazines.

    What pisses me off? The editors sloppy and ill-conceived defense of it. Your a professional editor and you can’t come up with a coherent argument? Or ave the sense to just answer “photoshopping is customary among major publications. All cover girls are photoshopped.”

    It’s just… argh. Yes, I am outraged. And sad. I love(d?) SELF magazine.

  7. Rebeca says:

    This is disgusting… My subscription just ran out and I was going to renew, but not anymore. I just don’t understand why a magazine claiming to try to empower women to love their bodies and do better for themselves would then go do something so blatantly against that (not that “Lose 10 lbs this month” really fits either).

    And her comments on her post marathon photo- I want to run a marathon in fact it is my goal to do so before I turn 25 (which is creeping up faster and faster) and I want to take a million pictures and do NOTHING to them- not try to edit out the sweat drenched clothes, the painful expression on my face, nada… why because that will be one of the proudest moments of my life, when I am most proud of myself for sticking with months of training, proud of my body for making it not only through the 26.2 but the hundreds of miles before that…

    Everyone has their bad pictures, the ones where we’re making a weird face or you can see the extra skin (or flab in my case haha) around the middle but you know what those are the BEST ones… they’re the ones that show our true selves, when we look back at 80 they’re the ones that will make us laugh as we remember how silly we were for thinking that extra roll at dinner was going to ruin our health, or that silly face would deter a future significant other… I want those pictures because I know I will treasure them- that one day my great grandchild will be going thru a box (or my old hard drive) and come across them and see who I was and get a sense of my personality even if I’m long gone…

    Embrace who you are, what you are, what you look like TODAY because guess what tomorrow, you’ll be one day older, maybe a couple of ounces lighter or heavier, maybe a little happier or sadder but you’ll never have TODAY again!

  8. misslori says:

    I think what is most disturbing to me is my perception of Lucy’s inner turmoil. I feel that she has a lot of double talk in her explanation that it doesn’t seem that she is even aware of. If SELF magazine is about celebrating one’s SELF-If Lucy and SELF magazine applaud Kelly for her sense of inner beauty and confidence regardless of her body type-If Lucy herself now believes that she can be comfortable sharing snapshots of herself with the World, as well as video blogging of herself in raw form-then why do her COVERS, which are of course meant to sell a magazine, not confident enough in selling the message of said magazine, “be happy with one’s self in all shapes and sizes, and realize that flaws are only in the eye of the beholder.” Lucy’s reasoning says to me that she doesn’t feel that I as the consumer will buy a magazine with mySELF on it. That I will only buy fantasy because I am not secure enough in my love for mySELF. If that is the case then her magazine, which is supposed to help me appreciate mySELF, is not really doing it’s job well.

    SMILE On!


  9. lissa10279 says:

    That’s exactly it, ladies — it’s her rationale that kills me. We all know magazines photoChop–that’s to be expected. But her reasoning just blew me away. She was on the Today show but I missed it – -had to run to work. Curious as to how she defended the trainwreck!

  10. FatNSassy says:

    I teach college and I am noticing a real backlash against unrealistic standards among the young people of today! Hopefully this kind of thing will backfire!

  11. reedwar says:

    What really destroys me is the thought that if Kelly Clarkson has to be photoshoped to be beautiful than what chance do I have. Now that is something to be pissed off at.

  12. Scary Mommy says:

    That explanation from Self is one of the stupidest things I have read in a long, long while. I’m kind of speechless.

  13. Kimberly says:

    It is rare that someone of Kelly’s stature can openly state that they are okay with how they are if they aren’t an example of Hollyweirds’ standard of beauty.

    It is truly disgusting what SELF did. If Kelly could sue them she should just on principle alone.

  14. Nikki says:

    Has Kelly said anything about the cover photo? She’s normally so outspoken, I know she’s busy, but I want to know HER opinion about this…

  15. twistedSISTER says:

    Nikki, I found an article from Kelly about this photo and she isn’t happy, she feels that she promotes healthy body image and then she looks like a hypocrite when they went and photoshopped it! I have put the whole articles on my bloh


    • Nikki says:

      Thanks! She should be outraged, she’s cute as a button no matter what she weighs and, more importantly, my FAVORITE SINGER EVER!!

  16. Ellie says:

    I quit buying magazines like that a few years back. I’m glad the issue is being talked about, and I really hope Self suffers readership decline. The magazine industry isn’t doing too great at the moment – it would be nice to think that the editors might sit up and take notice of what women want to read about and look at but one can dream, eh.

  17. Sebastian Sanders says:

    video blogging consumes more server bandwidth than traditional text blogging but video blogging is more exciting’~`


Check out what others are saying about this post...
  1. […] though I vowed to never again read SELF magazine after the Kelly Clarkson cover debacle, my subscription hasn’t run out and I can’t have […]

  2. […] though I vowed to never again read SELF magazine after the Kelly Clarkson cover debacle, my subscription hasn’t run out and I can’t have […]

  3. […] What do you think? This is the January 2010 cover of SELF magazine (which I’ve already bashed re: the Kelly Clarkson cover debacle). […]

  4. […] What do you think? This is the January 2010 cover of SELF magazine (which I’ve already bashed re: the Sept. 2009 Kelly Clarkson cover debacle). […]

  5. […] I loathe the magazine editor’s ‘tude (and find her lame excuses pitiful) following the Kelly Clarkson cover debacle in September, I genuinely like the content of SELF and, in fact, came across another great article yesterday […]

  6. […] We’ve applauded progressive magazines that stray from the traditional models of yore, and blasted those that PhotoChop the hell out of celebrities to sell covers. […]

  7. […] We’ve applauded progressive magazines that stray from the traditional models of yore, and blasted those that PhotoChop the hell out of celebrities to sell covers. […]

WordPress SEO
Get Adobe Flash player Plugin by wordpress themes