Photoshopping and airbrushing aren't even trade secrets. Everybody knows that every cover girl is airbrushed to seamless, pore-less, wrinkle free perfection. Magazines have been doing it since magazines started. I'm ok with that.
Fashion magazines are selling a dream - a fantasy - an illusion of youth, perfection and flawless infinity. And fortunately, most of us get it. We know these men and women don't look like this in real life (although our younger kids often don't and it can lead to a false expectation of both their idols and themselves).
I'm 39. I know that when I laugh (and I laugh a lot!) I have laughter lines. If a person of 39 has no lines when they laugh, then they have restylane or botox or some sort of cosmetic procedure. I'd bet my next meal on it. Lines are normal! Line-free is not!
I've nothing against these cosmetic procedures. If a person wants them, then they should go ahead. It's a personal decision that's really no-one else's business. My only beef is having these procedures secretly and braggin' on looking so good and young after the injections! Either 'fess up to the shots if you're going to pat yourself on the back for your hot looks, or keep it quiet and accept any forthcoming compliments in the same fashion!
Pop star Kelly Clarkson is on the cover of Self Magazine this September. She has gained a lot of weight (back) in the past few months. Kelly has always been curvy, although she lost a lot of weight after her American Idol win. After receiving compliments for her new body, she admitted it was very hard for her to keep weight off and she is naturally a heavier woman. So now she's back to her usual self and the criticism is palpable. Unflattering photos, taken from bad angles, are everywhere. And Kelly has addressed it by saying that her weight often yo-yos and that she's not naturally thin. She's happy, she''s healthy - but she's no size zero and that's a serious crime in the entertainment business. Back off, she says. I am who I am.
What I like so much about Clarkson is that she doesn't need to focus on showmanship and selling sex for her shtick. Her voice is all she needs. She has the talent needed to sustain longevity in an industry where all the other talentless-but-cute birds are forced to fly away once their youth begins to fade. Clarkson will always have a job in music because she has the chops needed to do so.
Her interview in Self addresses the weight issue again. And again she says she's fine - she's happy and that "...when people talk about my weight, I'm like, 'You seem to have a problem with it; I don't. I'm fine!' "My happy weight changes — sometimes I eat more, sometimes I play more..."
Clarkson works out but during heavy touring she can't, and she gains a little weight. She doesn't care - but the media does.
So does Self Magazine.
Her cover picture shows a Clarkson that is unrecognizable from the neck down. The magazine shaves, from my estimation, between 30 and 40 pounds from her. At least 4 or 5 dress sizes. This from a magazine that prints Clarkson's insistence that she's happy with her body right alongside the photos.
Self defended altering her photo, saying they wanted Clarkson to look "her personal best". True enough - we all want to look our personal best. But if making a person's body look completely different, whose personal best are we talking about? Granted, shaving ten years of myself, and losing a few pounds might have me at my 'personal best' (oooh, and let's change my eyes to green while we're at it, and add two inches to my height and lose those laughter lines and....) but I'd end up not being me at all. I might as well create some kind of delicious avatar, call it Susan and insist it IS me - me at my personal best!
Self magazine isn't a glamor mag that offers fantasy like some kind of romance monthly. If it were, then chopping up a woman and making her into someone she isn't would be ok. Kind of like a cartoon image of a real person. We'd know she's not really real, but nor is the magazine so we can all buy into the dream if that's what we want.
But it bills itself as "the first-ever magazine of total well-being, merging beauty and health, fitness and nutrition, and happiness and personal style together in one package.
Since the magazine’s inception the achievement of well-being has become the cultural mantra of our time. SELF is a blueprint for the woman who wants to stay informed, get inspired, grow and achieve her personal goals".
And this is where the hypocrisy lies.
"Stay true to who you are, and everyone else will love you too" is the quote from Clarkson, right there on the cover, beside her image so digitally altered it might as well not even be her.
'Everyone else' except for Self Magazine, perhaps...
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