Kelly Clarkson’s Self cover photo retouched, and Self’s editors try to justify their hypocrisy

Kelly Clarkson has been criticized and mocked for her not exactly out-of-control weight, so it’s great that she’s appearing on the September cover of Self magazine that includes the line “total body confidence” and headlines her story, “Kelly Clarkson: Stay True to You and Everyone Else Will Love You, Too!” In her profile, Kelly even talks about not having a problem with her weight. Except there’s one problem: the magazine edited her photo to make her look less fat.

In the article, Kelly says, “My happy weight changes. Sometimes I eat more; sometimes I play more. I’ll be different sizes all the time. 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.”

But those who published her photo weren’t comfortable with her appearance, as editor-in-chief Lucy Danziger admitted to Entertainment Tonight that the photo was edited: “Yes, of course we do post-production corrections on our images,” she said. Magazines editing photos is, of course, nowhere near a surprise; Jezebel’s 2007 before and after shots of Redbook’s editing of Faith Hill illustrates what happens flawlessly.

Self editor Lucy Danziger now offers her totally fucked-up rationale and nonsensical explanation on her blog, which includes a video of the photo shoot that shows how different Kelly actually looks from the photo. Lucy writes:

“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.”

… “Did we alter her appearance? Only to make her look her personal best. Did we publish an act of fiction? No. Not unless you think all photos are that. But in the sense that Kelly is the picture of confidence, and she truly is, then I think this photo is the truest we have ever put out there on the newsstand. … Kelly says she doesn’t care what people think of her weight. So we say: That is the role model for the rest of us.”

… “My husband has given me an appreciation for the beauty of a snapshot. But that isn’t a cover. A cover’s job is to sell the magazine, and we do that, every month, thanks to our readers. So thank you.

Think about your photographs and what you want them to convey. And go ahead and be confident in every shot, in every moment. Because the truest beauty is the kind that comes from within.”

She must seriously think her readers are complete idiots, because that is insane. Can you really be fine with the way you look but not want to be seen that way in a magazine? It’s one thing to erase a zit, but another to “shave off a little.” And an entirely different thing to insist your readers be “confident” about the way they look in photographs but suggest they’re too stupid and shallow to recognize that true beauty in others.

Kelly Clarkson: Cover Controversy? [Entertainment Tonight]
Pictures that please us and The wonders of PhotoShop [Self]

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