Kelly Clarkson landed on the cover of Self magazine’s September issue and she’s looking nice and trim. And that is the problem, some are saying. Kelly Clarkson’s real self is not that trim, they are contending, stating the Kelly Clarkson on the Self magazine cover has been photoshopped, airbrushed, or doctored, that the American Idol alumnus is not that trim. They point to recent pictures of Kelly Clarkson in concert and out and about, stating that she’s far more plump than that cover picture. And with that, Kelly Clarkson and her Self magazine cover entered the land of controversy.
Inside the cover, Kelly Clarkson told Self magazine: “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’.”
Some are saying that she must be uncomfortable; why else have her image photoshopped? But blaming Clarkson might not be where the finger of blame should be pointed. Those in charge of Self magazine might be those to blame, if the cover photo is indeed airbrushed or doctored in some way. Self is a magazine that promotes fitness and a healthy lifestyle. Getting a popular young star who has been known to have weight issue (according to others; not to Clarkson) to grace the cover is a demographic coup, and so what if they cheat a bit by trimming the pictures?
And Self magazine isn’t denying they photoshopped the Kelly Clarkson Self magazine cover, adding to the controversy. (They know the controversy also sells.) In fact, she says it is standard practice within the industry. Editor-in-Chief Lucy Danziger told The Insider: “Yes, of course we do post-production corrections on our images.” She then added, “Self magazine inspires and informs our 6 million readers each month to reach their all around best. 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.”
Danziger must now contend with critics who say that airbrushing and slimming down a person to appear more trim and healthy on a healthy lifestyle magazine is basically false advertising. Not to mention, some will contend, presenting an idealized image of a false Kelly Clarkson to sell a magazine that promotes being fit and trim? Beautiful, but not beautiful enough, it would seem. What kind of message does that send to women of Kelly Clarkson’s demographic that the magazine will attempt to reach with the cover? How does that show beauty and confidence and being a “role model for women of all sizes” when the magazine isn’t confident enough of Kelly Clarkson’s beauty to be that role model?
Clarkson told Self: “My weight changes. Sometimes I eat more, sometimes I play more. I’ll be different sizes all the time.”
And a confident, beautiful, real picture of Kelly Clarkson is what should really sell the magazine; right? Not the ideal Kelly. The real Kelly. What is wrong with selling confidence and beauty at any size? (Perhaps it’s because it isn’t healthy, but how healthy is promoting idealized images that make people feel terrible about themselves?) And if Kelly Clarkson is happy with the real Kelly, no matter what he weight is, why can’t everybody else be?
That would include the editors, not to mention the readers, of Self magazine…