{Rules of PR no.19 } Being the “image,” Dying to be thin

September 2009 cover of Self Magazine ft. Kelly Clarkson on the cover. Image via The LA Times.

Unlike a lot of my previous {Rules of PR}, this one is a bit more on the serious side with the snarky comments kept to a minimum because something was brought to my attention recently which is really disgusting, disturbing and I shouldn’t be the only one who is downright livid about this.

If you hadn’t heard, Self Magazine’s September 2009 issue (on stands August 25) cover is one of Kelly Clarkson. The original American Idol and biggest selling from the series looks absolutely stunning on the cover…except it isn’t her. It’s her head and her body photoshopped like nothing else in this world.

I don’t know about you, but as a young woman living in one of the most superficial societies up-to-our-planet’- date, I’m deeply saddened and offended by this. Especially, since Self Magazine prides itself on being a resource for fitness, health and nutrition for women. So it would make sense to touch up a few blemishes here and there, get rid of the dark circles, but keep the figure in form? Well, that’s the question, isn’t it?

But I ask you, should it even be considered a question?

Self Magazine is beyond sending the wrong message here. While, I understand, Clarkson even said, that her latest album “All I Ever Wanted” was photoshopped, it was her face, not her body.

There is a distinct difference there.

Total body confidence?

…words taken directly from the cover of the magazine, I think NOT.

My concern is what type of message is a magazine that is supposed to promote healthy, happy women sending, when they feel the need to astronomically retouch someone in order to make them acceptable to grace the magazine’s cover?

While, Clarkson’s camp has gone on to say, that they are happy with the cover as Kelly looks phenomenal, I think that is beside the point. And I’m disappointed in Clarkson’s camp for not saying that it’s unacceptable.

We are talking about false advertising, false promotion and false sense of ‘self.’ In the issue, Clarkson talks about her weight issues and being happy with her body, etc.,

Below is Clarkson preforming at Good Morning America’s Summer Concert Series on August 1, 2009. Do you see the difference between her on GMA and the Self cover?

Kelly Clarkson on August 1, 2009 for GMA's Summer Concert Series.

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qoeyHKPK7Us 

Above is a video of Clarkson from GMA, as you see, the picture is as accurate as the video, in comparision to the Self magazine cover.

Is Self trying to say Clarkson isn’t good enough? Seems very hypocritical to me.

Personally, not that I ever read Self, but if I did, and I turned to a magazine as a support system and guide for future healthy living, would I really trust one that’s only means to an end is a glamorous Vogue-like cover?

Did you know Self is owned by Conde Nast? Well, if you didn’t, now you know – but I wouldn’t jump the gun, yet, because I highly doubt the shakers of Vogue or Ms. Wintour had anything to do with this.

It’s shameful and hypocritical that a women’s health magazine promotes, not only, unrealistic weight, but is promoting, in essence, for young girls, and women alike, to aim for something fake and life threatening.

Did you ever hear those stories about the models that have died from the pressure to be thin?

Sure there are a lot of stories like this out there, but one specific one I’ll never forget.

Ana Carolina Reston (RIP)

Her name was Ana Carolina Reston (RIP) and she died from only ingesting apples and tomatoes. She did this to stay on top of her “game” and have the best edge within her industry.

But does the need to be accepted have to cost you your health, your well-being and your life?

I would hope not.

I, like many other young ladies, often complain about my weight. But if it were me a year ago I wouldn’t have said a word. The difference? I graduated from my MA program, haven’t been exercising and I put on a few pounds. My jeans are tighter, my tops are snugger and I don’t like it because I’m not my normal size. It’s not because I want to be something I’m not.

If I were you, and I read Self, or I subscribed to them – I would stop. Period.

Send them a message that this is unacceptable.

It is unacceptable to perpetrate this belief that women need to starve themselves to be beautiful.

Luisel Ramos (RIP)

Ana Carolina isn’t the only case. Luisel Ramos (above), another model, died after only eating lettuce and drinking Diet Coke shortly before Ana Carolina. This was in 2006. In 2007, Luisel’s sister, who was 18 at the time, Eliana Ramos (below), died from a heart attack triggered by malnutrition.

Eliana Ramos (RIP)

This is a disease of the mind and it has to STOP.

 

Little Pink Book’s Rule of PR #19:
Don’t be a hypocrite.
It’s shameful and disgusting when you are anything but what you say you are.

 

– 

Sasha Muradali runs the ‘Little Pink Book’ . She holds a B.S. in Public Relations from the University of Florida (’07) and an M.A. in International Administration from the University of Miami(’08). She loves Twitter and all things social media, so you should find her @SashaHalima.

Copyright © 2009 SashaH. Muradali. All Rights Reserved.

Comments

  1. Wow, that is really shocking. Can't believe “Self” or any magazine would photoshop to that extreme level. Thanks for calling this to our attention! Modeling/fashion has gotten out of control with the need to be super skinny. The anorexic look that many models have to attain isn't healthy and definitely doesn't look good.

  2. It's horrible and shocking is the right word Jason.

    I can't believe more of a fuss hasn't been made about this — I mean, Kelly
    Clarkson doesn't even look like “herself” on the cover and her camp thinks
    its “okay” — that's the wrong message to be sending. Especially, to Kelly's
    younger fans with weight/self-esteem issues who are probably going to
    purchase the issue and then notice that she looks nothing like the way she
    does normally.

    The images speak for themselves…not to mention the video. It's absurd.

  3. I love this post. I read about the issue with Self the other day and I'm so glad you started some conversation about it!

    I really think it comes down to ethics. It's easy to say “wow, how ridiculous and immoral” this Self cover is. I mean, really, how do you promote healthy body image when you photoshop the shit out of an icon's body? Seems pretty basic. However, then you throw in the other issues… you've got to think about profits, circulation, consumers, competitors. “Will we lost readership if we're putting less “attractive” images of women on our covers? Will our competitors gain those readers because their covers are more visually appealing? Will we lose profits as a result? Will I lose my job for taking a stand against what real beauty is?”

    Once you throw in those factors, it gets a lot more complex. The line between ethical and unethical blurs a little and you start to wonder what's a stake for some photoshopping (or not) of a magazine cover.

    I believe that Self was wrong to photoshop to this extreme. The behavior is unethical as it only serves to benefits the magazine.

    I think that like many unethical behaviors in business, it's going to take one corporation to take that big, risky stand against it. But who will be first? And is anyone willing to do so with an economy like today's? Even with the economy, does that justify unethical behavior a little bit more.. or does it still remain as unethical as before?

  4. Sadly I've come to expect this from the glossies, even those like Self who find themselves competing with the 'high fashion' mags notwithstanding the stated different target demographic.

    There is yet another issue here which effects our sister industry – Self is still a news periodical which should have some basic journalistic standards (notwithstanding the nearly ubiquitous touching up of these pics).

    How far do we (the people, not the flacks) allow outlets to go when tinkering with the truth? Photoshopping acne and circles around the eyes is ok? Make the person thinner, no problem…change the color of an outfit, add in missiles into a war photo….run a story with only one person acting as a source….how about leaving out vital details from a news story? Or even assuming facts about a story….

  5. Veribatim says:

    Thanks for writing this, Sasha. Its so sad.

  6. heatherwhaling says:

    Sasha, this is an excellent post about a topic that too often gets hidden away. What I find most interesting (or disturbing) is that Self really missed an opportunity to educate people about what it means to have a *healthy lifestyle* not just a skinny body. Kelly openly talks about her weight, eating habits and workout routines. Why not use this as an opportunity to educate women that being healthy and gorgeous doesn't always mean being 110 pounds?!?

    I'm glad you decided to shine a light on this issue. Well done!

    Heather (@prtini)

  7. heatherwhaling says:

    Sasha, this is an excellent post about a topic that too often gets hidden away. What I find most interesting (or disturbing) is that Self really missed an opportunity to educate people about what it means to have a *healthy lifestyle* not just a skinny body. Kelly openly talks about her weight, eating habits and workout routines. Why not use this as an opportunity to educate women that being healthy and gorgeous doesn't always mean being 110 pounds?!?

    I'm glad you decided to shine a light on this issue. Well done!

    Heather (@prtini)

  8. As a favor, I'm researching treatments for aging and thinning skin. I've found a link that claims emu oil contains essential fatty acids, omega3 and omega-6, that helps repair and thicken aged skin.

  9. It saddens me to see how these so called health magazines promote such an unhealthy image as being the right one. In my line of work I come across these problems daily and my advice is that it's good to be fit, not thin. Every body has it's shape and mass dictated by genetics and trying to lose more weight than it allows you to will have serious health consequences or it can even lead to death. When thinking about starting a diet, a nutritionist's advice and consult is mandatory.
    _____________
    San Diego weight loss consultant

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  11. that kelly clarkson smile looks forced, but what do I know… 😀

  12. This is so disturbing. I am curious if the idea behind the photoshopping is that it sells more magazines…and they are selling to a target audience of women, no less, so it's not like they're trying to make her more attractive to increase their male audience.

    I recently had a daughter and am concerned with instilling in her the confidence to be herself and not worry about the type of image that is portrayed as the “ideal” in the kind of magazines to which she'll be exposed growing up. It's certainly going to be an uphill battle — My wife and I are two voices in a sea of thousands of influential materials.

    Thanks for bringing attention to this. I sincerely hope that the industry is able to self-regulate and understand that what they're doing is wrong.

  13. Sasha: Great, great post! I remember reading about the major photoshopping of Kelly Clarkson… thanks for bringing it to light for others. I look forward to your next post!

  14. This is so disturbing. I am curious if the idea behind the photoshopping is that it sells more magazines…and they are selling to a target audience of women, no less, so it's not like they're trying to make her more attractive to increase their male audience.

    I recently had a daughter and am concerned with instilling in her the confidence to be herself and not worry about the type of image that is portrayed as the “ideal” in the kind of magazines to which she'll be exposed growing up. It's certainly going to be an uphill battle — My wife and I are two voices in a sea of thousands of influential materials.

    Thanks for bringing attention to this. I sincerely hope that the industry is able to self-regulate and understand that what they're doing is wrong.

  15. Sasha: Great, great post! I remember reading about the major photoshopping of Kelly Clarkson… thanks for bringing it to light for others. I look forward to your next post!

  16. drt

  17. WRONG man