Tag Archives: body image

Self Magazine Defends Photoshopped Picture of Kelly Clarkston


Photo:  Scope Features, PacificCoastNews.com; Self; via eonline.com

The blog-o-sphere has been a buzz about the photoshopped cover shot of Kelly Clarkston for Self magazine’s September issue.  So much buzz in fact, the magazine felt the need to defend their decision even before the issue hit news stands.

The whole to-do started when it became very apparent that former American Idol winner, Clarkston had a significant amount of weight shaved off her cover shot.  When folks started calling out the photo, editor-in-chief Lucy Danziger defended her position with the following comments in a post on her blog at Self.com:

“Yes. Of course we do retouching (though it’s technically not Photoshop, but that is semantics). We correct color and other aspects of the digital pictures we take and then publish the best version we can.”

“Portraits like the one we take each month for the cover of SELF are not supposed to be unedited or a true-to-life snapshot…”

“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.”

My interpretation: She may look confident, but we thought she looked too fat—and this is a fitness magazine after all—so we had to shave off several inches.

“Then we edit the film and choose the best pictures.  “[W]e mark up the photograph to correct any awkward wrinkles in the blouse, flyaway hair and other things that might detract from the beauty of the shot. 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.”

So Kelly, you should want to look 10-15lbs lighter and we, the reader, want that for you too. 

Danziger also willingly admits to altering her own photos issued in the magazine to look thinner in the name of looking her personal best.

“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.”

What do you think?  Much to do about nothing?  Or is this a real problem?

Tell me what you think.

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Full-Figured Fashion Week Welcomes Fat-shionistas


Velvet D’Amour  Photo Credit: Jacques Brinon / AP Photo

This weekend kicks off a Fashion Week event that was five years in the making—Full-Figured Fashion Week.  Starting today and continuing through the weekend, NYC will be hosting the self described “Fat-shionistas”, showing off the latest in full-figured fashion and discussing “The State of the Curvy Community”.

I ran across an interesting article on TheDailyBeast.com, which features a full length story about the event and discusses plus size fashion frustrations with fatshionista bloggers:

Despite the growing headway fatshionistas are making into the consciousness of clothing manufacturers and designers, well-designed and high-quality choices for plus-sizes are still miniscule. “I’ll say there are more options now than there used to be, but that’s sort of like saying ‘he doesn’t hit me nearly as often as he used to.’” says Gammill [of Manolo for the Big Girl]. “I’m fat, I have money. I’m more than willing to give it in quantity to the store who will supply me with beautifully made clothes that don’t make me look like a hooker, a tranny, or someone’s bingo-playing grandma from Duluth. I would love to see Kate Mulleavy of Rodarte, a big girl herself, do a ready-to-wear line that extends to the plus-sizes.” (Rodarte just won the CFDA Womenswear Designers of the year award, with clothing lines for svelte women.)

Those of us who have been on the “wrong” side of fashion are well aware of the shortcomings and poor availability of style conscious clothes in the plus size category.  Wouldn’t it be nice if plus size clothing weren’t sequestered to it’s own shameful department—usually located in the far reaches of the department store—and instead mixed in with “regular” sized clothing?

I believe the biggest issue comes down to fit.  Designers, need to start making clothes that actually fit women and flatter our bodies, not their designer’s distorted views of beauty.

To read more about Full-Figured Fashion Week, go to fffweek.com.

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Fashion Sensei Says…



Choo’s 4 All!



Great news for shoe lovers!  H&M is collaborating with Jimmy Choo to design an exclusive collection for the discount retailer.  The luxe shoes which normally sell for $500 or more, will be up for grabs (and I’m sure there will be a few catfights to get your hands on these babies) for only $60-$200. 

What’s more, included in the Jimmy Choo collection are men’s shoes, accessories, bags and even clothes.  So mark your calendars for November 14th and get your running shoes ready.  The mad dash for Jimmy Choo will be a great warm up for the after Thanksgiving sales the following week. [People.com]


“The Letter” Rages On, Spawning “Cosmosexuals”…

Earlier this week, I wrote about the now infamous letter penned by Vogue UK editor Alexandra Shulman and her criticism to the fashion industry for supplying the fashion tome with clothing so tiny that the magazine is forced into using tiny models and later photo shopping their pictures to look heavier.

This has caused quite a buzz on the internet. 

Now, columnist Kevin Meyers of Independent Ireland, is coining a new phrase to describe the designers who are promoting the emaciated “New Woman”, he’s calling them “Cosmosexuals”.

Almost no designers of women’s clothes are women. Most are male Cosmosexuals — who are either homosexuals, such as Yves St Laurent, Christian Dior or Gianni Versace, or more ambiguous denizens of the Cosmosphere, such as Gaultier, Lagerfeld and Valentino. Hardly any designers for women are simply straightforward heterosexual men. Tommy Hilfiger and Paul Costelloe clearly love women as they are. Which is why their clothes celebrate women’s carnality, their sexuality and the sheer exuberant bodiness of the female form.

This cannot be said of gay designerdom: Versace, St Laurent, Dior, or of their Cosmosexual peers. Together, they have redesigned the female body to suit their own demented needs. This ambition is very 20th century, and echoes the earlier schemes of Marxists and National Socialists, to create The New Man. Except, the Cosmosexual project is to create The New Woman — and what do you know: she looks just like a teenage boy (emphasis mine). [Independent.ie]

Meyers believes that when we look back to this time in history,  Shulman’s letter will be regarded as “that point where history turned”.  I certainly hope so. 

A Fit Revolution

With the revolution brewing in the fashion industry, I believe we will have another woman to thank; her name is Cricket Lee.  She has taken on the industry to standardize fit through her Fitlogic technology. 

Imagine being able to walk into a store and buying a pair of pants that fit your exact body shape and size without having to try on dozens of styles.  Click here for a post I wrote about her crusade on our behalf.   This is a cause that we can all rally behind!

What do you have to say?  Leave me a comment!!

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Vogue UK Says Enough is Enough, Start Designing Clothes for REAL Women

In an article published on Independent.co.uk yesterday, it was reported that Vogue UK editor Alexandra Shulman is boldly taking a stand for British women.  Shulman reportedly sent a letter to some of fashion’s most prominent design houses including: Prada, Chanel, Stella McCartney and John Galliano to admonish them for sending samples that are so small that fashion magazines are forced to hire impossibly thin models to fit them.  In turn, she urged designers to “recast the beauty ideal” by designing clothes that fit real women.

Haven’t women been asking for this for ages?  We want clothing that fits our bodies instead of forcing our bodies to fit an impossible ideal.  anorexic2pl

Who are the designers creating clothes for? Men? Because the models that they commonly dress for their shows have very flat chests and incredibly skinny limbs.  You can dress a skeleton up in pretty clothes and makeup, but it doesn’t make them beautiful.

Please, designers I implore you stop hating women’s bodies.  Instead, embrace our curves, our heath and in so doing, respect our gender.

One can only hope that American fashion magazine editors follow suit; demanding that designers supply them with samples that will fit healthy women.  In the meantime, we as women need to band together to PROVE to designers that this is what we really want.

Can I get an Amen?

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Happy New Year: A New Year, A New You

Doesn’t that seem to be the mantra that every magazine, morning news show and everything in between seem to say at the beginning of every January?

It feels as though January has become Body Awareness Month.   “Happy Body Awareness Month everyone!”  As if the other eleven months don’t offer enough reminders to eat less, look younger and to lust after the figure of a pubescent girl. 

Look, I’m not angry.  It’s just an observation.  It’s the culture we live in.  But each year at the beginning of January, we are forced to reflect on how we view our bodies.  Do we need to lose weight?  Firm up or just eat healthier?

I for one, could stand to do all of the above.  After losing close to 100 lbs (I weighed about 240 on the day I delivered my eldest son) three years ago, I have been really struggling not to gain it all back.

I don’t have six days to work out anymore.  My kids require my taxi driving services far too much during the day to fit in a workout.  I could do it at 8:00pm after they go to bed, but who wants to do that?  I still work out when I can, just not six days.

So I just have to be careful about what I put in my mouth and keep my body image feelings in check.  I can’t call myself a cow if I eat a cookie or say, “well you’re going to gain all that weight back again”.

I am a firm believer in what you believe,  you become.  Notice I said what you believe.  Thinking and believing are two different things.  I keep thinking, someday I will win the lotto and never have to worry about money again.  But do I believe it in my soul? Eh- I’m a little wishy washy. Not to mention I would have to play the lotto a little more often. 🙂

It was really interesting how I was viewed after I lost all my weight.  My family was really worried that I was losing too much weight.  But when you come from an overweight family, what is “normal” can get a little skewed.

People who didn’t know me when I was fat, just assumed that I was always this size.  The funny thing is, they viewed me as the “skinny bitch” now.  Me, the girl who used to shop in what my girlfriend endearingly called “the big girls section”.

So that starts to mess with your mind a little.  You start apologizing, no, no, I’m just like you.  Look, I’m starting to gain all the weight back.  And then I did.  I’ve gained about 10lbs (maybe more- I was afraid to weigh myself today at the gym after all the terrible things I ate and drank over the holiday.) 

At what point do I just say, it’s ok.  Stay at the weight that makes me feel comfortable in my own skin?

I’m working on it.  Oprah had an interesting show yesterday talking about this very subject and her frustration with her own weight.  She says that she eats to fill a void.

I would agree with that statement.  Eating makes me feel good sometimes.  If I’m feeling anxious I might nibble on something.  If I want to celebrate, I like to go out to dinner or have a cocktail.

I’m not sure there is any good answer on body image, except to take care of the one you live in.  You wouldn’t fill your house with a bunch of trash and expect to feel comfortable would you?  How would you get around in your house if it were piled up with trash?

I think I will remind myself of this analogy when I want to eat to fill a void.  According to Oprah, I need to then ask myself what is the void that I am trying to fill?  That’s a heady question- and one that I would rather try to avoid.

All this analization of our bodies is just too much.  I’ve made a resolution this year to focus on my relationships with others instead.  I want to connect with someone everyday.  Even if it’s just an e-mail that says “Hi”.

Maybe then I will be more focused on what truly makes me happy instead of finding an artificial replacement.  At least that’s what Oprah says will happen.

So what do you think?  I really want to have a conversation about this.  What do you struggle with and how are you resolving to make it better this year?

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SJP Reacts to ‘Maxim’ Magazine’s "Unsexiest" Woman Title/ Jamie Lee Curtis Goes Topless

In October Maxim Magazine published their choice for the “Unsexiest Woman Alive”, naming Sara Jessica Parker as their number one choice.  Maxim‘s feeling was that she was “the least sexy woman in a group of very unsexy women.”



Those of you who have not read the article I’m sure are saying “What?!!”  I agree with you.  SJP beat out #5 Britney Spears; #4 Madonna; #3 Sandra Oh and #2 Amy Winehouse.  I hardly call this picture taken of SJP soon after her son was born unsexy.


Last weekend reports came out that in an interview in Grazia magazine she had this to say:

“Do I have big fake boobs, Botox and big lips? No.”

“Do I fit some ideals and standards of some men writing in a men’s magazine? Maybe not.”

“Am I really the unsexiest women in the world? Wow! It’s kind of shocking… It’s so brutal in a way, so filled with rage and anger.”

“It upset [Matthew], because it has to do with his judgement too. It’s condemnation, it’s insane. What can I do?”

“I guess you can’t please all people.”

Fashion Icons have feelings too Maxim.  What I find appealing about Sara Jessica Parker is that she isn’t always beautiful.  There are times that she just looks average to me; like a real woman.  To call her the unsexiest woman alive above Britney Spears is really perplexing to me.  To place Britney Spears whose life is out of control, and physically unfit as compared to Ms. Parker is just absurd.  Aside from physical beauty, doesn’t the fact that she actually has her life together and her wits about her play any part in the readers decision?  This was a poll you see, of Maxim readers.  What does that say about their readership?

I agree with you SJP, don’t get the plastic boobs; the frozen Botox Face or any of the other strange cosmetic procedures that actresses seem to see as necessary to have a career in Hollywood. 

You may remember my post on Thursday’s Fashion Sensei Says… where I said “Don’t buy into it” when Charla Krup extolled the virtues of Botox and “injecting poly-L-lactic acid-a substance used to fill crows’ feet and other facial lines-into the balls of our feet.” 

I remember watching the Barbara Walters Oscar Special and her interviewing Vanessa Williams and she said “I certainly do Botox”.  She went on to say that most of her Hollywood friends also imbibe. 

Look, I don’t have a problem if someone wants a nip here or a tuck there.  To each her own.  I just don’t want the message that in order to remain employed or to be considered sexy I need to have plastic surgery.


The atheists to cosmetic surgery, Jamie Lee Curtis is posing topless and is speaking out in AARP about her impending 50th birthday this year and how she feels about aging:

“I want to be older. I actually think there’s an incredible amount of self-knowledge that comes with getting older. I feel way better now than I did when I was 20. I’m stronger, I’m smarter in every way, I’m so much less crazy than I was then.”

“Getting older means paring yourself down to an essential version of yourself.”

“My style is a distillation. I’ve etched out who I am through myriad haircut attempts, outfit attempts, beauty attempts, diet attempts. It’s been an evolution. I’ve let my hair go gray. I wear only black and white. Every year I buy three or four black dresses that I just keep in rotation. I own one pair of blue jeans. I’ve given away all my jewelry, because I don’t wear it.”

“I want to be as a human being. New. Different. Challenging the old. Function over frivolity. Clean living. Clean lines. If I can challenge old ideas about aging, I will feel more and more invigorated. I want to represent this new way. I want to be a new version of the 70-year-old woman. Vital, strong, very physical, very agile. I think that the older I get, the more yoga I’m going to do.”

I will say up front, that I am too vain to let myself go gray, and I can’t imagine only wearing three different colors.  But I appreciate the simplicity that Ms. Curtis is adopting.  Mind over materialism and vanity; it’s a goal to strive for.

What’s your view on this?  Is Sara Jessica Sexy?  Are you for cosmetic surgery or Botox?  What about Jamie Lee Curtis’ views? Leave me a comment, let’s discuss.

Sources: PR Newswire; AP

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