Francesca does not even know what to say to this terrible blog post by SELF editor Lucy Schulte Danziger , in which she responds to those who criticize the altering of the September cover photo of Kelly Clarkson:
. . . . 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.
. . . . The same is true of vacation. I keep the pix that show us all happy and glowing and laughing and playing, not the ones where we are scowling or hungry or tired. The ones that make the Christmas card are the best of the best.
. . . . we allow the postproduction process to happen, where we 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.
.. . . Did we alter her appearance? Only to make her look her personal best. . . . Whether she is up or down in pounds is irrelevant (and to set the record straight, she works out and does boot-camp-style training, so she is as fit as anyone else we have featured in SELF).
. . . . Your job: 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.
OK, yes, given that SELF removed Kelly’s arm and a lot of her hips, and, Francesca thinks, some of her neck, Francesca DOES know what to say in response:
1- Notice that Lucy implies that having hips (her own and/or Kelly’s) in a photograph is as bad as scowling, or looking hungry or tired (being fat makes you look unpleasant to be around). Also something that might “detract from the beauty of the shot” the same as a flyaway hair or awkward wrinkles in a blouse (the way a person actually looks might detract from the composition of a photograph of that person).
2- She says that taking pounds off a person is helping them look their “personal best” even though the fat is on the person. That is the person’s body. It doesn’t get any more “personal” than a person’s actual physical characteristics. Making someone look like they have a different body is the same as, say, putting them under nicer lighting or having someone else do their makeup?
3- Kelly works out a lot and is “as fit” as anyone else in SELF, Lucy says. So why isn’t she fit enough to have on the cover exactly the way she is? What, a fit woman can’t have a few more pounds than is cover-worthy? You mean to say that a person might work out boot-camp-style and still not look like a cover model? Really??? (/sarcasm)
4- In light of the above, how can Lucy say the magazine cover is meant to “inspire women to want to be their best”? Kelly is at her best and she’s still not good enough! What you are doing, dear Lucy, is inspiring women to want to be something they can never, ever be.
5- Regarding the last line, it sounds like SELF’s idea, really, is that the truest beauty is the one that will sell covers and which cannot possibly be realized in real life.
6- Regarding my photographs and what I want them to convey: Francesca wants her photographs to convey that she is beautiful and fat and happy and an actual, live, person who exists.