pop culture gossip community about contact archives subscribe advertise fine print bmc

« MamaPop Pop Culture Confessional: Mrs. Fussypants Edition | Pop Culture Main | Getting Away From It All: Vacations on the Big Screen »

SELF Magazine Hates Kelly Clarkson, And Probably You, Too

Kelly_Clarkson Kelly Clarkson is a woman whose career has skyrocketed after her success on American Idol. In fact, she's one of the few contestants that we still remember and who has actually sustained a damn fine career beyond the manufactured-popularity, reality-television American Idol model.

I'm not saying anything against that model necessarily, but I am saying that Kelly Clarkson is more interesting than most of the people that the American Idol machine spits out. She's spunky, talented, and not celebrity cookie-cutter. We love her because she's like us, only wildly successful.

So, I find it confusing that SELF magazine would put the gorgeous and successful Clarkson on the cover of their September 2009 issue while at the same time making it abundantly clear that they don't think she is good enough to be there:


It is insulting to Kelly and to those of us that love her that the magazine felt it was appropriate to whittle her beautiful frame down to a shape that it is not, but what is worse is that large headline situated at the bottom left: Total Body Confidence.

SELF not only mentions total body confidence, but equates it with meeting your dream weight, which is likely not your dream weight but a weight closer to the fictionalized body that they've got Kelly Clarkson sporting on the cover.

What SELF is telling you and everyone else that passes this issue in the grocery store is the following:

  • You can have total body confidence, if you are thin.
  • Thinness equals success.
  • Fat undermines your worth.
  • The real Kelly Clarkson's body is too fat to sell total body confidence.
  • The real Kelly Clarkson is not good enough to be on the cover of this magazine.
  • SELF hates Kelly Clarkson.
  • By extension, SELF probably hates your less successful, less dream-weighty self, too.

Aside from her craptacular outfit in the above right photo, I think Kelly's looking pretty spanky singing up there for thousands of fans who think she's awesome. It's too bad that SELF thinks so little of all of us and spends its energies trying to undermine our sense of worth, but it is particularly sad that so many people will vote with their money for the magazine to continue doing it.

« MamaPop Pop Culture Confessional: Mrs. Fussypants Edition | Pop Culture Main | Getting Away From It All: Vacations on the Big Screen »


TrackBack URL for this entry:

Listed below are links to weblogs that reference SELF Magazine Hates Kelly Clarkson, And Probably You, Too:




I saw this somewhere yesterday and read that Self defended the airbrushing by saying they made her "look her best" or something like that. WTH? I understand airbrushing a blemish but a whole arm? or the structure of her face? ugh.


i love kelly. i hate SELF. well, the magazine, not myself. i love me. Me is awesome, and doesn't talk back and cuddles after sex. ;)


All these magazines should be called: EVERYTHING ABOUT YOU IS WRONG. And the byline: There's a .001% Chance You Can Become Acceptable As A Human Being. Read Our Magazine To Find Out How!

Of course, they don't even really tell you how.

Kari Weber

I thought at first that you had the wrong cover! That doesn't look ANYTHING like her! Her face looks all funny, and you can totally tell they airbrushed WAY too much. Another reason I don't read that magazine, I don't know who they think they are reaching, but it isn't mySELF or any other SELF I know!


This is exactly why I don't read magazines any more. All the "women's magazines" are a joke. They all tell you to: a) eat this, and you'll lose weight, or b) buy this, and your home will be organized, and your kids will turn into little angels.

Save your money, stop buying magazines, don't even read them. Read a damn book.


I am going to stick my little plug in here for Bitch magazine:

This is a totally unsolicited plug, by the way. Bitch kicks ass.


SO perfectly well said.

Unattainable beauty myths are killing kids.

I would love to see magazine lies become passe - to see some cultural shift toward authenticity, a shred of "real" in all things. It seems reshaping of real people on the covers of magazines is representative of something endemic...

You would hope that our economic collapse might help forge a new phase of "real" - since grasping for the unattainable has gotten us into this mess, and we are all affected by corporate lies (the company is doing well, and you are rich).

It's exhausting to be condescended to in the checkout line, as well.


And I love Kelly Clarkson. For the record. Was just saying yesterday that she seems like the last time anything 'real' came out of that franchise.


Yeah, I saw that magazine cover at the supermarket this week and the first thing I thought was, "look, they covered up her signature JLO butt with a yellow dot!" She's beautiful and talented just the way she is and you've given me one more reason I don't buy these craptacular women's magazines!


I agree that it's wrong of them to modify a picture of someone, a real person worthy of our admiration just as she is, to meet some sort of whacked ideal.

However, I think you make a huge leap from logic to attack between points five and six above. To me your argument lost a lot of steam at that point.


I recognize that I was using particularly strong language, but I mean it. SELF did nothing to extend respect or value to her, but they did manage to disrespect and de-value her. It may not have been a consciously intentional act, but it wells up out of something, and that something isn't love.

I do believe our culture has a hate-on for women, and this sort of thing just lays it bare.


I just saw some photos of Kelly taken during her performance at Montana Fair last week, and I thought, "dang, she looks NORMAL!" She didn't look like a twig and I could tell the difference between her body and the microphone stand. I didn't see skinny meth-muscle on her arms, and maybe she enjoyed a delicious funnel cake without a side of bulimia. I'd rather see a little thigh jiggle on a woman who maybe doesn't have time to work out 6 hours a day, or who maybe just. doesn't. want. to. Like me.
But that mesh tank top has got to go. Ew.


Even though all of this is true, Kelly Clarkson still agreed to be featured in SELF magazine. So she's not 100% the victim in my mind. She had to have some inkling they would do something to the cover photo (she's been in the business for a while now)—perhaps she was just wishfully thinking they wouldn't. Either way, she's in the magazine & she could've told them no.

I know she's trying to bust the scary skinny stereo-type and I applaud her & I like the fact someone is doing that (Jessica Simpson too). I just can't rip SELF magazine for it's methodology (such is the way of the beast). Plus Clarkson was probably fully aware of the possibilites when she agreed to the deal (which really makes you wonder if she knew this could happen why say yes? Is it for this very sort of thing right here...or perhaps she didn't know at all and then fuck SELF mag anyways). Just my opinion...


I think Kelly has a perfectly normal body, but could really use a wardrobe overhaul and some lessons on what to wear to flatter your body type (see shirt above as bad example). Besides the picture above, I have seen many a picture of Kelly lately at an event or in concert where I looked at her outfit and said to myself, "what was she thinking?". Maybe an episode featuring Kelly on What Not to Wear would help. Screw Self magazine.


What I find interesting here is that this sort of thing might be considered okay simply because Kelly might have consented knowingly or that this is "the nature of the beast".

This sort of public treatment of women is not made less loathesome because one person said yes, or because that is the nature of that business.


Oh. MA. GAH. Amen, sister. And amen HALLELUJAH on bitch, to which I now subscribe thanks to you (always bought it at the newsstand before). Would have been so refreshing to see Kelly Clarkson--who actually IS confident in her weight, and unapologetic about it, and healthy--looking like herself. Sheeeesh. I mean, not like I didn't already KNOW SELF Magazine sucks (and must have NO subscribers because they started sending me a subscription in 2003 as a free bonus to something I bought and have not stopped ending it to me EVEN THOUGH I HAVE NEVER NOT ONCE PAID FOR IT, nor have i EVER given them a forwarding address when moving three times since then). I know they need a circulation count for advertisers, but really, dude. I shoudl not be that important to you for you to be stalking me like this. SELF has become the herpes of my mailbox.


I think that some people don't understand hyperbole.


In what way has Jessica Simpson done that? Have you seen her latest photos? She sure looks uber-thin (even airbrushed) on the cover of Glamour.


But at least that's what she does these days is look pretty for things, act, model, sometimes sing. Kelly is a SINGER. That's it. Perfect body not required.


I have to say even I like one Kelly Clarkson song, probably because she won for SINGING and nothing else, and she can still sing. And I agree she has dressed (and been dressed) badly but that's one thing. Criticizing a singer for their body just seems wrong to me. Anybody remember Dinah Washington? Rosemary Clooney? Ella Fitzgerald? These women had curves (some to spare) but they could SING.


I hate Self Magazine. It's awful and I am not shocked. Appalled yes, shocked no. and that may be sadder.


Read this article from NY Times, which to me, basically said, if you aren't a size 2 and can only afford to shop at JCPenney's then you are nothing. event:http://bit.ly/46yvzR

Very crappy and condescending. Kelly Clarkson is beautiful and talented and doesn't need to be a size 2 and air-brushed for it to show. Boo NYTimes and boo self.


Fit comes in different sizes, weights and colors. I haven't read the article, but I am painfully aware of the fact that if you don't fit the traditional mold, chances are you will never see a reflection of yourself in a magazine. I'll be the first to tout the need for people to make better choices, but at some point I wish the media would acknowledge that success and goal weight and confidence aren't as simple as Small, Little and Petite.


My favourite thing about Kelly Clarkson is that when the media gets all fixated on her weight, she basically says, this is my body, I'm happy with it, so screw off. It's clearly not losing her any fans - probably gaining her some. I know it makes me like her more.


Wheeeelll on the matter of Jessica Simpson: http://www.blogher.com/new-vh1-series-price-beauty-features-jessica-simpson-still-looking-unreasonably-attractive



That NYT article upsets me way way more than the Self piece. Mostly because everyone knows Self is in line with all the other misogynistic "woman"magazines out there that really make all of their millions building up and capitalizing on female insecurities and self hatred. Not that it makes their actions okay, but it is par for the course. The NYT times piece is horrible the woman that wrote it epitomizes the straight up judgement and hatred that many overweight/not a size fucking 2 women face. I've loved the Times for years and have spent many a Sunday curled up with the paper and a cup of coffee. NYT is now dead to me, I'll go somewhere that doesn't publish pieces that are so insulting and derogatory. I don't know what is worse culturally or for women, the subliminal damage that Self does, or the blatant endorsed cruelty that NYT published?

My least favorite quotes from that piece:

"AND herein lies the genius of J. C. Penney: It has made a point of providing clothing for people of all sizes (a strategy, company officials have said, to snatch business from nearby Macy’s). To this end, it has the most obese mannequins I have ever seen. They probably need special insulin-based epoxy injections just to make their limbs stay on. It’s like a headless wax museum devoted entirely to the cast of “Roseanne.""

”DENNY’S No matter how many Grand Slam breakfasts you’ve knocked out of the park, Penney’s has a size for you."


You are SO right about grasping for the unattainable causing much of the economic collapse. Such a good way of putting it!


Holy shit.

Shame on Self magazine.


The only way that SELF magazine and those of its ilk will stop publishing tripe and being hateful towards women- is if we stop buying it.

Stop buying the ideas, stop buying the magazine.


Dear Schmutzie,

I love you.

The end.

mouthy_broad (michele)

i got so mad at SELF for so many things that i refuse to read it any more. they claim to be pro-women, but really they are not.


They made her look HER BEST? Uhhhh...if they airbrushed her to the point that nothing on her resembles its original part...how is that HER best? Don't they mean they made her look the way they demand, in order to be on their cover??


I'm just saying. If she's going to put herself in that magazine she's going to be treated that way, not that it's right. Nothing in Hollywood is "right," ESPECIALLY in regards to women.

It is what it is. I don't see the point in bending out of shape over SELF—this whole thing is bigger than what one editor decided to photoshop for their magazine. I'm sick of continually perpetualized vapid/vain stereotype du jour, thanks Hollywood.

If Kelly Clarkson really wanted to make a difference on that front, she wouldn't have subjected herself to SELF magazine's antics in order to "defend" her position. It's only reaffirming the stereotype.


@Schmutzie, BaltimoreGal, & Sweetney:

I'm just saying. If she's going to put herself in that magazine she's going to be treated that way, not that it's right. Nothing in Hollywood is "right," ESPECIALLY in regards to the treatment of women.

It is what it is. This whole thing is bigger than what one editor decided to photoshop for their magazine. If Kelly Clarkson really wanted to make a difference on that front, she wouldn't have subjected herself to SELF magazine's antics in order to "defend" her position (which needs no defending). It's only reaffirming the stereotype (sadly this is also part of the business she signed up for, even extremely famous singers are expected to be uber sexy and seductive now).

Let's talk Jessica Simpson. I haven't seen her recent photos or heard anything about that new TV show. I did appreciate her owning up to her natural size—which was gorgeous—and stop trying to kill herself into a size 00. The whole body image thing is out of control and it's not just SELF magazine's fault.


Thank you! She totally pisses me off.

Idol Watcher

I guess I'm going to be in the minority here, but I personally think Kelly Clarkson has let herself go. It's one thing to be big and curvy. Kelly is not curvy; she's lumpy. SELF has a right to edit her image as it sees fit.

And no, this is not a slam on plus-size women or regular plump or voluptuous women. I just think Kelly's not looking her best. There are big women who wear their thickness in really attractive and sexy ways. Kelly is not one of them.


Bitch got what came to her!

Oh dear!...

Well.... Someone had to say it... Her weight is a problem and she's a real wannabe when it comes to pop/rock. She's annoying but she looks like that in the pick because I heard she's
a lesbian. Her voice is too shouty for my taste and she's been out of the spotlight for awhile now with exception of a one-week-wonder my life would suck earlier this year. She's really fake when she talks in interviews and on idol. The kind where like you wanna vomit after age answers her little politically correct answers. Gahhh!!

The comments to this entry are closed.

Read the Comments Policy »

« MamaPop Pop Culture Confessional: Mrs. Fussypants Edition | Main | Getting Away From It All: Vacations on the Big Screen »

Blog Widget by LinkWithin