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Lucky and Vogue Magazines Send Mixed Messages with Photoshopped Covers

Vogue magazine September 2012 issueA little retouching never hurt anyone, but when magazines go so far as to blatantly send mixed messages with over-the-top Photoshopping, it should be cause for concern.

With its array of curve-removing brushes and erasers, Photoshop is often the secret behind images of models and celebrities that approach that elusive “perfect body” line. Vogue’s September cover featuring Lady Gaga flaunting a dramatic hourglass shape and a slimmed-down Christina Aguilera on Lucky’s October issue are some of these latest controversial images.

Sadly, this is nothing new. Magazines like Lucky and Vogue routinely come under fire for featuring impossibly thin models that the average size 8 woman can’t relate to, all the while preaching confidence and fashion “for any shape.”

But these mixed messages are blatant. Presumably retouched images inconsistent with cover teasers printed right by or on top of them that proclaim fearless confidence or getting to really know someone.

Pop sensation and self-proclaimed “fashion monster” Gaga has never been known for subtlety, and the September Vogue cover plays that up. In a purple Marc Jacobs gown, the singer’s body is transformed into a near-perfect hourglass shape that looks nothing like what appears in the behind-the-scenes video from the photo shoot.

It’s obvious that some retouching has been done. But to make things even more duplicitous, one of the cover teasers asks, “Think You Know Lady Gaga? Think Again.” Of course, that could be taken in one of two ways: Do we get to know “the real” woman inside? Or is it a retouched version masquerading as her?

The presentation even runs counter to some of Gaga’s “Hair” lyrics—“I just wanna be myself and I want you to love me for who I am”—which ironically accompany the behind-the-scenes video. Apparently, that sentiment was lost on Vogue—or the photographer’s team who was said to have made the image edits.

Lucky magazine's October 2012 issueA happy-to-not-be-so-thin Christina Aguilera covers Lucky’s October issue, but Huffington Post is questioning whether the magazine is as happy with the singer’s weight as she is.

Despite her telling the magazine how she’s confidently embraced her curves, the cover teasers almost make a mockery of it—that is if she has been Photoshopped.

The “Body Special” issue promises “Clothes that flatter your body no matter the size” and “The instantly slimming dress.” Perhaps that’s what Aguilera is wearing?

Readers likely have no problem with Photoshop used within reason—whatever that is—maybe to remove a wrinkle, even skin tone or smooth a stray hair. But using it to present a false reality—or, worse, inconsistent messages—doesn’t do much to inspire confidence in ourselves or their product.