Because there’s no way a woman almost 40 years old can have wrinkles and be on the cover of a magazine

And be sure to also read this great analysis of why it matters. To wit:

Imagine a scenario in which a powerful, self-made, self-possessed woman deigns to follow the orders of a much-less powerful, egomaniacal foreigner and crash-diets herself to aesthetic “acceptability” so she can appear on the cover of an American magazine available to the public for, at most, 4 weeks. That scenario is exactly what happened when Oprah Winfrey was asked — and agreed — to appear on the cover of Vogue‘s October 1998 issue. As the story goes, Winfrey spent months whittling herself to Vogue editor-in-chief Anna Wintour’s exacting standards so that she would look acceptable in an Annie Leibovitz-photograph for the cover. “If you want to be on the cover of Vogue and Anna Wintour says you have to be down to 150lbs – that’s what you gotta do,” Winfrey told the BBC, adding, tellingly, “I didn’t think for one moment ‘Now I am going to be a Vogue model’ nor even did I think I could hold that weight.”

The Vogue cover turned out well, as many remember: Oprah looked hot. But there was something spooky beneath the Vogue image’s Leibovitz-perfect, glossy veneer; namely, the idea that even a woman who had made her fortune validating women’s strengths, hopes and dreams — and becoming one of the most powerful people on the planet in the process — would so eagerly and willingly help to perpetuate the “cover lie” of a medium that has made its mark by invalidating women’s strengths, hopes and dreams with an endless parade of stories on how to be thinner, sexier, trendier, and — ugh — better in bed.

The post we put up yesterday of an unretouched Redbook cover image caused a bit of a stir. It was meant to. But more than courting
publicity and traffic, the image we obtained and displayed was meant to show just how far the Cover Lie extends; that even in and on a women’s magazine meant for a more mature female audience (working moms, etc.) and featuring a more mature female celebrity (career-woman and mother-of-three Faith Hill) the lies and half-truths continue to be perpetuated.

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  • Marianne of SCANDICA September 6, 2007 at 10:57 am

    I was reading your blog about Faith Hill and just had to drop a quick comment to express my support to you and your opinions and rage over retouching. It is a crime against us women, no matter what age. And it is even bigger crime against our daughters and granddaughters, who grow up in this airbrushed world believing that what you see is for real.
    I am a photographer who has been fighting against airbrushing and everything it represents. To make a point, I took some nude pics of a 50 year old woman and posted them on my blog. Then I asked people to guess her age. Please take a look:
    And when I told how old she is, people were amazed:
    The point is not what a hot lady she is, or how darn good photographer I am. The point is to wake people (read: women) up to realize how great and sexy and perfect they are, just the way they are! No fix up surgery, no editing needed. We don’t have to look like 20 yr old girls with skinny waist and perky tits when we are 40 and our pregnancies have left fingerprints on us. We are still sexy. We are still beautiful. And in many ways I feel 10 times more beautiful now than I ever did in my 20’s!!! I am going to be sexy and beautiful in my 80’s! It has nothing to do with the way I look. It’s how I feel and see myself.
    Anyway, just wanted to tell you that you have my support. I wonder how many people like us is needed before this changes ? Or will it ever?
    Take care,
    SCANDICA Fine Art Photography

  • Steve M August 10, 2007 at 1:53 pm

    One man’s perspective at