Self magazine LOVES Kelly Clarkson. But only if she’s an imaginary size 10.

Oh this one is a DOOZY. You may recognise the person on the cover of Self magazine as being popstar Kelly Clarkson. Then again, you may not because Self have digitally altered Kelly into a whole other body. And the justification they have given for doing such a crappy thing is going to make your head spin off.According to the Jezebel website:

Kelly Clarkson put on a little weight in the past year — but you wouldn't know it from the September cover of Self, which the editors admit was Photoshopped.

On the new cover of Self, the editors did everything they could to obscure what her body actually looks like. Her right arm is totally invisible and much of her left arm has been cropped out. A yellow dot strategically obscures the area where her butt meets her lower back and white pants against a white background make her legs almost invisible.

For her part, Kelly has been constant in saying she is happy with who she is, Photoshop or not. She even joked about seeing the album cover for All I Ever Wanted, saying on her blog: "It's very colorful, and they have definitely Photoshopped the crap out of me, but I don't care! Whoever she is, she looks great."

At any rate, there is nothing wrong with the way Clarkson looks. She says in Self,

"My happy weight changes… Sometimes I eat more; sometimes I play more. I'll be different sizes all the time. When people talk about my weight, I'm like, 'You seem to have a problem with it; I don't. I'm fine!' I've never felt uncomfortable on the red carpet or anything."

But clearly the editors at Self don't share her opinion. Entertainment Tonight asked the magazine's Editor-in-Chief Lucy Danziger why Clarkson looks so drastically different on their cover and this was her reply:

"Yes, of course we do post-production corrections on our images," Editor-in-Chief Lucy Danziger tells ET. Airbrushing images is an industry standard, and the mag stands behind its decision. "SELF magazine inspires and informs our 6 million readers each month to reach their all around best," Lucy adds. "Kelly Clarkson exudes confidence, and is a great role model for women of all sizes and stages of their life. She works out and is strong and healthy, and our picture shows her confidence and beauty. She literally glows from within. That is the feeling we'd all want to have. We love this cover and we love Kelly Clarkson."

…but only if she's skinny. The Self editors must have known their alterations would be obvious, but what's particularly puzzling is why they asked Clarkson to be on the magazine in the first place. According to Self's editorial calendar, the September issue closed on July 1. Even if the photo shoot took place several weeks earlier (assuming the image wasn't just pasted together from old photos) it's not as if Clarkson's appearance changed radically in the past few months.

Danziger is right: Kelly Clarkson is a "great role model for women of all sizes." When the press goes after celebrities for gaining weight many apologize to the public, like Oprah Winfrey or Kirstie Alley, or frantically exercise and appear on the cover of Us flaunting their slimmed down selves like Jennifer Love Hewitt. So far Clarkson has only declared that she's OK with her body and backed her statements up by performing in clothing that exposes her figure, rather than hiding under billowy outfits.

Of course, now Clarkson has appeared with a newly-slim body on the cover of Self, but it's a decision the editors made for her, rather than a message she wanted to put out herself.

This whole thing is bizarre in the extreme. Self is a health and fitness magazine. It frequently has those covers with celebrities showing off their 'post-baby bodies' in bikinis or tight jeans and midriff tops. Yup, that kind of mag. The one that makes me (is it just me?) want to hurl it across the room and then chase after it and stomp on it just to make sure it's really dead.

Self is ostensibly about being healthy but obviously there's a lot of visual emphasis on one type of healthy – the size 6-10 type. So WHY choose Kelly Clarkson for your cover? This to me smacks partially of desperation (I know what it feels like to be an editor looking down the barrel of a print deadline with no cover) and partially of absolute arrogance. Do they think readers are going to swallow that kind of deception these days? Do they believe that we'll all just go "Oh, Kelly must have lost half her body weight the day before the shoot and then PUT IT BACK ON AGAIN THE DAY AFTER".

It brings me back to glorious, sexy images of women like this and this and how nice it would be to see more of them.