Did you know that Catherine, the Duchess of Cambridge, made an appearance on August’s issue of Marie Claire South Africa? Well, kind of. Okay, not exactly.
You see, the duchess doesn’t do magazine covers, so since Marie Claire SA still wanted her gracing their cover, they decided to take matters into their own hands and do a little Photoshop surgery. They took the duchess’ head and hands and placed them on a model’s body. Yes, you read that right.
Within the publication, editors went on to electronically dress the duchess in more of the designer garb.
“The cover is actually a hyper-real illustration of Kate,” Editor Aspasia Karras told the Telegraph, “meant to be a fan art tribute to fashion’s new royal icon.”
Well, she may consider it a tribute, but it worries me. It also should worry the duchess, and it should worry you.
The duchess has a right to decide not to pose for cover shots, does she not? But Marie Claire SA has decided that’s irrelevant. If they want her on the cover of their magazine, they’ll have her. But what about the duchess’ rights?
Then there’s the reader who’s being fooled into believing that it’s the real duchess on the cover, and that she’s wearing “SA’s Best Local Designs,” as the caption read. Sure, editors decided to add a disclosure in small letters below the image that read, “Of course she doesn’t. But she should.” But that’s pretty vague and not everyone’s going to read it.
I’m sure many people will wonder what the big deal is. And maybe this example is not a big deal to readers and possibly even the duchess, but my concern is where this will lead.
The outfit is not Kate’s usual style, so why did Marie Claire put Kate’s head on a body with clothes Kate usually wouldn’t wear? What if she or another celebrity was adamant about animals rights and a magazine chose to dress her up in furs? What if a celebrity refuses to show skin–can a fashion magazine simply put a head on a half-naked body?
I find this “hyper-real illustration” trend very disturbing. I feel that it not only misleads the reader, but also it misrepresents a person and devalues them. Because it sends the message that the real person just isn’t needed and that magazine editors can select you by how you look, not by who you are and what your values are.
The duchess was not only placed on the cover of a fashion magazine, even though that’s not what she would usually do, but she’s also dressed in clothes she wouldn’t usually wear, so the image is completely out of character. It’s not her, but readers will see it as her and assume that these things are part of who she is. This also leaves the door open for any person to be manipulated, changed and violated in the future.
Should the “hyper-real illustration” trend continue, I predict it will cause a lot of concerns for the model portrayed, as well as for the readers.
PI ladies, what do you think of Marie Claire SA’s Kate Middleton cover?