Thursday, August 31, 2006

Lose 20 Pounds Fast!

By now, you’ve probably heard about Katie Couric’s twenty-pound weight loss. It seems that CBS promotional magazine Watch! Photoshopped, without Couric’s awareness, a recent shot of the anchor-to-be, resulting in a cinched waist, contoured cheekbones, a smaller bust, and thinner arms and hips.

Couric’s response, according to The Daily News: "I liked the first picture better because there's more of me to love." And, really, don’t you just love her more after a comment like this? That’s what the polls say, after all. According to People magazine’s online pole, 54% of us prefer the untouched shot. In other words, we prefer Katie with a little meat on her bones.

Or, do we? Perhaps we like the natural shot because we know it’s natural. It’s the cutesy, girl-next-door we’ve grown to adore. Are we really immune to societal messages that thinner is better? Given pictures of two women who look alike, wouldn’t most, as any advertisering exec would tell you, judge the thinner one to be more attractive? Which do you prefer?


PalmTreeChick said...

Very interesting. I hadn't heard about that. I'm ashamed to say that I like the "thinner" version better. I think she looks "neater," perhaps more put together.

Now I feel like a bad person for liking the thinner version more.

blubbah said...

I'm struck by a thought - if the average US person-on-the-street were asked to identify the "real" Katie, I'm guessing they'd pick ThinKatie. (Probably even if they'd just seen her on TV.)

Because successful (beautiful) women are thin, right? And Katie is successful, right? Come to think of it, the idea of Woman is thin, right? So obviously, the other one is someone photoshopping her to show us how she might look if she were chubbier.

Anonymous said...

I have just started to read your blog and love your insight on weight ect. You are making me think. I still however think the thinner Katie looks better. I have 2 young daughters. How am I ever going to raise them to know how wonderful they are no matter what size they are?

Haley-O said...

I think I like the colouring in the "thinner" picture better.... The lighting in the "natural" picture isn't working for me. I'm so glad she said what she said....She always says the right thing!

Now, did she really lose 20 pounds, or was this just a reference to this photoshop. Did she lose 20 pounds since this picture?

Stacy said...

I like the doctored photo better. Her original photo looks grandmotherly and the 'after' photo looks like she ready to take charge. I agree with haley-o; I think part of the reason I like the 'after' photo is the different lighting in it, and so much the thinness.

As for the thinness factor, I prefer her 'after' photo. When I see a thin person, I think of a go-getter; a plump person makes me think they either aren't as disciplined about eating or prefer to sit around for their entertainment. Ugh, I feel so icky for writing that (I know I shouldn't judge others by how they look), but it's true.

Jennifer said...

Yep...I'm with the rest of the crowd. I'm more drawn to the thin photo. In fact, if you'd presented me with both of them and asked me which one had been photoshopped, I would've said the bigger one (that someone had put meat on her bones, versus taking it off). Maybe part of our issue is that we've seen so many photoshopped-to-be-smaller images of celebrities over the years that we just naturally *expect* to see that. But, for whatever the reason, the thin image definitely appeals to me more.

HaileySqueek said...

When I read this story yesterday, it made me mad. Then when I saw the two photos, my first thought was that the photoshopped one looked better. I would like to blame it on better lighting, but I think I would only be kidding myself. Living in this society has lead me to think that thinner as better.

marykate said...

I would like to see the before picture in the same black outfit as the after picture. Don't we all look slimmer in black? So why did they change her outfit as well as her weight?

Of course as a member of this society I *think* the thinner one is.....better..hate to even write that!? But I would prefer to see Katie as the first one because that is who we all have become accustomed to seeing....the beautiful, strong, caring, girl-next-door.

Jennifer said...

Marykate -
The outfit *is* the same in both pictures. The lighting is just so much worse in the picture that it looks like a different color. They didn't change anything other than her weight...

ps22 said...

"Maybe part of our issue is that we've seen so many photoshopped-to-be-smaller images of celebrities over the years that we just naturally *expect* to see that."
Jennifer - Yes! I think you are correct.

This is somewhat off point, but the commenters thus far have summed up the main points on this issue very well so I won't repeat. A friend and I were recently talking about an issue that was also discussed on the the Today show recently about working vs. non-working moms, and how they judge eachother. Long story short, it came down to the fact that women are so hard on our own sex (as we all know and probably have done at some point). And by judging eachother are really slowing the forward movement of women's issues. So, back to Katie....its interesting most people prefer the thinner picture. Last year, she was repeatedly chastised in the media and by women everwhere for her short skirts and sexy heals, and how she no longer was a serious journalist because of her now "flirty" or "ditzy" personality (once referred to as "perky", "likeabe" and "bubbly"). Now that she's snagged a nightime anchor how we've changed our tune.

Katie can't win. How can any of these issues be resolved if we, as women, can't cut eachother a break?

littlem said...

"Katie can't win. How can any of these issues be resolved if we, as women, can't cut eachother a break?"

PS22, I think that's the most resonant and healing thing I've heard all damn decade.

Would you mind repeating it to the general public a couple hundred million more times? I have a couple of reporters' direct lines at the NYT.

Emily Jolie said...

I can honestly say I prefer the original photo. I think Katie looks more warm-hearted, compassionate, and genuine in it.

Although I strive to be thin personally, I actually feel more drawn to women who aren't so skeleton-thin. Maybe it's because I feel less intimidated by them. I feel they would be less judgemental.

On a different note, I've decided to make my blog private, which means readers need an invite from me in order to access it. I wrote an explanation on my new blog, at If you'd like to read it still - which I sincerely hope you will! ;) -, just send me an email to, and I'll send you an invite.

lots of love,

drstaceyny said...

ptc--you're honest (that's not bad at all).

blubbah--interesting take on this--you may be onto something. . .

anonymous--excellent question. Part of why I'm writing this is to address these concerns. For now, I'd say that unconditional love and acceptance is your surest bet. They may encounter challenges at school, in society, etc., but they'll know they'll have you to come home to.

haley--no, she didn't lose 20 pouds, it's the Photoshopping. I happen to prefer black over brown, too, but I'm not sure it's simply a coloring thing. Or colouring thing, since you're north of the border. ; )

stacy--as I said to ptc, it's honest (and that's the best you can offer). I think we need to challenge these assumptions/stereotypes for ourselves.

jennifer--good point abt expectations.

hs--I agree.

mk--black can be slimming, though as you say, it's not just that.

jennifer--seems like a combination of lighting/clarity and the weight (kinda like how they add make-up to the "after" photos documenting weight-loss)

ps/lm--nice. Recently, I found a quote you may enjoy from Margaret Atwood: "Women can domineer over and infantilize women just as well as men can. They know exactly where to stick the knife."

ej--I look forward to continuing to read your work.

Emily Jolie said...

You know, I just found myself wondering what men's comments would be here. Some of them would probably say they don't see much of a difference either way and that it doesn't matter much whether Katie's a few pounds heavier. I'm wondering, though, if more men might not actually PREFER the original photo! It would be very interesting to hear their reactions!
One thing I know is that men aren't nearly as critical of a woman's appearance as other women are! How ironic! There we are, thinking we're working on improving ourselves to be attractive to men, when, really, it's all about how other WOMEN view us!!