Kit Steinkellner
March 03, 2015 10:58 am

A couple of weeks ago, we wrote about an unretouched photo of Cindy Crawford that had allegedly leaked from a 2013 Marie Claire photo shoot. We praised said photo for being the height of realness and the model for being bold enough to share it. We (along with most of the rest of the Internet) were wrong about that photo, though.

The “unretouched” and “retouched” photos below:

We recently learned that TMZ got its hands on a cease and desist letter from the photographer’s lawyer that explained that not only was the photograph stolen from said photographer, but that the “unretouched” photo actually WAS retouched and Crawford’s midsection was altered to look less, well, “international supermodel-y.” The letter calls the photo both “stolen” and “doctored.”

Let’s be clear about something though. We don’t really care what she looks like! As long as she loves her body than fantastic. We are not here to pass judgement, we are here to celebrate women’s bodies in all the many shapes and forms they come in.

When we first ran the story on the Crawford, we believed we were covering a story about embracing women’s real bodies and pushing back against a system that is relentlessly cruel when it comes to women aging. Now, we realize this is really a story about how we need to be just as suspicious of leaked supposedly “unretouched” photos as we are of Photoshopped glamour shots.

Any photo can be retouched these days, and the technology and craftsmanship have become so proficient that it can be nearly impossible to tell what is real and what is not. There are so many reasons people doctor photos of women—from reinforcing unrealistic beauty standards, to sparking outrage and gaining Internet attention. No matter the reason, the problem still stands: women’s bodies are being scrutinized and manipulated. Let’s hope there will come a time when we can just embrace women’s bodies as they truly are—unretouched and naturally beautiful, just as they are.

Images via