He Said, She Said: The Cindy Crawford Photo

photo (85)Here is the latest entry from the Kenny and Erris project:  He Said, She Said: The Gender Eclipse. Kenny and Erris are close friends, blissfully married to others, and tackling gender-related issues from their respective viewpoints.  

This time, we are tackling the Cindy Crawford photo that has been circulating social media outlets and causing a stir since last week.


After a flurry of inaccurate reporting and misconceptions, it’s now widely accepted that this (in)famous photo of Cindy Crawford from a 2013 shoot, was leaked without her consent.  When the photo first surfaced last week, women across social media outlets voiced their collective support, awe and relief that Cindy is human like the rest of us. Although we now know that Cindy didn’t release the photo on her own, she posed for it – confident, glamorous and perfectly imperfect.  Maybe she thought it would be retouched and photoshopped, but instead it was leaked, and now we know that at least one supermodel, super-famous, supermom, super-wife out there — is a little more like us than we realized.

I have repeatedly stated that I have nothing against plastic surgery, injectables and creams that magically erase lines. (Email me ASAP if you have a potion that is better than the twelve I currently use.)  To each her own – I don’t judge.  I fight my own aging process without mercy and I haven’t ruled out extreme measures in the future.  I work out, eat well and convulse with guilt when I fall off the wagon (Valentine’s Day weekend would be a prime recent example – one of my friends apparently has the blackmail photos to prove it).  I intellectually accept that I don’t look the same as I did in my 20s, prior to two scarring C-Sections and that bitch called aging, but emotionally – as much as I rationalize and pretend – I hate it.

When I saw Cindy, an icon that seems to never age (could it be that rare melon extract from the South of France that she hawks in those infomercials all weekend?) looking gorgeous but human, I almost screamed, “Yeah Baby!”  Most importantly, I got the slap-in-the-face that I apparently needed.  I’m ashamed, yet grateful, that this is what it took to set me straight (hopefully more than temporarily).  This is what our 40s look like:  cellulite, saggy skin and imperfections that should be celebrated for the milestones that they represent – children, relationships, wisdom and maturity.  Not to mention being eternally grateful for good health.  I’m about to turn 46 and this is the best gift I could have received.


By now, you have most likely seen the leaked photo of Cindy Crawford and the numerous compliments about her bravery in revealing her true figure, untouched.

While I completely support Erris’ celebration that even a supermodel eventually, well, doesn’t look like a supermodel, I don’t understand how Cindy can be portrayed as a hero here. The operative word in the story is “leaked.” The picture was released without Cindy’s consent.  Cindy displayed no bravery.  Instead, this photograph exemplifies the extent to which probably virtually all supermodel pictures that we ogle, are nowhere near the truth.  I am a guy and am still studying the recent Sports Illustrated swimsuit edition which came out a few weeks ago. (I am a slow “reader.”  So I am not complaining. However, if I were single and photoshopped my picture on match.com, I would be considered a liar. Why the double standard?

Cindy has been a spokesperson for women for years about being proud of who you are. This would’ve been the perfect opportunity to walk the walk and have the photo along with her proclamation of reality appear prominently on her website, Cindy.com  Neither the photo nor the proclamation are there. Instead, Cindy further separates herself from heroine status by presumably having her husband post a much more flattering picture of her in a bikini, distancing herself from the now famous photo.

As to the picture itself, I saw it while I was in a somewhat altered state. My internal reaction was “oh, ewww.” My spontaneous blurt was remarkably similar: “Oh, ewww!”  I am not suggesting that the photo is comparable to a bikini clad Betty White pic. (No offense Betty. You’re still the hottest 93-year-old that I know.)  Cindy is undoubtedly still gorgeous, but the untouched photo, including her sensual lingerie pose (and the fact that this was a sensual lingerie pose is key) is not what we have come to expect. So I reacted poorly.  Unless “Oh, eww” could somehow be construed as a compliment.  Unfortunately, it was not construed that way by my beautiful wife Jodi.  Regardless of my altered state, which I believe I previously mentioned, expressing dissatisfaction about Cindy Crawford’s body raises the bar ridiculously high and justifiably doesn’t sit well with her. Jodi is a very secure woman, and in my eyes better looking than Cindy Crawford, but my uncensored blurt will be one that I will regret for the rest of my life.  Put another way, life was a little bit better BCC (Before Cindy Crawford).


7 thoughts on “He Said, She Said: The Cindy Crawford Photo

  1. I need to speak up as a guy who is very educated in the world of photoshop and was obsessed with Oprah’s head being spliced pre-photoshop by an art director at TV Guide in 1989 onto Ann-Margret’s body. Often models do not see the process and if you are a super-model you may get to approve the image prior to release or not so her being party to the release is highly unlikely. Leaked or not does not matter to me, what matters is our collective fantasy of what is beautiful and our fear of aging. In my male (young 50 year old) eyes I think she looks great and the slight tummy wiggle and wrinkles are so minor that she remains remarkable and helps us all realize that nobody is perfect and she is blessed with amazing staying power. She is looking great untouched by the photographer but we are all very touched by social media and the hyper critical visual world that results in my very fit daughters thinking they are fat. Let’s change the conversation to focus on what drives eating orders, depression and poor self esteem in women and how lucky we men are to live with a different standard of accepted appearance.

  2. Maybe it’s because my eyes are going… or that I first saw this on my iPhone… or because I’m looking at Cindy Crawford from the other side of fifty… but I think she looks great. I’d love to have that much (little) stomach pooch and cellulite. I’d also love to be a person who got tan instead of freckled. And I always wanted to have thick, long hair.

    I think an important consideration is that most of us (myself included) don’t tend to view folks like her as “people like us” so much as we view them as a BRAND. She is the Cindy Crawford brand and, like Mercedes, Armani or Dom Perignon, we hold certain expectations for the brand. We hold these brands to high standards and that’s fine with corporate, inanimate objects but when we hold a living, breathing soul to the same standard in her forties as we held her to in her twenties, it’s unrealistic and unfair. I would love to see a societal change that embraces aging instead of being repulsed by it. And, yes, when you say “Ewww,” it means you’re repulsed.

    Women who have lived, loved and borne children have bodies that tell stories, giving them a beauty that goes beyond some superficial, model-perfect “ideal.” Because others–and not just men–are repulsed by natural changes in the female form, there are way too many of us who struggle to muster self-love and acceptance of a perfectly natural aging process.

    • Mary, first and foremost, thank you so much for reading and replying. I agree with most of what you’re saying. I really like your analogy to Mercedes, Dom Perignon and Armani. Where we disagree it is that by HER choosing to be airbrushed, she wants us to continue to believe that we are experiencing these high brand models, when in fact, we are looking at a Mercedes logo and vehicle with a Honda motor, sparkling water in a Dom Perignon bottle, and a fashion designer which unfortunately, is beyond my scope to analogize. All good, but not top dollar, which is what she wants us to believe we are getting.

  3. I can’t accept that the photo was leaked without her consent since she clearly consented to the photo shoot. Who consents to be photographed like that if your intent was for it not to be made public.
    By consenting to the shoot you waived your right to privacy… Hell you two are the lawyers but that’s what this doc thinks.
    Regarding the discussion… She doesn’t have what to be proud of bc she is claiming it was leaked. If she would have taken credit for it that’s another story.

  4. Yeah, Ken wins this round. I think I would have said “ewww” as well, but not for the same reason. Frankly I’ve NEVER been a Cindy fan (but send Cristie Brinkley my way and I will be forever appreciative), and overall I just think it’s a dumb looking photo, cellulite aside. I mean, is that a snake on her cheek? and did she steal that hat from Edward James Olmos? But Ken brings up a great point – I think the instant “eww” reaction was one of expectation. I mean, if you selected a wedding cake to be made from a picture in a professional catalog, you’re going to expect it to be flawless when it appears at your event – even if, underneath, it’s tasteless. However if your spouse, the non-professional baker, took a stab at the same cake, you wouldn’t be expecting perfection, but I bet it would taste fantastic and you’d be proud and excited to shove it down your facehole.

  5. Cindy Crawford is human and normal and real. But she is a coward who wants the world to view her as a cellulite free icon. Sorry, Cindy, we all get post-baby bodies. On another note, if I “leaked” the recent pic of my bikini bod in Puerto rico….. maybe someone will call me a hero, too.

  6. I have to agree with Ken here . . . I don’t see how Cindy comes off as a hero since the pic was ‘leaked’. In fact, part of the problem in trying to maintain youth and an impossible beauty standard, is the fact that her professional photos are retouched. This is what our daughters and women of all ages see in the media.

    Erris, I’ve yet to meet you, but hopefully our paths will cross at TOS. You are a brilliant and insightful writer and I enjoy your posts. You are also very attractive and while you are no longer in your 20s, I hope you love your 40-something self and all the experiences you’ve gained over the years.

    Ken, I can’t believe you said ewww. It was an honest reaction, and that is why it is so difficult for women. Your expectations are driven by what the media feeds you: perfection that is not attainable.

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