Cindy Crawford lingerie image stirs debate over what ‘real women’ look like

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An apparent image of 48-year-old Cindy Crawford in lingerie is stirring discussion about what “real” women look like — but not for reasons you might expect.

The practice of photo retouching in fashion publications renders most models completely free of blemishes or imperfections to the point of being unrealistic. But this photo of Crawford baring her sun-kissed torso is drawing praise for showing her in a realistic light.

The image of murky origins spread through social media on Friday after British ITV News anchor Charlene White shared it on Twitter, attributing it to Marie Claire magazine. The American version of Marie Claire, a joint venture between Hearst Magazines and French-based Marie Claire Album, called the image real, honest and gorgeous, but denied any connection to the photo.

“Its origins are actually from a December 2013 cover story from Marie Claire Mexico and Latin America. It appears that this unretouched version is a leak,” the magazine said in an online post Friday. Representatives from Marie Claire Mexico, which is owned by Mexico-based Editorial Televisa, did not immediately respond to CNN’s request for comment.

White said she first spotted the image on a friend’s private Instagram feed and sought it out on Twitter. She said she found it on a fashion blog whose name she couldn’t recall, and she shared the image from there.

Regardless of the photo’s origins, White said she took comfort in the image as a celebrity whose looks are constantly scrutinized.

“Women come in all sorts of different shapes and sizes,” she said. “I think it’s important to see all sorts of body shapes on our screens and in our magazines so that people have a true reflection of what people look like,” White told CNN.

Many agreed, including actor Jamie Lee Curtis, who applauded the image on Twitter and shared an image of herself in skivvies. “Bravo Cindy Crawford,” she said. “Beauty is truth, truth beauty, that is all Ye need to know on earth, and all Ye need to know.”

Others, however, questioned the reflex to applaud realistic depictions of women in fashion.

The response has not been entirely positive. But White said it matters not what detractors say.

“I want people to feel like magazines aren’t responsible for their happiness when it comes to their bodies but magazines also have a responsibility to show us an array of images,” she said.

Bottom line? “No one has the right to tell other people how to feel about their body.”

By Emanuella Grinberg