womens-health-britney-spears-coverBritney Spears‘ abs are easily her most famous feature. She didn’t wear a full-length shirt for the first quarter of her career, and she’d probably wear a crop top to Antarctica to perform for penguins. She kept wearing crop tops even when they were out of style, and now that they’re making a comeback, she’s embracing them even more (even if she’s sometimes doing that by drawing on ab muscles with makeup). So it makes sense that she’s on the cover of Women’s Fitness showing off her “Insane Abs.”

The cover is kind of funny, though. To start with, someone at Women’s Fitness ran out of ways to describe abs as “flat” and just went with “insane,” which brings to mind some pretty silly imagery. Britney’s abs are out of control! Calm down, abdominal muscles, you guys are crazy.

But silly coverlines aside, the most dramatic thing about this cover is its liberal hand with the Photoshop. Britney Spears has a fit, athletic body with some highly enviable abs, but this photo does not look much like her body anywhere else we’ve seen it. Her torso looks longer and slimmer in a way that the pose alone does not explain, and those do not look much like Britney’s hips or legs.

It did not take much time for Britney’s fans to notice the shenanigans.

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All magazines Photoshop their covers, and as much as I wish it weren’t the case, that holds true for fitness magazines as well. Britney appeared on the cover of Shape last year and was smoothed to near Barbie doll levels thanks to someone’s overeager use of the “Blur” tool, but even that did not look much like this one. It looks like they basically sculpted her a new body, and then the makeup artist came in to give her a new face.

There’s lot of contouring going on here. Her nose has been slimmed with Photoshop or bronzer to the point where she’s almost unrecognizable. It looks like she’s using Kate Hudson‘s makeup artist, and while she looks hot, she definitely looks like she could use some more blending. Looking good with drawn-on face shadows requires a very light hand, otherwise you wind up looking like someone has drawn an 11 on your nose.

The saddest thing about all this is that Britney Spears didn’t need the Photoshop or the contouring. She already looked like Britney Spears, and that should be good enough for anyone. I will never understand why magazines hire Britney Spears and her perfect face to cover their magazines, then go ahead and contour and Photoshop them beyond all recognizability.

 Photo: Women’s Health