Beyonce and Cindy Crawford: Celebs are just like us, and we love to hate it

Story highlights

  • Alleged unretouched photos of Beyonce caused a stir
  • Cindy Crawford picture was dubbed empowering
  • Writer finds praise of Crawford disingenuous

(CNN)Dear World: Beyonce is actually not "flawless." Get over it.

The posting of what appear to be unretouched photos of Beyonce poked the BeyHive (as her die-hard fans are known). In the photos Beyonce's skin is blemished and hardly the smooth, cover girl look usually presented.
In other words, Beyonce is (gasp) human.
    But why should we even care?
    As Jacob Weisberg wrote in Slate: "The most obvious explanation is that humans enjoy living vicariously through those of our species who are richer, more famous, attractive, and sexually desirable than the rest of us."
    "Whether couched in terms of envy, admiration, or derision, celebrity fascination begins as an exercise in imaging what it would be like to lead a more carefree and pleasurable life," he wrote. "The flip side of the fantasy of irresponsible fabulosity is schadenfreude—the pleasure we take in the misfortune of others."
    Which is why celeb watchers have by turns praised and derided the photos of Beyonce. A stunning woman, the singer is still attractive in the images. And yet there are those who question whether the photographs are even legitimate.
    Forget the birthers; the Beyoncers are not having it.
    The response to Bey-gate deviated from the cries of women's empowerment that followed a recently released image of supermodel Cindy Crawford from a 2013 photo shoot for Marie Claire Mexico and Latin America.
    The picture shows Crawford sporting imperfections, including cellulite. Fans rallied around the model and praised her for letting it all hang out, despite the fact that Crawford appears to have had nothing to do with the release of the picture. Her husband, Rande Gerber, posted a much more flattering Valentine's shot of his wife looking toned in a two-piece bathing suit -- seemingly in response to the hoopla.

    She got flowers and I got her. Happy Valentines Day @cindycrawford

    A photo posted by Rande Gerber (@randegerber) on

    Not so fast says Isha Aran of Fusion. Aran finds the celebration of Crawford's "empowering" photo to be a bit disingenuous.
    "For one, the standard that we commend the model for smashing with the unretouched photo is the very same standard we use to shame celebrities like Uma Thurman and Renée Zellweger for daring to change their looks," Aran wrote. "The standard that equates beauty and dignity in the realm of aging. If a woman doesn't 'age gracefully' or if it's clear she's had 'work done,' accusations of weak character and 'clinging desperately to youth' are suddenly fair game."
    While "Stars, they're just like us!" may be a popular franchise for tabloids that also love to post features on celebs without makeup, it would appear that the famous are not allowed to actually be regular people. After all, regular people aren't as admired as celebs.
    "Part of our curiosity is a way of learning what makes the great great in our own search for knowledge, fame and fortune," author Sheila Kohler wrote in a blog post about our fascination with celebrities for Psychology Today. "We copy the famous, buy dresses that are similar or even the same, we wear our hair the way our idol does in an attempt to capture the glamor we admire."
    But at least some fans are pleased with catching a less-refined glimpse of a star who is known for having a tightly controlled image and whose publicist reportedly once demanded that unflattering pictures of the artist from her Super Bowl half-time performance be removed.