By Kate Ward
Updated September 19, 2007 at 09:00 PM EDT

Maybe it’s in the spirit of Halloween, but there’s something downright scary going on on the cover of various women’s magazines this October. First, Glamour goes on the newsstands with an obviously Photoshop-ed picture of America Ferrera on its cover. Then LeAnn Rimes seems to have hijacked Sarah Jessica Parker’s face on the cover of Redbook.

Now, the practice of magazines retouching photos is definitely nothing new (see: Redbook’s infamous Julia Roberts pasted-head-on-body scandal), but when readers are accustomed to seeing their favorite stars all their imperfect glory, is there a point to “fixing” all their flaws? Ferrera, for one, has made frumpy fabulous on Ugly Betty — there was even an episode about the utter silliness of Photoshop — so it makes you wonder why the magazine would choose to slim the normal-sized star down to a size 4, especially when the photo is in a “figure-flattery” issue. And as for Rimes, well, I’m not sure how to explain the somewhat unflattering airbrushed cover photo (You got LeAnn Rimes in my Sarah Jessica Parker! Well, you got Sarah Jessica Parker in my LeAnn Rimes!), but to assume that Carrie Underwood took over Redbook’s Photoshop that day.

So why change a face or body we know so well? Shouldn’t the use of Photoshop be subtle enough that we actually believe these stars appear as they do on the cover? And if Madonna famously shunned Glamour in 1990 after they closed her gapped teeth in a cover photo, what keeps today’s starlets from following suit?