The controversy stems from the fact that Hawkins -- who reveals minor dimples on her thighs and a crease on her waist -- doesn't represent the average woman, critics complain, according to the paper.
"I'm glad Marie Claire put a photo of that fat cow Jennifer Hawkins on their cover to celebrate women's 'realness," media personality Marieke Hardy reportedly scoffed on Twitter. "LOSE SOME WEIGHT, PORKY."
Radio host Bianca Dye, who recently posed for Australia's Madison magazine to show off her "size 14 thighs and gut," also had harsh words for the magazine, the paper also reports.
"She was born beautiful," Dye reportedly told Confidential. "She has not had to go through any stress to look like that.
"Jackie Frank is one of the most respected editors in the country and I am in shock that they would say Jennifer Hawkins is a natural role model. It's like we've taken 20 steps backwards.
"Are they missing the point? Yes [Hawkins] is lovely, but does that make her a poster girl for positive body image?"
However, the Butterfly Foundation, which is supported by the magazine in its efforts to raise awareness about eating disorders and negative body images has praised the un-Photoshopped cover and its model, the source says.
"The thing is unfortunately it doesn't make the same point, because Jennifer sells magazines and she creates awareness," foundation general manager Julie Parks reportedly told Radio 3AW.
"If Marie Claire had chosen to put on their cover an ordinary women, say myself or a friend of yours, it would not have created the awareness it does.
"It's so excessive in magazines these days and young girls and women are constantly telling us that they don't even know what they're looking at anymore, and what they want to see is more real, untouched and natural photos of celebrities and people in magazines, and I think this delivers that."
In the issue, Hawkins, who was crowned Miss Universe 2004, says, "I'm not a stick figure. I thought it would be great to tell women to just be themselves and be confident."
(We'd cue the violins, but we used them all on Lara Stone's "why being a size 4 makes me a huge fattie" Vogue piece.)
Our two cents: An untouched fashion magazine cover is certainly a step in the right direction, but the choice of a slim model with nary an ounce of cellulite isn't exactly groundbreaking. If you really want to impress us, Marie Claire, you'll follow it up with an untouched photo of a plus-size model. Want us to give you Crystal Renn's number?
Is the unairbrushed cover a breakthrough, or do you find it insulting? Leave a comment!
Meanwhile, read about Ralph Lauren's extreme use of Photoshop.