The use of Photoshop in media, especially advertisements, is not a new concept to most people. I recently, however, stumbled upon something that surprised me when it came to just how far companies are willing to go with their magic Photoshopping wands.
As it turns out… no one is good enough to be featured in advertisements without being retouched! Not thin women, not thick women, no one can fit the ideal that industries want to sell so badly to consumers.
In a recent post on DoTheHotpants, Dana Suchow shows images of beautiful plus-size women modeling bikinis… upon further inspection however she notices that even though these women are plus-size models, they have still had their legs slimmed and cellulite blurred from the images. Even more astonishing is when Suchow goes on to point out that it is not just plus-sized women in advertisements that receive a little help from Photoshop, but on the opposite end of the spectrum when thin models, such as Karlie Kloss are retouched in images because they are too thin. No one is safe.
So what message are these images sending? That no body type is good enough, you are either too thick or too thin, and the ideal is quite literally unobtainable.
In contrast, Elizabeth Perle writes on Huffpost Women The Blog that Photoshop is in fact not all the evil its cracked up to be. She argues that “raising awareness about why it is bad to alter images in mainstream ads and media (especially print) oversimplifies the problem,” and that it is a waste of time, energy, and resources to try to combat.
While it may seem like an uphill battle to change the portrayal of body images, wouldn’t it be nice to live in a world where young children weren’t constantly bombarded with images showing no matter how thick or thin, you still will never be good enough?
As written on the Beauty Redefined Blog, “What we see in media, and what we may be internalizing as normal or beautiful, is anything but normal or beautiful. It’s fake. It’s a profit-driven idea of normal and beautiful that women will spend their lives trying to achieve and men will spend their lives trying to find.”
Changing the way we represent body image in media will inevitably change the way we think about it. I don’t quite understand how young girls seeing images like themselves represented in a positive way could be a waste of time, energy, or resources. Especially when they won’t be spending a lifetime paying to achieve an ideal that cannot even be obtained by the people who portray it.