While the vast majority of images of women are being digitally altered, so are our perceptions of normal, healthy, beautiful and attainable.
One of the main strategies used to reinforce and normalize a distorted idea of “average,” which sparks body anxiety when we don’t measure up, is media’s representation of women as extremely thin (meaning much thinner than the actual population or what is physically possible for the vast majority of women). This is done by consistent use of models and actresses that are extremely young and thin and by making the models and actresses fit their idea of ideal of youth and thinness and beauty through digital manipulation. This unrealistic form is consistently represented across almost all media forms, along with blemish-free, wrinkle-free, and even pore-free skin, thanks to the wonders of digital manipulation as an “industry standard” that is openly endorsed and defended by magazine editors and media executives the world over.
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. Until we all learn to recognize and reject these harmful messages about what it means to look like a woman, we all lose.
Sources say America Ferrara’s head was pasted onto another woman’s body for this phony Glamour cover.
This scary display of digital manipulation in action was caught on popular clothing store Ann Taylor’s website in August 2010, when the women behind the feminist website Jezebel discovered the “before” image (on the left, obviously) being displayed while the startlingly narrower “after” the image loaded. The already stunning model’s hips and thighs were shrunk to strikingly thin proportions, but her waist simply looks ridiculous. After Jezebel reported the glitch (and thank goodness for that!), Ann Taylor fixed it and sent an apology their way, saying, “We want to support and celebrate the natural beauty of women, and we apologize if, in the process of retouching, that was lost. We agree, we may have been overzealous on some retouching but [going] forward we’ll make sure to feature more real, beautiful images.” Unfortunately, Ann Taylor is a notorious repeat offender.
Faith Hill on the July 2007 Redbook cover. Right arm? Suddenly appeared on the cover. Left arm? Cut down by at least 1/3 of its original size. Wrinkles, normal complexion or any other signs of life on her face? Erased. Back? Sliced out almost entirely.
Kate Winslet on the Jan. ’03 British GQ cover. Acclaimed actress Kate Winslet is notoriously beautiful and curvaceous, so it’s not surprising men’s magazine GQ would want to include her on their cover. What IS surprising is that they removed her curves entirely, leaving stick-thin extremely thin legs that bear no resemblance to her own and a rightfully upset actress. She told Britain’s GMTV, “I don’t want people to think I was a hypocrite and had suddenly gone and lost 30 pounds, which is something I would never do, and more importantly, I don’t want to look like that! … They made my legs look quite a bit thinner. They also made me look about 6 feet tall, which I’m not – I’m 5 foot, 6 inches.”
Kourtney Kardashian, just 7 days after having her baby, is featured on the cover of January 2010′s OK Magazine. It looks as though she dropped her baby weight in one week! Interestingly enough, the Kardashians were advertising QuickTrim in this very issue…
When superstar singer Kelly Clarkson was digitally slimmed down almost beyond recognition on Self’s September 2009 cover, people noticed. Her appearance on “Good Morning America” within just days of the cover shoot proved that her body did not look anything like the very thin one that appeared on the cover. In a shockingly ironic twist, the issue she appeared on was titled “The Body Confidence Issue” and featured an interview inside where she explained how comfortable she felt with her body.
Kimoralee Simmons, past owner of the Baby Phat franchise, approved of this advertisement for one of her latest products. Kimoralee: mother, wife, business mogul, and…plastic doll?
The original photo retouching scandal! This is actually an illustration that looks much like photo, where Oprah’s head was drawn onto actress and singer Ann-Margret’s body for a 1989 TV Guide cover.
A 2009 Oil of Olay eye cream ad featuring Twiggy — one of the world’s biggest modeling/fashion icons for more than a decade, now she’s relegated to the unglamorous realm of photoshopping disasters for beauty industries lies. Straight-up lies. Amazingly, this ad was banned by the UK’s advertising watchdog after more than 700 complaints were gathered for a campaign against airbrushing in ads by the Liberal Democrat MP Jo Swinson. The ad was deemed to be misleading.
Men are not immune to these ideals. Tennis superstar Andy Roddick on the May 2007 Men’s Fitness. He said later: “I’m not as fit as the Men’s Fitness cover suggests…little did I know I have 22 inch guns and a disappearing birth mark on my right arm.”
Sarah Jessica Parker on the Aug. 2011 Vogue — wrinkle-free at age 46! We think not. We prefer to see a few signs of life on people, Vogue! No need for a cartoon version of an already beautiful woman.
Source: Beauty Redefined