Targeting Photoshop Fails
AMERICAN retail fashion chain Target caused controversy recently for its major Photoshop fail. The website came under fire when it displayed dodgy airbrush techniques on a young swimwear model, crudely removing a chunk of the model’s crotch area in the attempt of creating a ‘thigh gap’ – which is supposedly a desired physical feature for many teenage girls.
The image has been removed from Target’s website but the damage has already been done. Why in God’s name was there a need to slim down this attractive model who was already slim in the first place? It makes you wonder: to what extent are all models we see in images airbrushed? You don’t need to be Einstein to know magazines and websites are constantly featuring digitally-altered images of celebrities and models.
When un-retouched photographs of Girls star Lena Dunham’s 2014 Vogue covershoot were published on feminist blog Jezebel alongside the slightly altered images of her, critics were quick to comment. Jezebel claimed that the photoshopping demonstrated Vogue’s desire to have a “taller, longer-limbed version of reality” whereas Lena commented “it was the most minimal re-touching.” Minimal or not, it’s still tweaking with reality. Sharpening a jawline, smoothing the waist, removing a line on the face – if it is so minimal, then why even bother doing it at all?
Who could forget Roberto Cavalli removing Beyonce’s sexy curves from his advertisement campaign for the dress designed exclusively for her Mrs. Carter Show World Tour? The press release was a sketch of Beyonce wearing the gown but the altered photograph caused backlash when fans noticed her shape was portrayed unrealistically. The whole stereotype of a skinny supermodel clearly got in the way of portraying Beyonce as she actually is in reality – that is being the curvy superstar she is so well known for.
While we are all well aware of the possibility of magazines and websites altering models, not everyone actually realises how much editing could be done. Photoshop is leaving us with a distorted image of how the average female really looks. As the majority of photographs are digitally altered, so too are our perceptions of what is normal, healthy and beautiful. It’s hard to look through magazines, without taking into account how slim one girl appears or how flawless another looks.
But why are the media going overboard on the airbrushing? Personally, I don’t think sales are going to drop on clothes just because a model has a little extra weight around her stomach or some cellulite on her legs. Would you stop buying your favourite magazine if a woman was featured on the cover with a small spot on her face? It won’t change the quality of the articles inside the magazine. Actually, I would probably be more inclined to buy the magazine if I knew the models and stars featured inside were unedited – pictures of ‘real’ women.
The media are putting a huge pressure on women to be something they’re not – something that’s not even real. It’s not healthy to aspire to be like the women in glossy magazines because we don’t know how much alteration has been done to them. Manipulating a model’s size like Target have done is gone beyond extreme – practically targeting (excuse the pun) young girls to be a certain size to wear their clothes.
With the introduction of phone apps which allow people to edit their own personal photographs – from using filters to fixing blemishes – we are now living in an era where everything must be ‘picture perfect.’ Miranda Kerr was recently accused of slimming down by using Photoshop on an Instagram image of herself behind the scenes at the 2012 Victoria’s Secret Show. We have all used filters on our photographs to make them ‘look better’ which is fine but let’s hope we don’t get carried away and attempt to ‘fix’ ourselves while we’re at it. We don’t need any fixing up – a photograph is meant to capture a moment. How can you look back and say that moment is real if you’re not even real in it yourself?
Photo c/o ketv.com