Whenever I am perusing my favorite fashion magazine I’m always left wondering how much of the fashion model is created through Photoshop and what little the model has left is real. If anyone has ever seen the Dove commercials you know how creative and frightening a tool Photoshop can be. Now there is a movement in the British government to have labels tacked on to each and every photo that has been altered through Photoshop. While only the American Medical Association has pushed for alteration standards, nothing has been done to stop or even restrict the onslaught of Photoshopped images.
This one piece of technology has given photographers, editors and even models a way to create the perfect ideal image of the quintessential American beauty but at what costs? What about the ugly footprint that this fake ideal inevitably leaves behind such as the countless of young women and now men starving themselves for an unattainable ideal that advertisers and society continue to place on the highest pedestal?
So, is creating a label for Photoshopped images enough to stop this ongoing trend or does Photoshop need to stop for good? People may argue that Photoshop allows for new artists to create fantastic images in an emerging medium which allows their creativity to overflow and embrace this technological age.
However, many argue that in the wrong hands this tool is more often than not used to “fix” men and women and create the ideal image of beauty. After having toyed with Photoshop for a college course, I realized how quickly I could get carried away with editing out unseemly blotches, whittling away the model’s waist, contouring the face and so many more edits that really she didn’t need.
While America is known for its McDonalds, supersizes and rising obesity levels, there are many children and teens suffering from various forms of eating disorders and body image issues such as anorexia nervosa, bulimia and body dismorphia. A rising number of men and women (even 9 year old children) admit to having some issues with their bodies.
According to http://teen-eating-disorders.net, nine percent of 9-years-old admit to having vomited in order to lose weight, 42 percent of first-, second-, and third-grade girls want to be thinner and 53 percent of 13-year-old girls are unhappy with how their bodies look and that number is even greater when considering 18-year-old girls.
Having been through the throes of middle school, high school, college and now graduate school, I see students of various ages, sizes and ethnicities each with their own individuality, personality and qualities that make them unique.
However, both women and men are unable to see through the advertisings, commercials and Photoshopped beauty to see their own. On a positive note, people are fighting this trend through blogs like http://thebodyimageproject.blogspot.com/ and the national body image project movement which chronicles the daily trials of men and women who struggle with their bodies every day.
So, what’s next in this battle against negative body images? Is this new labeling movement a step in the right direction or just allowing Photoshop to continue its trend only now with some minor regulations?
Read more about the new label at WIRED: http://www.wired.com/wiredscience/2011/11/photo-alteration-analysis/ and let me know what you think and what should be done to better our body image and self-esteem at any age!