Wednesday, March 05, 2014

The Argument Against Retouching

Photoshop allows users to make changes to pictures so they look slightly or completely different from their original appearance. A few minutes with this program can enhance certain features of fashion models and celebrities, creating unrealistic images of physical perfection.

When I saw this image, I was shocked. The media has gone too far. 

One of the main strategies used to reinforce and normalize a distorted idea of “average” is the media’s representation of celebrities as abnormally blessed in the facial hair department (meaning much hairier than the actual population or what is physically possible for the vast majority of people) – either by consistent use of models that are perfectly-bearded or close to it, or by making the models and actresses fit their idea of ideal hairiness and beauty through digital manipulation. Essentially, the facial ideal is a healthy, bearded face, with no unsightly bare patches, razor burns or nicks, and bodily and facial hair perfection that results from months of growth. With the right combination of genes, perseverance and time, this ideal  can be achieved, but it's much easier for people to take a picture of Paul Browning to their plastic surgeon and say "This is what I want. Let's do this."

Easier still, hiring an expert at photoshopping. 

When magazines, businesses and advertisements retouch photos, a common argument is that this delivers a false message to the consumer. The photo is not truthful and therefore it is lying to the consumer.

Even HBO's Emilia Clarke was digitally altered in order to comply with society's beauty standards.
From lost self-esteem, lost money and time spent fixing “flaws” and a well-documented preoccupation with growing hair (National Shaving Disorders Association, 2010), the effects of these unreal ideals hurt everyone. The encouragement of such unachievable hair standards has been linked to the shaving disorders and other health problems for kids and adolescents. The AMA's recommendation is for advertising associations to work with children's health organizations on guidelines that discourage the use of Photoshop and similar photo editing software.

While not the most forceful policy, the AMA's new stance is a step in the right direction. Whether it will actually discourage magazine and newspapers from airbrushing the luscious locks onto its models -- well, that remains to be seen.

What message is she sending to her fans that are unable to grow a full, beautiful beard?

1 comment:

Joel said...

This is ridiculous.