There has been much discussion over whether major publications should use Photoshop to change people’s appearance in their pages. Both France and the U.K. are pushing for laws that would strictly monitor the use of Photoshop in magazines. Particularly when it comes to female models, many worry that the use of Photoshop and other editing tools create an unrealistic image for young women to strive for. But, in many ways, doing away with Photoshop is missing the point. There are plenty of ways a magazine pitches unrealistic body images for their audiences to strive for. Here are 15 reasons it doesn’t matter if magazines use Photoshop.
Even if photos of models are not edited, they can still be “edited” in real life via breast augmentations, arm tucks, liposuction and face lifts.
Some French legislators, are arguing that using Photoshop is OK so long as there is a disclaimer on the page saying it has been used. But do you ever see a disclaimer at the bottom of a magazine spread saying, “This model had fat surgically sucked out of her mid section?” Nope. Liposuction is also promoting an unrealistic image.
Look at fashion history. There has never been a shortage of models willing to drop down to the new “fashionable” size. If a magazine can’t edit models to look thinner, they’ll simply find thinner models.
What Photoshop can’t do, light designers can. Light designers know just what lighting to use to make a model’s waist disappear in a shadow, or a bust look three times its size, or a large nose look dainty. Do those models really walk around in life with a lighting team following them? Doubtful.
Don’t forget the use of the set. A great set designer knows what object to make the model lie on, sit on or hold to make her appear whatever shape and size they want.
Sure. And wouldn’t it be amazing if we could all walk around in front of an enormous orange dresser that made us look proportionately slender and tanner? But we can’t, so once again, that’s an unrealistic image.
Look up the dress sizes of famous women and it would be safe to say that some have been fabricated. Would a publicist looking to keep her job working for a self-conscious actor report the client’s real measurements? It’s not a trick question.
Most fans obsessed with knowing the exact dress size of their favorite superstar will probably also look up that star’s diet and workout regimen. And at best, it won’t be safe or healthy (think perfectly measured ounces of cereal, 1,400-calorie limits and eight-mile daily runs.)
Then there are those who say they get their figure through diet and exercise but are really using diet supplements, plastic surgery or disordered eating habits. This leaves the fan who tries the alleged “diet and exercise” routine wondering why she isn’t losing weight.
Maybe we should worry less about young girls trying to be a size four and worry more about them seeing their favorite stars in outfits that cost more than their parents’ mortgage. That doesn’t exactly give them a realistic lifestyle to aspire for.
There are no regulations against what age a model must be to be in a spread meant for adults. Peruse a few major brand catalogues and you’ll see models who are in their teens modeling clothes meant for women in their late 40s. Not too realistic.
True self-esteem doesn’t come from being sheltered from everything that could potentially lower self-esteem. There will always be people and images out there implying, if not out right saying, “You’re not good enough.” Why? Because it sells products. It’s naïve to think that removing the stimuli that provokes low self-esteem can actually heighten self-esteem.
Most of the attacks seem to be on publications that edit their models to make them look smaller, but what about publications portraying girls with bottoms that can barely fit through a doorway and in general over-sexualized bodies? We don’t worry about telling young girls that these images have been altered. We don’t worry that they fear they aren’t “attractive” or “womanly” enough if they don’t have cartoon-worthy curves?
There is so much news about Photoshopped images that readers probably assume what they’re looking at isn’t real.
At the end of the day, people don’t pick up a magazine so they can stare at someone who looks just like Pam from the cubicle next door. We mostly pick them up to see images that we otherwise could not come across in real life — to escape reality for a moment and sink into the life of someone who has no real problems. Kind of like why we watch any of “Real Housewives” programs.