Anna Hill, 24, is studying photography at East Carolina University, and she says making “epic photo manipulations” is what makes her happiest.
However, she gets that said digital maneuvers don’t necessarily make others as happy. Namely, images of Photoshopped women in magazines and advertisements can make non-Photoshopped women decidedly unhappy.
Remember this recent video? A pretty model poses for a photo, and through the magic of Photoshop, it’s revealed how distorted the model becomes. The “before” woman was positively lovely. The “after” woman is a bombshell — but unnecessarily so. Many women would probably be totally happy looking like the former. Sure, many might aspire to look like the latter, but the process by which she got there is not possible without a computer. And that just hurts because even though we know it’s unrealistic to look like most women on glossy pages and silver screens either because there’s only one Gisele or because our legs just aren’t going to grow longer no matter how much we stretch or wish them — when we see unrealistic body images as often as we all do, we don’t give up hoping for a miraculous transformation and then feeling bad about ourselves when it never, ever happens.
“I was researching beauty advertisements from the 1950s and noticed how many placed emphasis on maintaining a perfect marriage,” Hill told Yahoo. “If you didn’t look perfect and wear perfume and high heels, your husband would leave you. I wanted to reimagine how Photoshop would be advertised in that era.”
“I think people like to be reminded that the beautiful models we’re surrounded by daily aren’t actually as real as they seem – without extensive makeup and editing, many don’t look that much better than the rest of us.”
It remains to be seen if Hill’s class project or the revealing video will convince women (like me!) that as long as we’re healthy and happy with ourselves that we’re good enough. Regardless, it seems to be a nice start and there appears to be some momentum in artist statements and public sentiment that we want more real women in our lives and our media.
With any hope, the generation of young girls coming of age and those even younger will not know from so much Photoshop and digital distortion, but instead they’ll know from their flaws and their big pores and small eyes and embrace the beauty, uniqueness, and flaws contained therein.
Images used with permission from Anna Hill
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