We are fooled into thinking we are so much worse than we are. How??? We are being forced to compare ourselves to lies — to beautiful people retouched into impossibly beautiful people.
Really, this IS false advertising — right down to the definition!
There isn’t one photo out there that isn’t telling a lie to some extent. No publication would publish a photo that wasn’t retouched to some extent. (Excluding, of course, tabloids who want celebrities to look bad. But in those cases, they are probably also retouched photos — made to look worse!)
Curvy Girl Guide recently posted about a study by Dartmouth College about the problem of photo retouching in the media, showing some of the shocking before and after photos of celebrities enhanced with Photoshop.
The study goes so far as to suggest legislating photo retouching:
In recent years, advertisers and magazine editors have been widely criticized for taking digital photo retouching to an extreme. Impossibly thin, tall, and wrinkle- and blemish-free models are routinely splashed onto billboards, advertisements, and magazine covers. The ubiquity of these unrealistic and highly idealized images has been linked to eating disorders and body image dissatisfaction in men, women, and children. In response, several countries have considered legislating the labeling of retouched photos. – source www.pnas.org
BUT WAIT — before we quickly bob our heads in agreement with the disservice the media is doing to our society by perpetuating the unrealistic “ideals,” lets remember our own photo-retouching programs.
As bloggers we are part of new media — and most of us retouch photos at least some of the time. As a blogger who publishes her photography, I definitely am guilty of photo retouching. While I could never alter a photo to the level that these magazines and advertisers do, (they are masters!) I definitely have whitened teeth, reduced dark circles, removed blemishes, etc. As a perfectionist, I find it very hard to not retouch photos.
Does that mean I am practicing false advertising??? Can we really have laws about how much a photo is retouched???
What do you think — do you think this is a matter for legislature or something that our society just has to accept and/or self correct?
Read more of Janice’s posts at 5 Minutes for Mom.
And don’t miss a post — follow @5MinutesforMom on Twitter!