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July 27, 2010


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jay (@cosmicgirlie)

As someone who regularly edits images of people, I become really nervous when they laugh and joke saying things like "Can you make me look 5 years younger/take the wrinkles away/make me blonde/make me gorgeous".

It makes me so sad that, even though they're joking on the outside, a part of me wonders what they're thinking on the inside. And the fact that they've asked says to me that people are often very disillusioned by what could be real and what is so horribly fake.

I recently saw an article that I hope and pray many people saw, male or female, all walks of life. And even if this too is fake, at least it suggests the idea that, really? These people aren't as real as you might think.

Nothing like planting that seed and watching it grow.



These images are not only airbrushed, they are completely alien! We no longer know what real skin looks like, thanks to the evening out tactics employed by the retouchers, and 'real' bodies are nowhere to be seen.

I was very tempted, when we did the Figleaves thing, to photoshop myself and insert it next to the real thing - partly to satisfy my own ego (if I'm honest) but also to show how these images are generally distorted. As someone who has struggled with body image for most of my life, I don't think that the magazines are the root cause, but they certainly do nothing to help the millions of young men and women fighting to find themselves.

Kudos to celebs like Brittany in Jay's link, and Kate Winslet who take the time to make a stand - sadly most of them are too obsessed with attaining the body beautiful to admit their own faults.

Finally, I just can't understand the argument about 'creating fantasy' - how long before the 'models' aren't real at all, but some animated distortion of reality?


Very Bored in Catalunya

I definitely think this is a move in the right direction. And huge kudos to Britney for showing just how airbrushed an image is. I have a tremendous amount of respect for her for that. Hopefully we will get to a day where only bruises and eye bags are retouched and you get to see women's body in their natural glory.

Those Ralph Lauren models actually make me feel queasy, my 4 year old has a wider torso.


Good article Rosie - I have a battle with my daughter (she's 19) about the amount of foundation she wears but, luckily, she's never really had body image issues, regardless of what she sees in the media. I hope (I seem to have done) I have given her the right information in the past and she sees the "truth".

jay (@cosmicgirlie)

I meant to add - those models pictured in this post look absolutely ridiculous. Is it only a matter of time before our youngsters are planning complete full body cosmetic surgery to look, as Paula says so perfectly, "completely alien"?

Jane (TitchyTalk)

Are Ralph Lauren serious - surely these pic are meant to be an ironic jab at the fashion industry, no?! They couldn't be serious. I do wish I had known that airbrushing happened when I was younger, I seriously thought I should have flawless skin and endless legs. So letting girls know it goes on has got to be a good thing, and hats off to Britney.


Great article. I ran a photography studio for a few years and we always got asked to make people skinny/get rid of wrinkles etc. And it is incredible what you can do. I totally shudder looking at images from magazines which I think are SO obviously tweaked to within an inch of their life. Especially the skin images. I seriously thought when I was a teenager that my skin should look like that naturally. yeah! We've started early on the education of our children - a big discussion the other morning over Shreddies' claim that this box had their 'best recipe ever' inside. My 5 year old was wondering how this could possibly be true? Good question, I thought.
Thanks for the post. I think it's definitely a move in the right direction.


And I don't even like stick insects so much... They look sick.

Henrietta Pretty

YOu've lost 2 friends? so sorry.
common sense says that images that are doctored should be identified as such.
I am also always astounded that you can advertise a hair product and make out a model with hair extensions got that hair through using it. Or one with fake white teeth advertising a toothpaste. Surely, there should be some kind of small print around that? If we have all sorts of regulations around other forms of advertising e.g. financial services, why are they allowed to bare faced lie about the results of beauty products? After all they're falsely inciting you to buy them.
Great post


Heather Davis

There was a great "video" going around f/b awhile back that my daughter showed me. It should the various stages of transformation a model takes from the start of a photo-shot to the actual billboard. The two were not the same. It makes you wonder why they bother with real people at all. Equally as scary as the whole thinning down thing is the anti-aging messages coming from the media. As Paula says alien faces on some of these women! I think it is damaging to young girls who already face a mountain of self-doubt. My daughter who is 17 and a size 10 constantly refers to herself as fat. And recently I have see a number of young girls who are skeletal and it horrifies me. When will we look back on all this madness and go WTF?

Heather Davis

I meant to say "showed the various stages..." not should! Really must check my comments before hitting submit!

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