Blurring the Lines Between Ideality and Reality

With Photoshop becoming more user-friendly and Photoshop skills developing, it is becoming increasingly difficult to tell the real from the fake. Advanced features such as the liquefy tool, which smoothens lines to yield a seamless image, allow users to manipulate a picture and blend their edits, disguising any change to the original image.

Junior Addi MacKenzie is an avid Photoshop user who describes it as, “A way to make multimedia art, using the computer, with the purpose of adding a creative dimension to artwork, not manipulating an image.” However the use of Photoshop commercially is a far cry from creating unique artwork. In the world of media, Photoshop is used to manipulate photos to produce the ideal body. Photoshop is almost abused in media, tricking consumers into believing that the edited image is photoshop imagereality.

This practice, while effective for selling magazines or marketing a story, can also yield detrimental results in the minds of users. Magazines feature covers advertising “the perfect woman,” while they edit the bodies of models to produce ideal feminine features. Studies prove that readers who do not see themselves as having these ideal body types are more likely to be diagnosed with eating disorders or other mental health issues including depression. In fact, over 24 million people around the world suffer from some type of eating disorder; the origins of such issues can be traced to the advertisement of skinny and hyper-sexualized women that magazines create and market as the perfect woman.

In a study, it was discovered that after just 3 minutes of looking at the fashion magazine, Seventeen, (which has been known to Photoshop models), 70 % of women began to feel depressed and ashamed of their appearance. In fact, this study inspired a petition, proposed by a 14 year old girl who heard the girls in her dance class calling themselves “so fat” and “ugly”. The petition demands that the magazine stop altering the images of their models. The magazine responded to the 84,000 signatures on the petition, promising to “never change girls’ body or face shape” and only “feature real girls and models who are healthy”.

Wouldn’t it be great if every magazine would follow Seventeen’s lead and begin respecting beauty of all types, instead of glorifying the unattainable? Doing so would only help to make all people feel better about their appearance and ultimately reduce the number of victims suffering with eating disorders and depression.

It is very rare to find an image nowadays that has not been “touched-up”, if not modified completely. However, allowing these images to remain untouched would ultimately benefit many readers. Photoshop was made for the purpose Addi described above, not complete artificial modification of the human body.

 Kelly Adams, Staff Writer 

Posted by on January 29, 2015. Filed under Arts. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry