I penned an opinion piece on why Photoshopped images should be labelled for Style Siren, who kindly provided the soapbox I’ve been waiting around 28 years for. You can find the full article – and plenty more where that came from – here.
Which side of the argument are you on?
In this digital age, we’re bombarded every day with images in the media and in advertising that have been Photoshopped beyond recognition. TRISHA DOYLE and LIAM BROWNE fight it out on the question – should images that have been retouched in Photoshop be labelled as such?
I’m firmly in the yes camp on this one. But not just because of feminist reasoning – although feel free to read Naomi Wolf’s The Beauty Myth for ideas on why we’re trapped by our constructs of beauty; on who and why created the housewife as an ideal in the 50s, to the inert, gaunt contemporary model who is 23 per cent thinner than the average woman and the truly distressing fact that most women cite their main goal in life to be at least 13 lbs thinner. It’s safe to say in terms of body image, we’re in a bad state of affairs and unlabelled and unchecked Photoshopping is simply feeding these negative, unachievable ideals.
Everyone wants to make some money and if Mad Men has taught us anything, it’s that we all want to buy an ideal and buy into a lifestyle. And that’s fine; money does its part in making the world go round, but I don’t want it to be at my expense. I want to trust that what I’m investing my hard earned cash in will do what it says. So while the Photoshop Disasters blog is worth a venture on your virtual travels for at least some mirth over your morning coffee, it may also make you pause when you see the dominance of certain types of companies, mainly lingerie, lifestyle magazines and beauty brands – all businesses whose target audience is primarily women. What all this is saying is, for some reason, doing exactly what it says on the tin isn’t a privilege that gets extended to the female consumer. Instead it’s a nip here, a tuck there, hoping we won’t notice or when we do, a limb taken, a giraffe neck given or a Duchess of Cambridge halved.
Like it or not, ultimately, we’re in the age of austerity. Women still need beauty products, clothes, ideas and inspirations from the media, but we don’t have the money to waste on a product that needs a team of designers to Photoshop it to hell and back to make it look halfway decent, particularly when it’s on a model – someone who is paid to be gorgeous, so can invest the time and money into keeping themselves as so. Unfortunately, I don’t have the genes, the time or the money so I need to trust into what I’m buying into. And labelling images and letting me know the reality of what I’m investing in is a good start.
Trisha Doyle for stylesiren.ie
Beauty brands and magazine publishers are being taken to task for retouching, airbrushing and photoshopping images of suspiciously scrawny stars to help sell magazines and advertise cosmetics. From here on in, according to new guidelines from the Committee of Advertising Practice (CAP) and the Broadcast Committee of Advertising Practice (BCAP), any image that is enhanced in any way will have to be tagged as such.
Grazia reckons it’s a huge breakthrough for an industry that relies so heavily on what is really unobtainable beauty. They ‘rejoice’ the fact that no longer will impressionable consumers be subjected to visually perfect images that encourages them to shell out for magazines and beauty products.
Maybe it’s my lack of knowledge about the beauty industry, but I’m more inclined to believe that Grazia – and similar titles – are missing the point. By celebrating the decision of the CAP and the BCAP, they assume that you, the consumer, had no idea that the images were enhanced in the first place. Just like the products they endorse and earn copious amounts of advertising revenue from, they too prey on the gullible and in doing so, shift thousands of magazines that are fronted by popular, yet airbrushed, stars.
The images here tell the true story, as long as you can spot which one has spent a bit of time in photoshop. You have to hand it to Jessica Simpson – apparently she’s the first to allow an image of herself to hit the shelves without any cosmetics or retouching. Leaving personality aside for a moment, it’s hard to argue against the fact that she’s got a lot going for her in the looks department. And therefore, in my opinion, she deserves to earn a ridiculous amount of money if brands are willing to fork out for her services. At least she’s genuine and the images show her exactly as she is.
On the other hand, if you really believe that Britney Spears and her Mr. 15% would allow pictures of her on front covers or grace our TV screens whilst looking blotchy and overweight – which, these days, she seems to be most of time – then pick up another brick and stick it down your throat, just like all the other ones you’ve most likely swallowed.
Liam Browne for stylesiren.ie