Monday, 1 December 2014

Suggestion: Edited Image Label (Photoshop Society)

It's no secret that advertisers and magazine producers use Photoshop extensively to make their models look thinner, sleeker and blemish free. What if we expose those situations?

Unrealistic images in advertising often get blamed for an increase in eating disorders and body image problems among young girls exposed to this type of media. Some argue that glossy magazines and print ads featuring unrealistically thin and beautiful women can cause problems for young girls' self esteem and should be regulated to offer a more realistic image.
The problem with many ads is not that they take normal human beings and stretch them into El Greco–like seraphim. It’s that they chase down the 1 percent of men and women who already possess otherworldly DNA and hold them up as yardsticks for the rest of us. Forbidding a photographer from widening a (real) 2-inch thigh gap into a (fake) 3-inch thigh gap seems to miss the point. Worse, it might make us complacent about all the work that’s left to do on how advertising agencies treat women’s bodies.
However, there is some empirical evidence showing that Photoshop standards have an impact on the general public’s body image and eating disorders. In 2009, French politicians proposed a law that would label retouched images with “health warnings.” The same year, members of Britain’s Liberal Democrat party tried to ban Photoshop for ads aimed at kids under 16.

In a world of limited time and resources, Photoshop seems like a strange drum for the Eating Disorders Coalition to beat. Diseases like anorexia and bulimia are largely understood now to be biological in origin, although cultural conditioning can definitely trip certain wires. There’s a lot of research linking media exposure to dieting and body dissatisfaction, but only a handful of studies directly implicate ads in eating disorders (and even those caution that the offending images likely triggered pre-existing drives). Given that the specific genetic causes of eating disorders remain so mysterious, and the treatment so hit-or-miss, lobbying money might be better spent on research than on making sure the thin, beautiful women who appear in magazines are naturally thin and beautiful.

I would love to live in a world cleansed of all photoshopping funny business, in which consumers found things to admire in men and women of all shapes and sizes, and no one felt depressed because their skin didn’t emit radioactive levels of radiance (and no one exploited that depression to sell skin cream). But advertising takes place in the collective brainspace reserved for cultural fantasies. You can’t want what you already have. I’m just not sure there’s a way to promote products without somehow making people feel inadequate, and I think the better solution is for us, as consumers, to be smart about the advertorial messages we consume. So, when you look at an underwear ad, perhaps don’t expect unsparing physical realism. When you see cosmetic spots, repeat the following: Maybe she’s born with it, maybe it’s Maybelline, it’s probably Photoshop. As for those with eating disorders or vulnerable to developing eating disorders, they’ll need more support than a few regulations.

Final thoughts...
In a world full of labels, why don't we use one for edited images?

Suggestion 1

 Suggestion 2

If you enjoyed this article, please consider tipping me using Bitcoin. Bitcoin Address: 1CZMXfdyJzquJaagpHixzizuN2SxFbefTP


Blog Editor and Owner: Luis Aparicio Fernandes (or Mikey) is a Business Expert and a Traveler based in Sydney, Australia. He is a member of The International Honor Society Beta Gamma Sigma due to his achievements in business. You can follow Luis on Google+, and LinkedIn.