Today is the second day of Miss Representation’s Keep it Real Challenge, where people all over the country are urging magazine companies to print just ONE (only one) unretouched photo per magazine.
These images aren’t of real people anymore. But they’re presented as if they are. These magazines and diet ads tell us that we can look like these pictures if we buy their products, if we read their articles, if we just try a little bit harder. But the reality is that we can’t. All of this airbrushing and retouching is placing the standard of beauty WAY above our heads and setting children up with unrealistic expectations to reach.
I took a class on eating disorders my first year of college and we spent a while discussing the media. One interesting/horrifying thing that I learned and will never forget is that people completely make up some of the images of people in magazines. They take the eyes from one person, the lips from another, the hair from another, etc. and smash them together to make this “perfect person” that never even existed in the first place! I know this video is really cliché at this point, but I think it does a really good job of showing all of the work that goes into every single image that we are shown. Not only is this weird but it is also lying to all of us! If I buy this skin cream it will make me look like this person that isn’t actually even real? That’s lying.
And there’s no way to avoid these images. Trust me, if I could, I would never look at a photoshopped picture again. But they’re everywhere. I can’t go to any store in the country without magazine covers glaring headlines at me like “Look perfect this summer!” and images of women without pores, freckles, blemishes, or body fat. And that’s not fair. We’re being bombarded with these images of what people say we SHOULD look like and no images of what real people look like.
And the most disgusting thing I’ve seen yet? By far this.
She was in this magazine discussing her battle with an EATING DISORDER. And they felt the need to photoshop her body down to a smaller size. Please take a look at the rest of this article to see just a few of the crazy things that people are doing with photoshop (just click on the picture).
Maybe magazine companies are afraid that no one will buy magazines that have pictures of actual people in them. Or even worse, maybe people will catch on to just how unrealistic some of the photos that are used are. Maybe that’s true, maybe it isn’t. I don’t know and I can’t predict that. All I do know is that I am absolutely not buying magazines with photo shopped images and articles that tell me how to get the best bikini body and how to make guys want me. Looking at these magazines doesn’t make me feel good about myself at all, it only makes me feel worse. And I am NOT going to spend my life perpetuating this cycle of self hate that has been created. I have better things to spend my money on and I have better things to spend my time doing. So maybe these companies ARE afraid that they won’t sell as many magazines if they use unretouched photos of REAL people, but if they’re more concerned with making money than with helping people
- 3 out of 4 teenage girls feel depressed, guilty, and shameful after spending three minutes leafing through a fashion magazine
- Female self-confidence peaks around age 9
- Most fashion models are thinner than 98% of American women
- a young woman between the ages of 18-34 has a 7% chance of being as slim as a catwalk model and a 1% chance of being as thin as a supermodel.
- Twenty years ago the average fashion model weighed 8% less than the average woman. Today that number is 23% less
- 69% of girls said that magazine models influence their idea of the “perfect body”
- Girls who were already dissatisfied with their bodies showed more dieting, anxiety, and bulimic symptoms after prolonged exposure to fashion and advertising images in a teen girl magazine.
- Exposure to the “ideal” body images has been found to lower women’s satisfaction with their own attractiveness.
These statistics might not be enough to motivate magazine companies to change the way that they are doing things, but they are definitely enough to motivate me to not buy magazines until something changes. I’m not going to live my life soaking up the message of self-hate that they are being presented to me and I’m also not going to teach those messages to others.