Photoshopping Reality Out of the Media

Bridge MASTHEAD 2 (alternate)Athena Whitty

 Turning an eye to magazine covers, television, or the big screen for beauty isn’t something new. Society tries to keep up with celebrities featured in magazines, movies and commercials.

Never giving it much thought, I’ve blurted out “Wow, I want to look like that” and played into the vicious cycle.

After doing more research, I found the very people society strives to resemble are airbrushed, lightened, brightened, recolored, stretched, contoured, and slimmed down to achieve media quality perfection.

 I realized that the people on magazine covers and in those movies don’t look like that until editing is complete and there is no app or program that can airbrush my physical skin so, what was I doing?

This is where the slippery slope of realistic editing comes in.  Altering photos and videos can be a great tool for improving the overall look artistically. Editing with a heavy hand can leave models looking extremely lean, have rearranged bone structures, poreless and wrinkle free.

Dixie Gausling, Professor of Digital Photography here at Lewis and Clark, draws the line at focusing her editing on temporary situations like blemishes or only softening wrinkles.

“I’ve had to send people to other photographers because I won’t photoshop them to look slimmer even though they are more expensive. Some women will pay hundreds for that.” Gausling said.

Actress Jennifer Lawrence has asked for the media to be accountable during an interview with Barbara Walters.

 “ I think when it comes to the media, the media needs to take responsibility for the effect that it has on our younger generation, on these girls who are watching these television shows, and picking up how to talk and how to be cool, so then all of a sudden being funny is making fun of the girl who’s wearing an ugly dress,” Lawrence said.

Lawrence has been vocal about being asked to lose weight for her role in “The Hunger Games” as Katniss. In an interview with BBC Lawrence stated she thought it was a great chance to banish unbelievable body types from the industry by shining the spotlight on more   realistic ones.

Poor body image is not a problem of youth. It touches a plethora of ages from many walks of life and why wouldn’t it when we are bombarded with images that don’t reflect us. It’s time for us to break the cycle.

Instead of the media altering images to fit into an unattainable bubble of beauty, media should take the more strenuous challenge and alter its idea of beauty to more authentic terms that encompass all if its fans.


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