An anti-Photoshopping movement is spreading online thanks to activists who are pushing for more transparency, and more positive representations of the “ideal” body.
Last year, a documentary called Miss Representation sparked a huge online movement centered around awareness of how “the media’s misrepresentations of women have led to the underrepresentation of women in positions of power and influence.” The movie, which premiered at the 2011 Sundance Film Festival, ended with a call to action for women to take a pledge to stand up for the way females are represented in the media. Their Facebook page, which has over 66,000 fans, includes daily updates on their cause, links to related content, inspiration to spark positive changes, and invitations for fans to take action.
“Tomorrow morning in New York, SPARK Summit and their teen leaders will meet at 11am outside Vogue HQ for a mock fashion show of real girls – the type of girls they’d like to see in the pages of Teen Vogue!” a recent Facebook status read, along with a link to more information.
SPARK drew inspiration from Seventeen Magazine, which recently promised to stop Photoshopping images of their female models, and pledged also to use a range of women to showcase the diversity of true beauty.
The event is happening in conjunction with the #KeepItReal campaign, which aims to get major magazines to commit to publishing at least one image per magazine issue that hasn’t been Photoshopped, in an effort to reduce the promotion of “unrealistic standards of beauty.” The campaign — which includes a Keep it Real Toolkit — is being run by SPARK, LoveSocial, IAmThatGirl.com and EndangeredBodies.org.
Their hope is to address the pressure many women feel to obtain a “hot summer body,” and instead redirect that pressure onto the media, and their toolkit is armed with stats, links and tools to ignite change.
6 months ago, Jesse Rosten released a video that quickly went viral called Fotoshop by Adobe, a spoof ad with a simple description: “This commercial isn’t real, neither are society’s standards of beauty.” The video has been watched over 3.5 million times.
And if you want more evidence that people are rallying behind this antiphotoshopping movement, a YouTube video called The Photoshop Effect has drawn in over 13 million views. The video is just over 5 minutes long and explores the “celebrity Photoshop makeover,” which explores the truth behind retouching and aims to create more transparency around the images that depict reality, and those that have been edited.
The Guardian recently published a special report on the topic of body image dissatisfaction, and the rising number of people who feel disempowered by what they see in the mirror.
“Today the web ensures that we are drowning in visuals: we’re no longer comparing ourselves to ‘local images’ – our friends – instead we’re comparing ourselves to social-networked strangers, celebrities, and to Photoshopped images, of which we see around 5,000 a week,” Eva Wiseman explains in the Guardian piece.
“The problem is not the Photoshopping itself – the problem is that Photoshopped images threaten to replace all others, and that in slicing off the rounded hip of an actress it reveals our difficult relationship with the female body,” Wiseman writes. “The problem is that, in their ubiquity, Photoshopped images have changed our standards of comparison.”
But media and body image isn’t just an emerging issue of the Internet age. Stanford University published a news release in 1993 that explored the “love-hate affair” that women have with magazines, and was based on a study by social psychologist Debbie Then that surveyed 300 women on campus.
“Nearly half of the respondents said their feelings of self-esteem and confidence were undermined by seeing the photographs, and 68 percent reported feeling worse about their looks and bodies,” the news release said. “Several respondents said they were so upset that they stopped reading the magazines altogether, as a self- protective mechanism.”
How important do you think it is for publications to include images of women that are more natural, or unphotoshopped? Do you think there should be different regulations for magazines targeted at different age ranges?