Every magazine and photographer is guilty of tweaking images to make them brighter, better cropped, or clearer. It’s something most of us do ourselves too when we upload a picture to Instagram, choosing the right filter to make our #foodporn pictures look even more appealing.
Editing images isn’t a harmful issue when it comes to travel or food photography – but when it’s a woman’s body that’s being cropped and changed, it’s an entirely different issue.
Earlier this week, Australian model Meaghan Kausman highlighted just how unrealistically the female body is portrayed in the media. Kausman took part in an underwater photo shoot for swimwear label Fella Swim, and the untouched results were just stunning. But the model’s body apparently wasn’t perfect enough, because when the images were published on Fella Swim’s Instagram account, her stomach, arms and thighs had all been slimmed down. Kausman was quick to call out the label for their unnecessary photoshopping, posting both the original and retouched images to her own account.
Kausman criticised the company for their actions, saying it was “an attempt to box me into the cultural ideal of beauty.” She’s by no means wrong, but by Photoshopping those images, Fella Swim were just following in the footsteps of so many other fashion labels.
It’s not considered “normal” in today’s world for a woman in the public eye to have cellulite, a saggy bum or fat upper arms – even though those things are what’s normal for millions of females around the world.
By allowing edited images to be published, media outlets are only further skewing the modern woman’s idea of what it takes to be beautiful. Although we may say, “I bet she doesn’t look like that in real life” when checking out promo shots for Megan Fox’s new film, in the back of our heads is the nagging feeling that we should look just as good ourselves.
Beyoncé, the queen of sexy curves, gave into the pressure herself earlier this month when she posted a Photoshopped image of herself to her Instagram account. In the photo, Bey is relaxing with a glass of wine in a pair of shorts and a strapless top. Many were quick to point out the wavy lines on the singer’s wine glass and phone – classic signs that the image had been tweaked. Queen B’s body is the envy of women worldwide, so why did she feel the need to slim it down using Photoshop?
We can’t blame every body image insecurity on Photoshop, but the fact that images are so often changed to remove totally normal flaws and imperfections just isn’t healthy. Sure, we might be informed enough now to realise that not everything published is 100% real, but what about the next generation of young girls?
We need to make young women realise that beauty can come in many forms – and publishing heavily edited images is not the way to do it.