Today in things that are simply outrageous, it was discovered that an all-girls high school hired a company that photoshopped their students’ yearbook photos (which also served as their school IDs) without any consent whatsoever. While it’s normal to touch up photos, this photo manipulation went way, way too far. One female student expressed her anger and frustration on Reddit, pointing out “how ridiculous it is to photoshop young women’s faces, especially when she has spent such a long time learning to love everything about herself,” according to Jezebel.
When the student received her photo, this is what the photography company said was changed: 1. Face smoothing, 2. Skin recoloring, 3. Lip recoloring, 4. Eyebrow smoothing and reshaping, and 5. Face thinning.
This is a high school, you guys. HIGH SCHOOL. Face smoothing I can understand, but skin and lip recoloring? Eyebrow reshaping? FACE THINNING? By grossly editing a young woman’s photo to make her appear thinner than she is, her school is telling her that her original photo was not good enough, not beautiful enough as is. And that message is TERRIBLE. Why is a high school perpetuating idealistic (and unrealistic) beauty standards that are damaging to young men and women? Why are they upholding the idea that beauty is strictly synonymous with a svelte face?
The student stated, “I have a round face that I have grown to love and now I get my photo back with a different face. The new photo no longer even looks like me but rather a prettier twin sister.” And that makes me so sad. High schoolers shouldn’t have to get their yearbook photos back and say, “Oh look, they made me prettier.”
As you can see, the changes made were incredibly drastic, making the “after” photo almost unrecognizable.
When you’re a teenager (or an adult, even), it’s hard enough to accept your body without someone else informing you that it needs to be different. I know it took me YEARS to be able to look into a mirror and like what I see. A school is a place that should advocate self-love and embracing your body the way it is, that each and every single individual is beautiful, inside and out. The girl commented in her Reddit post, “Going to an all girls school we are constantly reminded about positive body image and accepting ourselves for who we are. Having these changes made to make me appear thinner makes me wonder how must our school practices what they preach.”
Luckily, this story ends happily. The Redditor met up with her high school principal to discuss the changes in her photo, and they not only allowed her to use the untouched photos, but they too were outraged that the hired photo company changed their students’ portraits in such a drastic, unnecessary way. The young girl stated, “I would like to thank all of the positive comments about how wrong this is and how there needs to be changes in this. . .To sum it up, I want this issue of photoshopping to get the attention it needs, but know that my school has realized that their students do not need to be ‘corrected.'”
No student’s appearance needs to ever, ever be “corrected.” Other schools that have continued this photoshopping practice need to take heed and understand that their students should never feel like they have to be “fixed.” They should never feel like they have flaws that need to be edited. What’s the point of having your yearbook photo taken if you can’t even recognize yourself? Schools, let’s always, always practice and advocate self love and acceptance. Because let’s be real —high school is hard enough without all this drama.