Here are some things it’s totally okay to worry about on graduation day: Will enough people scream for you when you walk across the podium to accept your diploma? Will your parents cry JUST enough or WAY too much? And how soon can you lose the cap and gown? Now, here’s something you definitely shouldn’t worry about on your graduation day: how much you weigh.
Recently a U.K.-based photo studio, Success Photography, took some serious heat for offering “digital slimming” as a package option for graduates. Other options included digital complexion and smile enhancement? Really? This is how grad pic options work now? Back in my day it was “Wallet-size or 8 x 10?” Times have changed, like, whoa.
When recent University of York grad Sophie Gadd saw her options, she tweeted unhappily about the option: “I can pay £9.95 to have my graduation pictures photoshopped to make me look thinner :(.” And with less than 140 characters, she set off a social media bomb, garnering hundreds of likes and retweets.
The photo studio eventually responded to their unhappy public, tweeting “Just to make clear ‘digital slimming’ refers to reducing the appearance of the gown only, never the individual.” Because this British photo studio apparently thinks all their customers were born yesterday. When you photoshop a graduation gown to look slimmer, the obvious implication is that the individual wearing that gown is a slimmer individual. It’s clear as day what “digital slimming” means as an option, and the fact that this studio can’t just come out and admit their real reasons for photoshopping is cowardly to the nth degree.
According to TakePart, the company has since nixed their ridiculous “slimming” offer for York University students. “Success have removed the offer from on campus written promotional material and are currently taking steps to amend their online programs to withdraw the offer. They agreed to take this action as soon as we raised the issue with them,” University of York student union president Sam Maguire said in a statement. Still, it’s crazy that it took campus reps and Twitter-wide outrage to get through to the company.
Here’s what really drives me crazy about Photoshopping graduation pictures: the implication is that you are not skinny/clear-skinned/white-teethed enough for your graduation day. That all the hard work and smarts it took you to get to this day aren’t enough. You are not enough for posterity unless your grad photos get a magazine cover makeover. In addition to being straight-up body shaming, photoshopping grad photos just completely misses the point of what your graduation day is supposed to be about.
So here’s hoping everyone takes the hint and the only size thing people concern themselves with on grad day is the hugeness of all the grads’ awesome brains.