Here at HelloGiggles, we don’t take Photoshopping lightly. How can we? In the past two weeks, we’ve witnessed numerous brands digitally shrinking women’s waists, slimming down upper arms and enhancing inner thighs. While it’s ridiculous that companies even feel the need to transform already beautiful female (and male) bodies, we need to talk about the detrimental effects these images have on young girls. The statistics are truly shocking.
I think we all understand that many young women are subconsciously affected by the virtually flawless posters and pictures of models with unattainable bodies. What do I mean? Here’s a pretty blatant example:
This model is naturally a size eight, a perfectly healthy size. On the left, you are shown an untouched photo, whereas the picture on the right has been aggressively edited. In magazines and on the Internet (among other places), we are being lied to constantly.
Here’s a more subtle transformation:
You’ll notice Kim’s thighs were smoothed over, and her waist was tightened. Kim responded to this by saying, “So what? I have a little cellulite. What curvy girl doesn’t? How many people do you think are Photoshopped? It happens all the time!”
And many of us know this. We flip through an issue of Cosmo and see pages on pages of immaculately polished men and women. We may think nothing of it, because we know nobody can be this perfect. However, many girls do think something of it. In fact, depression and eating disorders are directly linked to the way women are portrayed in the media. Photoshop is actually incredibly damaging, and does lead to very real, and negative consequences.
42% of girls in grades 1-3 want to be thinner. No 7-year-old should be self-conscious about their body. 78% of 17-year-old girls are unhappy with their bodies. And no, that wasn’t a typo. 30% of high-school girls and 16% of high-school boys have an eating disorder. Teenage girls are reportedly “more afraid of gaining weight than getting cancer, losing their parents, or nuclear war.”
You guys, it’s time we do something about this. I’m not talking about a full-on war against Photoshop. Photoshop has its time and place. I get that. But using the program to this extent is unacceptable, and its influence is starting to really take a toll on our mental health. We need to take down fictitious representations of women’s bodies. You don’t need to chop half of a woman’s thigh off to advertise a product, you just don’t. You don’t need to bombard every single media outlet with digitally-enhanced images of idealized versions of beauty. By producing an artificial illustration of a woman without what our society sees as “flaws,” the media is encouraging young girls to fear cellulite, curves, and stretch marks.
There are the ways in which you can help change things:
- Support the Truth in Advertising Act (HR431). Call or e-mail your Congressmen and women about it.
- Sign this Sign in Truth Ads petition, or
- Join the Brave Girls Alliance.
Young women (and men) shouldn’t let false advertising destroy their self-confidence. There are definitely more things in life to worry about, like parallel parking or the GRE. But in all seriousness, we don’t need this kind of bullsh*t in our lives. It’s time to act.