A 23-year-old Australian model is pushing back against a swimwear company that used Photoshopped pictures of her wearing one of their bathing suits.
Two weeks ago, fashion student and model Meaghan Kausman participated in a photoshoot with photographer Pip Summerville. The underwater shoot featured Kausman in a bikini provided by swimwear company Fella Swim. Following the shoot, Kausman posted some of the pictures to her Instagram profile. The following day, Fella Swim posted the same photos to their account with one major change: Kausman’s body had been Photoshopped beyond recognition, making her look much skinnier than she actually is.
Frustrated, Kausman took to her Instagram account, and posted a side-by-side version of the original photo along with her Photoshopped doppelgänger.
“Making art is my passion,” Kausman captioned her Instagram post. “Creating beautiful photos and meeting inspiring people has really given me a new lease on life. I recently did a photoshoot wearing Fella Swim, with an extremely passionate and talented underwater photographer, Pip (@seagypsea_photography). Her photos are magical; they capture women in water and celebrate their beauty.”
“This morning I was extremely shocked to see that Fella Swim had uploaded a photoshopped version of Pip’s original photo to their Instagram page. They had drastically altered my body, thinning out my stomach and thighs in an attempt to box me in to the cultural ideal of beauty. Above is their version, below is the real version. My body is a size 8, not a size 4. That’s my body!
“I refuse to stand by and allow ANY company or person to perpetuate the belief that ‘thinner is better.’ All women are beautiful, and we come in different shapes and sizes! This industry is crazy!!!! It is NOT OKAY to alter a woman’s body to make it look thinner. EVER!”
As luck would have it, Kausman’s father, Rick, is the director of body-positivity group The Butterfly Foundation. The group’s stated goals are to offer support to people “affected by eating disorders and negative body image.” It seems that Fella Swim chose the wrong model to ‘shop.
On his Facebook profile, the elder Kausman wrote, “Firstly taking someone’s photograph and altering without permission, then publishing it (is wrong). Secondly (there is) the broader and the hugely problematic issue of photoshopping images and the incredible harm this does to so many people, particularly young girls and boys, but so many others irrespective of their age, with respect to their body image and feelings of self-worth.”
Though the company tells Daily Mail Australia that they have apologized to both Kausman and Summervile, the two women claim that they’ve yet to hear back from anyone at Fella Swim.
Women worldwide struggle with body image, and the media has exacerbated the problem by presenting women in a neatly-packaged, flawless ideal. It’s rare to see a wrinkle, a stretch mark or an ounce of fat on the images used in marketing. This does untold damage to women who are led to believe that there’s something wrong with their bodies.
Luckily, there are women like Kausman and an increasing number of body-positive photo and media campaigns to set the record straight. Whether she’s a size 4, 8, or 18, Kausman is a gorgeous and courageous woman.
Featured image via Instagram.