Women’s Image in America and Image Alteration

Through out History the media ethics have changed women’s perception about themselves especially young women. The problem with images today is that not only do they allow us to make decisions based on superficial aspects that are stressed upon in the different media outlets,such as physical beauty, but that it is sometimes impossible to reach that level of beauty presented at hand. Along time ago, beauty was subjective, there was the different sizes and shapes, but with the emergence of the fashion industry’s “ultra thin chic”trend, it is hard to “fit in”. The problem that the public does not know is that the alteration that these models, actors ,and actresses go through is not just about applying make up by professionals, it is giving these figures fictional features. It is impossible to achieve that level of beauty in some cases, in which the photos are touched up. Models are given brighter eye colors, better skin, smaller noses and sometimes the whole image of a model is an image of a collection of different women pasted together to make a “model” . “What is the problem with this?” one may ask. Firstly, the fact that the image itself is altered and might not even look like the real model, is unknown to many. The average or common woman may even strive to be as thin and as beautiful as these models are when in reality the models themselves do not even look like that. World wide Supermodel Cindy Crawford stated “ I wished I looked like Cindy Crawford”.

Jennifer Aniston’s Cover thats edited vs. her unedited leaked photos.


Another sad aspect of this problem of not knowing that the photos or images are altered, is that especially young girls, do not know this. The fact is that the industries target these teenagers at such a pivotal point in their lives where they know that they are vulnerable. This leads to the advertised company only getting richer, since the result advertised is impossible to achieve. For example if a teenage girl looks at an ad for Mascara, goes to purchase the makeup, after applying it will not find the same results, therefore thinks the problem might be due to her lack of beauty and not being able to imitate that level of beauty that these models have. The girl then might try different brands, with the thought of purchasing that product will give her a better image or to become more beautiful.
Sadly, with the use of programs to alter one’s image such as Adobe Photoshop, normal or average people use it to alter their images to “enhance” them, especially with he use of the social media outlets such as Facebook and Twitter. These media outlets stress upon people to look better and better in pictures when they are only common citizens. It is almost as if the advertised products targeting young women everywhere at every corner to almost always apply some kind of make up daily, is not enough.

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4 thoughts on “Women’s Image in America and Image Alteration

  1. This reminds me of the controversy concerning the Lancôme ads featuring Kate Winslet, which were advertised globally. At first, Kate Winslet opposed severely to photoshop claiming to tell graphic designers to giver her back her wrinkles in the movie posters in which she appeared, and was also quite distraught when a magazine photoshopped her to make her look thinner. Then, she was hired by Lancôme, and this photoshop opposition just vanished. I remember when I first saw the ads, I thought the lady was very beautiful, and resembled Kate Winslet vaguely, but then I found out that this “person” was actually at one point Kate Winslet herself. If anyone is familiar with this ad campaign they know what I’m talking about, silky smooth skin, about ten years younger and much thinner is the appearance given to Kate by the graphic professionals. though Kate is naturally beautiful, the addition of these effects give her an appearance that is just not real. The abuse of graphic effects such as these have led some European countries such as England and France to propose regulations that would make photoshopped ads include a statement in them specifying their impossible nature, letting the audience of the ad know it has been retouched. If the ads are targeted for audiences younger than 16 years of age, it is suggested no airbrushing is used. This ban if passed would be a step in the right direction for the self-esteem of “real people” everywhere, who would know the images they idolize are unrealistic and therefore not worth pursuing their resemblance.

  2. I don’t know about people consciously striving to be like the people that they see on posters. I do think that it is common knowledge to know that the sexy billboards of the ladies that you see on the highways and stuff are photoshopped. I think that consciously, the girls are trying to have qualities of specific people that they know in actuality. Perhaps on a subconscious level, these images create a society that focuses on physical appearance. But physical appearance has been a prominent quandary in human culture for ages, way before Photoshop came out. I don’t think that it’s necessary to have legislations against photoshopped pictures in advertisements.

  3. The way I see it is though there are people like us who see the obvious retouching, there is also people who may not be “modernized” and have absolutely no idea what retouching a photo even is, so to them it’s not obvious. there are also children who grow up constantly seeing these ads, beauty may be an obvious retouching but weight is sometimes hard to tell and then gives people a negative self image when it comes to their body. there are also people out there who plainly lack the intelligence quotient to differentiate the retouched from the real. I see it like video games, to us rational adults going up to people and randomly committing acts of violence towards them is obviously not right, we would never do that; but if you give the same game to a person of mental deficiencies or a child they may have a harder time telling what’s real and what’s fake. what to imitate and what not to imitate. I know it’s not the same and I exaggerated to try to make a point but if we see it from a broader perspective, it’s the line between the real and the fake that is being blurred more and more that is becoming a problem when (even though the majority us can tell the difference) people can’t differentiate between possible and impossible. we can’t assume that everyone will be as knowledgeable as us, and if it causes even a handful of people to hurt themselves (eating disorders, etc) because they don’t know any better then I believe a legislation is necessary, no ad is worth even one second of self-hate from anyone.

  4. I remember my Knowledge and Power class discussed this issue. A girl brought in an article showing an ad and what the model in the ad actually looked like. I would have to say that it is equally drastic as that image of Jennifer Aniston.

    These advertisements that those particular companies create are so incredibly damaging for both young men and women. Young men strive for impossible muscular bodies, while young women want to look like twigs. Adobe Photoshop, while a revolutionary tool for online artists, really wreaks havoc on the body images of young people.

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