It’s hard to believe something as little as a picture can be so deceiving.
With today’s technology and innovation, photos can be manipulated so heavily that what the viewer sees could be completely different from the actual photo.
These types of manipulations occur frequently when editing photos of people, especially models, and that is where I think we run into problems. Editors will manipulate photos of people by making them look thinner, removing blemishes or whitening their teeth to make them look more attractive. This deceives the viewer by giving them unattainable standards of beauty.
According to Jean Kilbourne, 78 percent of 17-year-old girls are unhappy with the way their bodies look. Kilbourne is a researcher who has dedicated 40 years to studying media ethics and the effects of advertisements on body image.
This number is staggering, and I believe the reason it is so high is because brands and media promote retouching photos that make the models look “perfect.”
In 2014, lingerie brand Aerie released their “Aerie Real” campaign. It has promised that all campaign photos are photoshop-free. According to fastcompany.com, an online news outlet, Dana Seguin, Aerie’s senior director of marketing, said this campaign gives customers a “real experience” and is the “evolution of the brand.”
Aerie fans reacted positively, because the company’s sale grew by 20 percent after the first year of the campaign. In response, other companies including Dove, Adidas and Seventeen magazine have vowed to not retouch their ad photos.
I believe this is a step in the right direction for society. The “anti-retouch” movement is helping eliminate society’s standards of beauty, which allows people to have higher self-esteem and body image.