The skinny on retouching1comment
Over the past few years, there’s been a distressing increase in creative license when it comes to photoshopping women. It used to be that retouching was just about removing a few lines or pimples, but now-a-days the retouchers are pretty much using the subject of the photos as a jumping off point for bizarre art projects. Heads are routinely swapped onto different bodies, and individual body parts are mixed and stretched like some freakish combination of Mr. Potato Head and Gumby. If you don’t know what I mean, spend a little time on the fabulous site Photoshop Disasters.
I understand wanting to show an idealized image of a woman to sell your product, but I don’t understand altering her image to the point that it no longer resembles a human being. And what, I might ask, is the point of hiring and paying for a famous actress to be your cover model or spokeswoman if you are going make her completely unrecognizable? A few months ago I wrote an open letter to whoever is responsible for the photoshop debacle that was Tina Fey’s In Style magazine cover. Why is swapping her body with that of a young boy in drag considered an improvement?
Clearly I’m not the only one who thinks things have gone to far. England’s Advertising Standards Authority recently banned two cosmetic advertisements on the grounds that the extreme retouching in the images constituted fraud, as the products being advertized couldn’t possibly achieve the results being shown in the adds. Clearly, a skin cream will never be able to remove all actual skin qualities to make one’s face look as sooth and textureless as a sheet of plastic. My question is… why would we want one to? Sure, many women aspire to have flawless skin, but since when did we start aspiring to get rid of our skin completely?
Why do magazines and cosmetic companies think the beauty ideal is an inanimate object? I know there are guys in the world who fantasize about plastic fuck dolls, but I feel confident that most guys would rather see and feel a real human woman.
Seriously L’Oreal and Maybelline… if Julia Roberts and Christy fucking Turlington aren’t pretty enough for you, I don’t know what to say.
And here are some classics from Photoshop Disasters: