Satisfying Society One Woman at a Time

Natalie Zhao

Do you remember that time you looked in the mirror and thought you looked exactly like Jennifer Lawrence on the cover of that September 2012 Vogue issue? I don’t.

It is probably because of the way publications, like Vogue, utilizes Photoshop to enlarge breasts, flatten stomachs, and hide blemishes to create the illusion of the “ideal woman.”

Photo retouching makes women feel like they must look a certain way in order to be attractive, adding to the growing list of unrealistic standards set by social media.

I concede that models should be aesthetically pleasing and that they should be used to attract the type of people the company is targeting. With that goal in mind, it only makes sense for advertisement campaigns and the media to use women who are “attractive,” but do these models need be retouched only to promote something entirely fake?

“My feeling is that for years now it [photo retouching] has taken a much too big part in how women are being visually defined today,” said Peter Lindbergh, a renowned image maker, in a New York Times article.

For example, in the January 2003 issue of GQ magazine, photos of Kate Winslet were altered to maker her look much thinner than she was in real, life in order to maintain a certain appearance and appeal to the audience of the men’s magazine.

How do these fake photos make women feel? Does it make them feel as if it is their duty is to strive to replicate a certain body type? Between her curvy backside and perky chest, Winslet’s flat stomach speaks volumes.

Her stomach is hidden on purpose, to give girls an example of what they should look like in the public’s eye and an example of what men appreciate.

The fact of the matter is, girls up to the age of 17 have been exposed to an average of 250,000 advertisement campaigns showing the ‘typical woman.’ With that, a Policy Mic article reported that 78% of girls under the age of 17 are already unsatisfied with their bodies, and 65% of women of all ages have reported eating disorders.

Although it will be difficult, since the use of Photoshop is so prevalent amongst these publications, photo retouching needs to be stopped. The media should not be responsible for setting such physical goals and cannot continue to hold women to higher standards than men. Also, magazines need to stop limiting a woman’s attractiveness and appearance to how famous people look in magazines or on television.

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