Thursday, September 2, 2010

To Be Imperfectly Honest...

Once again we have had someone in the public eye complain about having their image manipulated in a way that they find offensive.   Just for fun, let's see how it works. Here's a photo I snapped of myself:

Original photo.
 Now, my daughter likes to tell me when she sees me doing this that when people see me in person I'm going to scare them. She is probably right. So if you see me in person feel free to run away screaming. I will understand completely.

What DIDN'T I do to this one?
It is amazingly easy to misrepresent ourselves in our techno fun filled world, isn't it? In the second image I amped the color, played with shadows and highlights, and used the softening feature to make that "shadow" next to my mouth disappear.  Why I would feel the need to hide a "shadow" (wink) that is the result of my laughing so much over the course of my life is another post in the making.  I won't even address what is happening to my neck as Nora Ephron has grieved enough over it for all of us in her hilarious book, I Feel Bad About My Neck. Oh, Ms. Ephron, we all do. Let's just say our beauty/youth obsessed culture is rough on a girl's self esteem. I've done about 20 different things to the second version; Photoshop is so much less painful than Botox, not to mention cheaper. And as long as I never leave the house I can pull off the illusion that I look like this at forty-something.

 Now let's look at some truly hideous manipulations. Wait, did you think that's what we were doing already?

Ralph Lauren has been called out on this a couple of times recently. Is this even attractive in a non-Star Wars sort of way?

This one got a lot of publicity and the company claimed if someone else could be responsible. Except the aliens who clearly snatched the other half of her body and left her with a giant bobble head.

This photo at left is the same model. Someone thought that THIS wasn't good enough? Oh yeah, and RL fired her for being too fat. You can't argue with that. Clearly, she is disgusting. My husband, oddly enough, couldn't find anything wrong with it, and thinks the other photo looks like she's been held hostage in a concentration camp and made to wear some humiliatingly ugly clothing as a form of torture. So what's my point in all of this? In a world where a woman's self worth and how she is viewed by others is so closely tied to her physical appearance I think someone should remind us that the standard that the media is setting is nearly impossible to achieve, yet it doesn't stop us from comparing ourselves to it.  The best version of ourselves is a worthy goal, unattainable perfection...well, I say we just let ourselves off the hook for that one.

Here's a link to a website that tracks how images are manipulated in the media and here's one more to the site Photoshop Disasters which is really great fun.

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