Saturday, August 30, 2014

The Photoshop Issue

The use of Photoshop in advertisements, magazines, and other forms of media has been scrutinized fairly often in the last few years for promoting unhealthy and unrealistic "beauty". I'm sure you've all seen those crazy videos depicting just how easy it is to Photoshop a person into someone absolutely different. Just to reiterate, here are a couple that really blew my mind:

It's long-since been evident that the use of Photoshop to enhance models beyond realistic expectations is harmful to society, and companies have been responding by calling for a ban on retouching in advertisements (read my post on the subject to learn more). The next generation of young people will hopefully grow up in a world where they aren't constantly struggling with an unrealistic image of beauty, but for those of us who have grown up seeing the impossibly long legs and high cheek bones of modern media, it's hard to find comfort in one's natural beauty.

So, where does society stand on the issue of using Photoshop for one's personal use? Retouching personal pictures for Facebook, Instagram, and other social media certainly continues to promote the idea of unrealistic beauty expectations, if on a smaller level. I know that I can't post a picture without retouching my acne, fixing the colors and shadows, and applying a flattering filter to the picture. But doesn't this contribute to the problem of not appreciating natural beauty?

Though I have minimal knowledge of Photoshop (and it certainly shows), it wasn't too hard for me to make this right picture. Guess which picture of myself I like more? Though I know it's unrealistic, My thin thighs and Keira Knightley hair look more appealing to me.

Learning to love oneself is a hard enough road without feeling the constant comparison between reality and modern expectations of society. But does conforming to these expectations promote or demote self-love? There's certainly no correct answer, but it is an interesting thing to think about.

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