Should Magazines Stop Using Photoshop?


Here’s the thing, though: We at Gurl.com are guilty in a way, too. (You all have even brought it to our attention on the boards!) Our whole site is devoted to empowering girls in their lives and in their bodies—a confident girl is the coolest every time–but since Gurl doesn’t hire models or do our own photo shoots, we have to get our pictures from a photo agency. We never ever Photoshop those images to make girls look different, but we also don’t know whether or not they have been run through the Photoshop mill before they get to us—and we acknowledge that a bunch of them probably have been since that’s the standard in the industry.

That said, we also know that you guys aren’t stupid. Tina Fey said it best in Bossypants:

“As long as we all know it’s fake, it’s no more dangerous to society than a radio broadcast of The War of the Worlds . . . If you’re going to expend energy being mad about Photoshop, you’ll also have to be mad about earrings. No one’s ears are that sparkly! Some people say it’s a feminist issue. I agree, because the best Photoshop job I ever got was for a feminist magazine called Bust in 2004. Feminists do the best Photoshop because they leave the meat on your bones. . . they understand that it’s okay to make a photo look as if you were caught on your best day in the best light.”


Look, we get it, Photoshop is totally UNREALISTIC! But you know: we also get it. Tina Fey is right, if we can all agree its fake, we can all agree to ignore it. (Plus, no one wants to look bad in a picture thousands of people will see!) It only takes one glance of Jennifer Lawrence on the red carpet versus her Seventeen cover to know what she actually looks like. Julia is right to question why we live in such a backwards society, and she is also right to want to spread awareness and discussion.

Not everyone understands just how much Photoshop can alter appearances in pictures and they should know. However, we don’t think anybody is being fooled. As long as we can think critically about the ridiculous pictures, the crazy standards, and about ourselves, it’s totally possible to dismiss Photoshop for the nonsense that it is. We should focus our attention on the actual people who criticize women’s actual bodies and on the real language that encourages thinness over thinking. We support Julia Bluhm because she helps society to start doing this kind of thinking and we love the my.gurl boards because they help keep Gurl.com on its toes!

How do you feel about Photoshop? Do you think people are being fooled? Do you think it makes girls insecure? Let us know in the comments!

Next check out is Miley Cyrus Anorexic?


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  • abbie

    i dont agree with this!
    i do a small amount of teenage modelling and (not boasting or anything) i am naturally really slim. i eat SO much but dont pile on pounds. models today all have HBMR’s (high basic metabolism rates) so they are naturally tall or skinny. majority don’t need to be slimmed down. Also, my skin is really clear! im so lucky! yes, the odd blemish gets erased but thats to make you more attracted to the clothes, NOT THE MODEL. its to make you think of how good you can look in these clothes. models aren’t totally fake at all, the colours are edited, but thats the most editing there is! i know, from experience.

  • JustMe

    I really wish they’d stop air-brushing models in all the magazines because, even though I know it’s fake, it still upsets me because I know I can never look thet ‘perfect’ or ‘pretty’! I spend quite a bit of time on my make-up in the morning but still don’t think I look (according to the media) ‘pretty’! So, yeah, they should definitely stop! xoxo

  • FPC

    I believe photos of celebrities on the cover of magazines should be kept as natural as possible, they are real people, embrace the imperfections.

    But when it comes to brands particularly in fashion, why not. The designers in charge of this brand use models to advertise their products, these models are nothing but a base for a character or personality for the brand. Yes, they are based on real people but essentially the model is no more than a character of which ever brand he or she models for.

    Just like an illustrator will adapt cartoon characters to appeal to a particular audience, designers photoshop models to appeal to their target audience, they are no way a representation of how we should look. So what if she makes the models eyes brighter or whatever, this model is a character not a person. People need to understand this. Just because they look like real people, doesn’t mean is it real.

    Similar to special effects in movies. Take Harry Potter for example, the dragons and other made up beasts all look real on screen and in print but we all realize that these creatures do not exist. They are not real people so why bother trying to look like them? You may as well aspire to be Homer Simpson, he and the models are nothing more than a personality dreamed up by who ever created them.

    We should be making more of an effort to teach our kids the difference between fantasy and reality.

    On other note, these “articles” have gone to shit since the gurl make over. Now they seem to be written by a biased 14 year old who thinks she knows it all.

  • Missfiction

    This is stupid.
    Girls need to toughen up and realize the real world and i think a girl who walks by a magazine cover and thinks she wishes she could be that flawless is just stupid. Everybody knows THATS NOT REAL.
    We need to toughen up and realize just because its on a picture DOESNT mean people expect us to be a LIKE THAT PICTURE. This is stupid. Girls need to know that Photoshop is not what they think.
    Yeah we are all gunna think “that picture is so great and i wish…” ok i know but seriously. Its fake.
    And photoshop is usually used to make a photographers work look better.

    I

  • Kendra

    Why is it a girl’s responsibility to determine what’s a realistic portrayal of a woman?
    There’s a hidden message behind most edited photos, especially the ones in advertisements: “This is pretty. Work to be like this.” (If it’s an advertisement, “Buy this and be pretty.”) Whether photographers and advertisers want to admit it or not, these pictures set standards. And when the standard has become something homogenized and unnatural, girls like Julia Bluhm have every right – you could even say a responsibility – to speak up.

  • Hunter

    I think that it’s wrong for imperfections to be hidden. Obviously we have them for a reason, and my imperfections make me feel the most beautiful! My boyfriend constantly tells me that just because I have a little bit of a belly, or that I’m extremely short, or heck, even the fact I’m pale as a ghost, that I am beautiful. And honestly, I believe him. If someone else can accept me and my looks, then so can I!

  • david3452

    Sure, Miss Fey knows, you too. And i bet everyone in the business involved knows , too.

    So, it´s totally ok, to literaly feed girls from the youngest age on with pictures of their idols in a unrealistic photoshopped manner. Hey , since “we” all know what they are,
    it cant have any bad influence, right?

    Lets just forget the big difference, when, lets say miss doe, tries to look as good as she can on her private album and miley cyrus, rihanna or whoever is popular right now among teens. They can just do like Tina Fey.
    That is why i am glad that a site called “gurl” finaly stands up to tell a 14year not to waste her energy on things no one has a problem with.