“To girls today, the word “pretty” means skinny and blemish-free. Why is that, when so few girls actually fit into such a narrow category? It’s because the media tells us that “pretty” girls are impossibly thin with perfect skin. Here’s what lots of girls don’t know. Those “pretty women” that we see in magazines are fake. They’re often photoshopped, air-brushed, edited to look thinner, and to appear like they have perfect skin. A girl you see in a magazine probably looks a lot different in real life.”
We totally support Juilia. I mean, why do we try so hard (I know I do) to live up to the ridiculous standards of beauty created by the media? They are literally IMAGINARY standards! The actors, models, singers, and celebs we see in photos don’t have poreless, glowing , acne free skin, perfect hair or cellulite free thighs!
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!