Mascara Retouching Is A No-No, But Body Retouching Is Fine?

banned ad

The Christian Dior mascara ad that was banned

Well, this is interesting: a Christian Dior mascara advertisement starring Natalie Portman was banned in the U.K. recently because of excessive retouching. Basically, the U.K.’s Advertising Standards Authority said the ad was a big no-no because the super-long lashes on Natalie were fake and extremely misleading. Which, okay, I’m all for ads being more realistic, but of all things, you’re going to ban a mascara ad? You’re going to take a stand on eyelashes? Really?

There are tons of ads out there featuring heavily Photoshopped women with bodies that technically aren’t even real. Waists are cinched to be tinier, boobs are made bigger, hair is made more full, sometimes even arms are taken out of the picture – just look at the recent Victoria’s Secret Photoshop scandal for some proof. And I mean, look at this Christina Aguilera ad. Look at it! It doesn’t even look like her. This is okay, but retouched eyelashes is crossing the line?

There has been a ton of Photoshop controversy recently because these images promote very high beauty standards that the majority of girls can’t possibly meet. If you’re going to ban a heavily Photoshopped ad, why would you pick a mascara ad where eyelashes were retouched? Right now, I feel like eyelashes are the least of our problems.

For one thing, everyone knows that all mascara ads (and all ads in general) are retouched. I mean, you can’t possibly look at the amazingly full and long eyelashes on a model and think they’re real… and if you do, then I hate to break it to you but, um, they’re fake. No one’s eyelashes look like that, no matter what mascara you’re swiping on in the morning.

I mean, even retouchers themselves admit it. In an interview with Buzzfeed, one retoucher said that mascara ads were the worst offenders when it came to retouching, saying: “They wear fake eyelashes, of course, in the photoshoot, and we completely draw the lashes in one by one so it’s just like a forest of eyelashes. That’s like the biggest lie of all – you can’t achieve that.”

Here’s how I feel about Photoshop in ads and images: it’s out there, and we all know it. Unfortunately, no matter how much we want to see pictures of real people without work being done to them, it’s not going to change any time soon. As long as you keep the word “Photoshop” in the back of your mind, you should be okay. I don’t look at ads in magazines and feel bad about myself because I know the ad I’m staring at has been created to look perfect in order to get me to purchase a product.

But I realize that if you don’t know what’s going on behind the scenes, it’s understandable to feel kind of bad about yourself after looking at these retouched images (although you shouldn’t!). And so if someone is going to make an example out of an ad by banning it for excessive retouching, I feel like it should be something more controversial. Something that would actually affect us, like an image where a model has been slimmed down two sizes or her skin has been lightened. Now that would make a statement.

How do you feel about Photoshop and retouching in ads? Do you think it’s cool that this mascara ad was banned? Tell me in the comments!


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