Photoshop Leak – Cindy Crawford  

Last week saw two sets of unretouched (shock, horror) celebrity photographs leaked on the internet – with varied responses from the public and the media. As an avid campaigner for reducing the use of Photoshop and advocate for more realistic images in the media, I had to post on this one!

Cindy Crawford was actually the subject of one of my Inspirational Women posts a while back – she’s always been a natural beauty who of course is stunning and someone we all aspire to look like, yet she’s retained that real-ness and has aged gracefully, continuing her modelling career whilst remaining a positive role model for her daughters and for women all over the world.

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This photo is part of a spread shot for Marie Claire, and apparently Cindy herself insisted that the photo was released in its raw state to show the stark difference between the before and after, which we’ve yet to see.

If this is true then I am really, really impressed with Cindy’s bravery for putting herself out there for the inevitable criticism of the small-minded, jealous people who will undoubtedly slate her (and actually already have) for her ‘less than toned’ stomach, or the ‘cellulite’ or the ‘saggy skin’.

I would like to say that I think Cindy looks FABULOUS for her age (she’s 48!) and more than that she looks real. It’s so refreshing and not at all displeasing to see someone looking so fantastic but so genuine and I really applaud whoever leaked the photos, especially if it was Cindy herself.

I make no secret of the fact that I would like to see many, many more unphotoshopped images in the media. Many people I speak to are surprisingly unaware of the extent that photoshop is used in the media – and in fact the press have been full of articles shocked at the stark differences between the edited and unedited photos emerging, questioning the heavy use of photoshop in our magazines and marketing.

What do you think? Were you aware that photoshop is used to such a great extent? Would you like to see more un-photoshopped images?

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Tough Cookie is a blog for support and inspiration during recovery from Anorexia. Eating disorder recovery can be tough – but so are you!

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Photoshop Leak – Beyonce

L’Oreal and Maybelline – along with the rest of the beauty industry – are amongst some of the worst photoshop usage culprits. In fact, there are often stories in the press and involving trading standards surrounding the unrealistic advertising of beauty products and make-up and the obvious over-use of photoshop in their marketing. Impossibly smooth skin, slim noses, plump lips, sparkling eyes – these adverts are undeniably beautiful to look at, but they really don’t represent reality in any way at all.

This week saw leaked images of Beyonce and Cindy Crawford – causing a media storm. Beyonce’s images were for her latest L’Oreal campaign, and they did represent a fairly stark difference between the officially released images and the raw images. But that’s not because Beyonce is ugly or defective in any way – far from it! She still looks STUNNING in these photos. She’s been under fire for editing her own photos for Instagram, but even unedited paparazzi and concert photos of Beyonce prove that she is unquestionably a natural beauty. Her skin is certainly not the ‘photoshop smooth’ of the L’Oreal photos – but it isn’t awful. Her face is still the same shape – her nose isn’t as contoured, her skin is darker. In fact, in her official L’Oreal images she looks a little too-perfect, a little alien-like, pale and almost unrecognisable. Surely seeing her in her natural state would be much nicer – and much better – for society, especially the young women who look up to her.

I’m not saying that L’Oreal should release these raw images as an advert for their make-up. They have to be expected to use some sort of editing, they’re a business after all. But wouldn’t it be nicer to see more realistic images – less plastic-doll-perfect? I think that the editing used on skin in the beauty industry is way too harsh and completely unnecessary. What do you think of these unretouched images and their retouched counterparts? Which ones do you prefer?

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Tough Cookie is a blog for support and inspiration during recovery from Anorexia. Eating disorder recovery can be tough – but so are you!

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‘An Eating Disorder can happen to anyone’ – is this a helpful message?

I saw an awareness poster recently at a hospital for eating disorders this week, and I really didn’t like it.

Unfortunately I can’t find it online to share it with you, but it said ‘Aged 20-30? It could happen to you/ that doesn’t mean it won’t happen to you’ – as if it can be prevented or is a choice? Eating disorders don’t ‘happen to people’. They have causes – understandable causes – behind them.

An eating disorder does not discriminate, it’s true- but it is not your responsibility to ‘protect yourself’, like eating 5 a day in the hope you might not get cancer. Obviously we can try to ‘prevent’ eating disorders by perhaps having a complete overhaul of how we see ourselves and society’s immense pressure and perception of beauty – but even then, factors such as bullying, traumatic life events or distress and terribly low self-esteem simply can’t be accounted for. Yes, it can happen to anyone – but none of us know when or how we can be affected by a mental health problem, and sometimes even when you are in the thick of it you can’t identify that it is happening.

Instead, shouldn’t we be having posters making people aware of the signs of an eating disorder so they can spot it in themselves or a loved one? Making them aware of services, charities and professional help they can access? And more campaigns like the fabulous This Girl Can and no-photoshop petitions to improve our overall self-esteem? Posters making people aware of eating disorders, how they affect people and encouraging better understanding and empathy? Since eating disorders are still so misunderstood, and sufferers struggle to access help or get a diagnosis, I think this would be much more helpful. What do you think?

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Inspirational Women – Kate Upton

 

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She’s only 20, yet she’s a number one sex symbol worldwide. But there’s also something really refreshing about Kate Upton – she’s honest, she’s curvy and she comes across as incredibly normal whilst possessing maturity beyond her years. She just had to be a part of my Inspirational Women series.

She’s aware that she is a prominent person and a huge role model to women globally  because of her modelling career – but also has something to say about Photoshop culture and marketer’s responsibilities to women.

Of beauty and the falsehood of Photoshop, she says: “Most of the time the model is retouched and too skinny and other people get depressed by it…it’s not realistic for that model or for that woman reading the magazine to think she should look like that.”

Of her own body image: “Everybody goes through hard times, regardless of if they are being criticised for their body.”

Some might say Kate speaking out is ‘all very well’ considering she is a beautiful globally recognised model and a prominent part of the industry itself. No, she’s not necessarily brave or noble, but she speaks with kindness, honesty and integrity which may inspire other women and also proves that each and every one of us has bad days. What do you think of Kate and her comments?

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Small Steps – retailers begin to ban Photoshop

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This year has seen significant steps in reducing the false expectations of beauty we see in the media and marketing, something which I am very passionate about.

With so many retailers and brands under pressure to ban Photoshop, or at least reduce their use of it, in August this year, Modcloth became the first retailer to sign a pledge which promises not to use Photoshop. And when it does, it will add a label to the image making consumers aware that airbrushing has been at play. The bill is part of the Truth in Advertising Act, which aims to present a more realistic view of beauty and body image to women young and old in an increasingly critical and aesthetic society.

Debenhams also made progress this year by vowing not to airbrush their lingerie and swimwear models, as it emerged that girls as young as 11 and 12 were unhappy with their bodies and taking action to lose weight. Now campaigners (including myself) are hoping that other retailers will realise that each and every one of them has a moral obligation to ban airbrushing.

Founder of the bill, ex-advertising exec Seth Matlins  (who features in my last post about Dove Beauty), hopes the bill will be adopted by more and more brands once they see that consumers embrace it wholeheartedly, instead of peddling harmful false representations of ‘beautiful’ women.

‘Please be a part of the solution and a hero. Please consider that you are responsible for the side-effects of how you sell as surely as you are for what you sell,’ he says in a message to advertisers.

It’s heart-breaking for me that the rate of eating disorders, body dysmorphia, depression and self-harm cases are increasing year on year, and at younger and younger ages. The future for our children looks bleak if we don’t take action and change society’s view of beauty and the perception of ‘beautiful’. We also need to lessen the emphasis on appearance and encourage our younger people to focus on the things that really matter in life.

I can’t wait to see what progress next year holds for this bill, and look forward to seeing change soon.

Read Seth Matlin’s blog, Feel More Better, here.

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Dove Beauty – one man takes on the beauty giant – amongst others

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This man is both brave and inspirational, and leads the pack when it comes to getting big brands to sit up and listen about the real effects of their marketing campaigns. They have a huge responsibility, and this man has turned his back on the industry and made it his mission to change the landscape radically, ensuring brighter futures, better mental health and healthier body image for girls like his two young daughters, who were the inspiration behind this life-changing U-turn.

But why did this successful marketer shun the industry that he had once been so successful within, in favour of criticising it and looking to radically alter the fundamentals of fashion and beauty marketing?

One night, one daughter asked him if he thought she was ugly. This changed his world forever.

Now, Seth Matlin aims to obtain as many signatures as possible on his Truth in Advertising Bill, which offers new hope for the self-esteem and body image of generations to come.

After Dove’s high profile ‘Dove Beauty’ campaign using ‘real women’ in adverts, and shunning airbrushing (remember that viral Youtube video in which the model started barefaced and finished up looking like a different person?), Seth wants them to join his campaign and sign the petition.

Whilst he isn’t outright accusing Dove of doing anything wrong or breaching their own principles , he wants to ensure that their message is as wholesome as they imply; and that none of their models have been airbrushed in any way.

Dove have yet to comment; but hopefully this will be their next step in championing real women and combatting unrealistic ideas of beauty.

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Victoria’s Secret under fire for ‘Perfect Body’ advertisement

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Recently, Victoria’s Secret has been under fire for a controversial new advert featuring a string of its slim, leggy models emblazoned with the slogan ‘The Perfect Body’. The tagline, they maintained, referred to the product itself and not the figures of the models featured, yet many have taken offence to the implication that anything other than a Victoria’s Secret body is somehow ‘imperfect’. After a successful campaign and petition, the advertisement was changed.

Victoria’s Secret is a double-edged sword for me. On one hand, along with 99.9% of the female population, I find it hard not to be in love with every single one of their products and of course aspire to look like a Victoria’s Secret Angel.

On the other hand, however, I find the latter abhorrent.

From a marketing perspective, the whole brand is built around this aspirational ideal, as are many others (the likes of the ‘exclusively for thin and pretty people’ Abercrombie and Fitch, for example), which society generally accepts and in fact favours over seeing ‘ugly’ or ‘overweight’ models at the forefront of brands.

But what exactly constitutes ‘normal’? Or ‘beautiful’? Or ‘thin’ or ‘fat’? As I touch on many a time in this blog, there are many different ideas of beauty. No two people will have the same perspective on exactly how beautiful a person is, or what makes them beautiful. The general consensus of what beauty is can often be shunned by a wide majority of people in favour of something different, something quirky, unique.

Aside from this point, is it really responsible to market this sort of message to a mostly impressionable, younger age group? Women of all sizes, ages and nationalities shop at Victoria’s Secret. But it is especially those vulnerable younger girls who already wish to emulate celebrities and those polished and preened for their time in the public eye that should be considered here, along with the wider message it sends to society as a whole. The brightly coloured, sparkly looking Victoria’s Secret models are very much like Barbie dolls – temptingly perfect yet all very uniform and similar in shape, height and beauty. They don’t offer a reasonable, measured view of how women should (and do) naturally look. Instead they peddle the super skinny yet intrinsically feminine, high-cheek-boned long, thick-haired ideal which many strive to in vain to emulate, yet of course most of us unsurprisingly fail.

Why is this the ‘perfect’ figure? What makes this the ‘perfect’ form of beauty? And why should we all try to look this way? The truth is, we are simply being told this information and believing it wholeheartedly, which in turn affects our behaviour and what we see as ‘beautiful’.

It’s like this: if I told you there were aliens living on the moon, the chances are you would question it. You would ask me what evidence I had for this, had I seen them? Has anyone else seen them? Who else believes it? Of course in reality it’s bullshit. I made it up. This is different because it’s not personal. It’s tangible. It doesn’t involve self-scrutiny or criticism.

However imagine you were told that a woman was beautiful. The evidence for this is that men and women alike lust after her. She has everything that women of all ages and nationalities find attractive – perfect hair, large sparkling eyes, plump lips, supple smooth skin, a body that is not too thin but not overweight, just the right amount of curve. She is featured on the front of every magazine. Other people agree that this person is perfect. Articles upon articles are written on how you too can emulate this individual, and the reasons why you should are clear: she is loved all over the world by seemingly every single person. This other form of bullshit is very clever, because it taps into our internal insecurities and psychology and makes us believe that we are missing something. Who doesn’t want to be liked? Who doesn’t want to be told they are pretty? It’s not aesthetic – it’s merely the way that being praised for our appearance makes us feel, and the personal , financial and life gains we see associated with that.

Unfortunately, we often think this way without even noticing it. It is subliminally drummed into us, from an early age. We are exposed to it every single day over an increasing number of media. But don’t forget that everybody is different and beautiful in their own way. We are built the way we are for a reason. And just because somebody in an agency somewhere decides that one person should indicate how each of us looks and feels, doesn’t mean we should take any notice!

What do you think about the recent VS advert? Is the uproar justified? Or is it simply a continuation of an industry-wide practice of unattainable perfection?

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PhotoShop Name and Shame – The Boys!

So it isn’t just girls who can suffer at the hand of the avid retoucher. Here’s a few examples below of how men have been altered beyond recognition using Photoshop.

1. Jonathan Rhys Meyers – Not many fans would kick him out of bed with or without retouching, but the subtle differences in improved skintone are remarkable.

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2. Matthew MacFadden – Famous for many a drool-worthy role in TV and film, this comparison yet again shows crucial differences in skintone and the eradication of imperfections without making him look alien.

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3. Sven Barucha. Prime example – not too much, but just enough.

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Seen any crazy photoshops? Share them with me!!

 

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Inspirational Woman – Lizzie Miller

This is Lizzie. These images of the model were featured in Glamour magazine in an article on self-confidence. Previously she’d been informed that she was ‘too large’ for plus size. Now her agency have instructed her ‘not to lose any weight’. These beautiful un-photoshopped images instantly gained popularity with readers, who flooded Glamour’s website with a deluge of praise for the model. The surprise here is that Lizzie has a ‘tummy’. Girls I think you’ll all agree that Lizzie is very slim…yet just the inclusion of a tiny roll of skin or fat has got real women everywhere rejoicing. We want to see real, normal women in magazines, not plasticised doll-like creatures. It shows the extent to which images are altered and perfected in the media, so much so that a perfectly beautiful, slim woman is championed for having a tiny bit of tummy.

Again it demonstrates how unaware the public are of how what we see daily as ‘normal’ is actually doctored and tampered with beyond recognition. If adults are so oblivious, what effect is this all having on our children?

Personally, I’d like to see more images like this in the media. I didn’t even notice the tummy until it was pointed out to me. Did you? Is it really so important that every lump and bump should be flattened in photoshop before publication?

More than anything, this is proof that trend, money and popularity determine people’s idea of ‘beauty’, not truth.

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Photoshop Name and Shame – Demi Moore

I love Demi Moore. She really is beautiful – those big green eyes, long, dark, shiny hair and killer cheekbones are to die for – not to mention that body!

That’s why it’s especially sad that somebody felt the need to wipe all the emotion out of her face and Photoshop her to look like some sort of living doll in this advert for Helena Rubenstein.

Her skin has been smoothed and blurred to the point of looking like plastic, whilst her eyes are glistening and bright like glass. Spooky isn’t it?

More to come on Photoshop…watch this space.

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Photoshop Name and Shame – Demi Moore

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