|Photo from DIY Photography|
Technology has changed rapidly in the past century; now it seems like every kid has access to a smartphone. In fact, 78% of teens now have a cell phone and teen girls ages 14-17 say that they mostly go online using their cell phone (The Berkman Center for Internet & Society). Due to the increase of exposure to the media and advertisements teen girls are repeatedly seeing images of photoshopped women who are seemingly “perfect.” This idea of “perfect” women has become normal and the standard for young girls to try to live up to. In an effort to achieve that perfection, girls often resort to restricting their calories and becoming bulimic or anorexic. Up to 24 million people of all ages and genders suffer from an eating disorder in the USA and eating disorders have the highest mortality rate of any mental illness ( National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Diseases).
My opinion, like many others, is that we should try to eliminate photoshopped images or make more realistic images of women, instead of using Photoshop to make the impossible image of a perfect woman. On March 22, 2014 a bill written by Seth Matlins was introduced to Congress; it aimed to protect “changes to shape, size, proportion, color, or the enhancement or removal of an individual feature…That crosses a line to misrepresentation and deception all in the pursuit of selling”. The bill would require the Federal Trade Commission to report to Congress about how businesses promote their products using altered images of faces and bodies (The Daily Beast). Seth Matlins is not the only one trying to make a change; large companies are also starting to take notice and take action in trying to make more realistic images of women by not photoshopping them. According to American Eagle officials, their new campaign “Aerie Real” tries to promote “more realistic standards for their teen and preteen customers”. American Eagle ditched Photoshop so that all of the models' “imperfections” are showing. Jenny Altman, an American Eagle brand representative, said “we hope by embracing this that real girls everywhere will start to embrace their own beauty” (Time.com).
Contrary to mine, and popular opinion, some organizations think photoshopping is a positive thing. For example, a high school in Utah photoshopped multiple girls' yearbook photos, without their consent, because it wanted the girls to appear more modest and appear to comply with their dress code. The school claimed that the girls' outfits in their yearbook photos were too inappropriate. Some showed bare shoulders, low necklines, or a tattoo. So, they allowed or encouraged the yearbook staff to photoshop the girls' photos. Several girls complained that "their pictures were altered to show less skin without their knowledge" (CNN). By photoshopping these girls' pictures, their own school was successful in depicting what they wanted: modest girls. However, the message they sent to the girls is that their bodies need to be covered up with higher necklines, added sleeves, and covered tattoos. In other words, they should not feel comfortable in their own skin. Notably, the school did not alter photographs of boys.
The media sends powerful messages to girls about the kind of bodies they should have when they photoshop models' images. Consumers also have power, though, and should speak up and stop buying products made by companies that create unrealistic images of girls and women in their advertising, and also should speak up and support companies that are committed to portraying girls and women realistically.
Photoshopping images of women is a big problem in society because it sets an impossible standard for girls to try to achieve which makes them dissatisfied with their own bodies, and which can lead to serious eating disorders. My thesis is an important topic for digital citizenship because it teaches us to be aware of what we are exposed to on social media and what message that is sending to us. Although the comments in my blog did not change my opinion, they did help me understand my topic a bit more and helped me go more in-depth in my thinking. People were relating to what I had to say and shared their personal experience with how photoshop has effected them. Sense I posted this blog I have furthered my research by going to numerous websites so I could reply to comments using facts to support my resigning. Over all the process of blogging was enlightening, has furthered my research and has given me a clear perspective of other peoples thoughts and how they can relate to my topic.