According to the Globe and Mail, Panasonic has recently released a camera that allows users to retouch their photos right on the camera. From beauty touch-ups to adding make-up, the camera makes it easier than ever to modify photographs and create the “perfect” picture.
We live in a world where we want everything to be perfect – perfect skin, perfect hair, perfect lighting, perfect weather. If it’s not perfect, we complain. But didn’t our mothers always tell us that it’s the imperfections that make us perfect. The gap in you teeth, your freckles, your cow-lick…isn’t that what makes us, us?
For the last several years, there has been a push in the modelling and magazine industry to use “real” girls and to do less (or no) airbrushing on photographs. The Canadian clothing company Jacob announced last fall that they will be using “real” women and not doing anymore airbrushing in their online catalogues. But has anyone actually compared the past from the present? Do we actually know if the pictures we see in magazines or online are the real deal (outside of the celebrity gossip magazines of course…GASP!! Paris Hilton doesn’t wear makeup all of the time?!? What is the world coming to??)
Tell the truth – would you buy a magazine if the celebrity on the cover did look “real”? If she had zits on her face, her roots were showing, or she had a little bit of a belly or bigger hips, would you pay $5.99 at the supermarket checkout? Aren’t we so over-conditioned to believe that yes, if we buy this magazine, we can look perfect too?
The biggest question I have is why are we blaming the celebrities who appear on the cover of these publications for being airbrushed? Do we think they truly have a say in what that final cover picture is going to look like? It doesn’t matter if their self-esteem is destroyed because a beauty magazine didn’t think they were beautiful enough as they are, despite the endless mantras and “girls rule” articles there may be under the cover. The publications and the clothing companies are out there to make money. Their job is to make us believe that with the right products, shoes and jeans, we can look exactly like the women (or men) in their photographs.
It’s a bad thing to be teaching our children, but I don’t see it changing anytime soon. If the medium is the message, in terms of selling clothing, make up and other beauty products, the medium better look damn good!