Earlier this spring, a friend and I had a long conversation about women and the media. First, we lamented the fact that every single article written about a powerful woman described what she was wearing, how she did her hair, and/or the ways in her style and grooming had changed over the course of her career. But eventually we came around to Photoshop.
Some organizations, publications, and countries are fighting hard against photo retouching and the false notions it instills in the observing public. But, as former Marie Claire editor Liz Jones explains, the fashion industry and the media associated with it are NOT on board. They are resistant to body diversity, but they are even more resistant to going Photoshop-free.
And they’re not the only ones. Here’s an excerpt from Tina Fey’s Bossypants.
“Photoshop itself is not evil. Just like Italian salad dressing is not inherently evil, until you rub it all over a desperate young actress and stick her on the cover of Maxim, pretending to pull her panties down. (That ‘thumbs in the panties’ move is the worst. Really? It’s not enough that they got greased up and in their panties for you, Maxim?)
Give it up. Retouching is here to say. Technology doesn’t move backward. No society has ever de-industrialized. Which is why we’ll never turn back from Photoshop – and why the economic collapse of China is going to be the death of us all. Never mind that. Let’s keep being up in arms about this Photoshop business!
I don’t see a future in which we’re all anorexic and suicidal. I do see a future in which we all retouch the bejeezus out of our own pictures at home. Family Christmas cards will just be eyes and nostrils in a snowman border.
At least with Photoshop you don’t really have to alter your body. It’s better than all these disgusting injections and implants. Isn’t it better to have a computer do it to your picture than to have a doctor do it to your face?
I have thus far refused to get any Botox or plastic surgery. (Although I do wear a clear elastic chin strap that I hook around my ears and pin under my day wig.) I can’t be expected to lead the charge on everything. Let me have my Photoshop.”
I was floored when I read this. And a little disappointed. I mean, I get that Fey is just being honest, but it still surprised and saddened me to hear her basically come out in favor of retouching.
And yet as my friend and I discussed the ideal world versus the real world, we couldn’t quite envision a universal ban, either. We didn’t want Photoshop and extreme retouching to stick around, but we agreed that there would have to be some MAJOR changes in global priorities before the program and practice could ever be truly eradicated.
I’d love to hear your thoughts. First, how do you feel about Photoshop and retouching in general? Second, can you imagine a world in which both were banned? Or even used sparingly by only a few organizations? What do you think would have to happen for this to be possible?
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