Duke It Out: Is Photoshopping Wrong?

[It’s pretty obvious that the average CollegeCandy reader has some very strong opinions. Opinions that she likes to share with everyone on the site. Sometimes with mean words. We love a strong woman (unless she happens to be charging at us with her fists raised), so we thought we’d give her a real forum to discuss her thoughts, feelings, and perspectives. Every Friday I’ll be featuring a hot topic (like sexy halloween costumes!) and leaving it up to you, the readers, to duke it out. So, read it and get your debate on in the comments section below!]

Photoshop has given the world some wonderful gifts – the ability to get rid of those red demon eyes you’re rocking  in pictures or erase that tequila bottle that mysteriously appeared in your hand (seriously, there must have been something on the lens, mom) before the pics hit Facebook, the power to waste incredible amounts of time laughing at crappy airbrushing, and, of course, the chance to discover what your holiday cards will look like once Jensen Ackles leaves his wife to be with you (no? Just me?). Photoshop has also committed some unspeakable horrors in the name of beauty and advertising, because we needed even more unrealistic expectations of attractiveness, right?

Recently, Rachael Leigh Cook (remember her?!) spoke out against the practice of airbrushing, going so far as to say that since false advertising is a crime and photo-correcting is essentially false advertising, then photoshopping in the media should be a crime. That’s quite a statement there, Rach – let’s go to the polls!

In one way, I’m totally with this argument; there’s no way it should be legal to airbrush a model’s skin in a foundation commercial (don’t even get me started on false eyelashes in mascara ads) because it IS legitimately false advertising. If a product/system/whatever is supposed to make your hair shiny or your skin smooth or whatever, they shouldn’t be able to just go in and make it look that way with a computer! That’s a dirty lie!

And while I hate to get all moralistic about it (hey, I get it, it’s a business and you do what you gotta do) how far can we really afford to push the perfection envelope? Didn’t women have enough body issues back in the day when it was just really hot models in pictures without all of the touch ups? This isn’t just setting an unrealistic standard of beauty, it’s setting one that is literally physically impossible for anyone, including the models in the actual photos, to live up to.

But, at the same time, if you go so far as to say photoshopping is illegal false advertising, there’s really no good place to stop. By that virtue, makeup and hair dye are false advertising, and so are push up bras and heels. In fact, almost everything we use to enhance the way we look would fall into that category, so where do you stop?

There’s also the fact that, while I think it’s reprehensible to create such a bad example for young girls growing up to try and live up to, it’s also not our place to legally mandate standards of beauty. If such-and-such company wants a model in their ad to look like she has a freakishly long neck and is missing several vital organs, well, that’s their prerogative, and we don’t really have any more right to tell them that their view of beauty is wrong than they do about ours.

Lay it one me, girls, what do you think? Is photoshopping bad, wrong, maybe even illegal? Or is it a tool for justice and good being wielded by the wrong hands? Duke it out!

Fashion Porn: Sparkle
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