Why Photoshopping Needs to Stop

Claire Blose, Staff Writer

It is no secret that technology is a very prominent force in everyday life. From cars to phones, it is difficult to imagine a world where we could not call our parents after soccer practice or our significant others on the way home from work. This constant exposure to technology has created a whole new world: an online world that companies like Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter have developed.  This online world, however, has perpetuated a system in which teenagers seem to accept perfection and perfection only. One of the biggest culprits is the constant photoshopped pictures that teenagers see online. Big companies like Victoria’s Secret have been caught photoshopping their models to the point that some become armless. It is instances like these that prove photoshop is unrealistic and creates impractical expectations for both men and women. Are armless models really what we are striving to be?

There are numerous apps available to the public that promise to shrink waists and erase pimples. These apps have played into the insecurities of today’s youth, (insecurities that are widely the result of poor self esteem), partly because society embraces a very rigid standard of beauty. Girls feel as if they need to be skinny and have perfect skin, while many guys feel like they need a six pack in order to be attractive. I am guilty of this: I have photoshopped pimples off my face before I post them on Instagram. My friends have admitted to making themselves appear skinnier. So what made us do these things? Why did we feel the need to talter ourselves before we felt confident enough to post our pictures?

What many fail to realize is that the photos on social media are not reality. When actress Jennifer Lawrence saw her Dior ads for the first time, she remarked on national television, “Of course it’s [photoshopped], people don’t look like that!” While it is refreshing to hear celebrities acknowledge that photoshop is not reality, there needs to be more transparency. Celebrities are role models for many; it is no surprise that they are portrayed as perfect by the media. It seems that in this process, however, that celebrities have lost their humanistic appeal. Sometimes, pictures are so heavily photoshopped that they are beyond recognition, and the people in the photos no longer resemble humans. Why is it, then, that these pictures are still seen as beautiful? Humans have become so focused on looking like celebrities (celebrities who don’t look like themselves sometimes) that they have forgotten what true beauty is: confidence. I know that it is hard, especially in this day and age, to feel beautiful. My friends and I constantly complain about how we “look like a mess.” I think the problem can only begin with us. Society can only begin to adjust its standard of beauty when people begin to demand change. Recently, companies like American Eagle have launched campaigns that take pride in the fact that photos are not photoshopped. The campaign is refreshingly honest, and it tells us that nobody is perfect. Junior Cassidy Cimino states,“I love that. I think it’s so real, I think it really speaks to how they are as a brand.” While companies like American Eagle are definitely taking the right steps, until we stop equating beauty with appearance, nothing will change.