Photoshopping Our Perception of Beauty

We’ve heard that celebrity/modeling photography and Photoshop go hand-in-hand, but how many of us can visualize what that actually means? Much kudos and thanks to Jason Thibeault at Lousy Canuck for his article, Teaching girls that pretty isn’t pretty enough, in which he gave some examples of the unrealistic body images and ideas of beauty that are planted in our brains by the media, and how these software-designed bodies and faces have little to do with what any of us really look like.

The website that he cites, Forever Healthy and Young, shows 60 models and celebrities before and after Photoshop. Here’s a few of the before and afters…but you gotta go read Jason’s article for the full list.

Wouldn’t it be awesome if there were more gorgeous models with freckles so that people with freckles might see them as just another physical characteristic instead of as a blemish? We could start by letting this gorgeous woman’s speckled splendor shine.

Guess what? George Clooney don’t need no Photoshop help. He’s a kick-ass actor and drop-dread sexy with the wrinkles and salt-and-pepper hair.

I found myself looking at the befores, then at the afters, then at the befores…and just felt sad. All of these beautiful people are beautiful in their own right, unadulterated. But somebody somewhere decided that a few of the hard-earned wrinkles, the little brown birthmark, the curvy hip had to be erased, blended or flattened to make a unique human being look more like the same flawless, general, standard, boring, china doll.

Make sure to check out the three links at the bottom of the Forever Healthy and Young site that Jason references in his post. They have links to stories about recent laws, proposed restrictions, and bans against Photoshopped images. Food for thought…the idea of legislating alteration of photos may be a discussion for a future post.


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11 Responses to “Photoshopping Our Perception of Beauty”

  1. Alannah Murphy Says:

    The mind boggles…and you wonder why we end up with eating disorders? anorexia, bullimia, a sense of ugliness…I had all of that when I was a teenager…sigh…so sad.

    P.S My avatar photo is really me, on a good day, but no fake shit done to my face 🙂

  2. HillaryM Says:

    Hi BioDork,

    I really like how you love ‘peace, love and science’ and your compassion for unborn babies. Itsn’t sad when a baby murdered in the womb? How could somebody actually crush a babies skull and suck their bodies out through a vacuum? (and that the least graphic abortion.). Look at you, celebrating the birth of Christ, that is wonderful. You love science. You’re really cool.

    • biodork Says:

      Your rant is very off-topic in this post, but as it contains no hate language or threats I’m going to leave it up.

      Really? You think that a third trimester Intrauterine Cranial Decompression and Partial Birth Abortion – a procedure that has been illegal in the United States since the Partial Birth Abortion Ban Act of 2003 – is the least graphic of all types of abortion? You need to educate yourself, HillaryM, on the reality of abortion. I suggest this article called “10 Things I’d Say to the Anti-Choice Fanatics Trying to End Abortion”.

      Sure, I know that as an anti-choice fanatic, the title itself may be a bit off-putting, but at least you know it was written specifically for you! And since you wouldn’t read it even if it was called “10 Reasons Why Abortion is a Good and Necessary Medical Procedure: An Interview with Jesus Christ”, I wouldn’t get too hung up on the title.

      *sighs* But I suppose if you want real medical information without the pro-choice slant you could visit the American Pregnancy Association’s page on types of abortions.

      Oh…one more thing.

      As an atheist I don’t celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ. On December 25th I celebrate my friends, family and humanity’s potential for love and joy, learning and discovery. I have…if I’m extremely lucky…maybe 100 years on this earth to enjoy, feel, love and learn and to help others do the same. That love and sharing of love is all that’s needed to make this world a paradise. No fairy tales of gods and eternal bliss, nor nightmares of devils and eternal torture needed or desired.

  3. HillaryM Says:

    Hi BioDork,

    oh, they outlawed partial birth abortion? I wonder why? It’s not really a baby anyways, just a product of conception. You are really cool though, you celebrate on Jesus’ Birthday but you don’t really celebrate Him, you an Atheist celebrate humanity with your Love and Joy, geeze, I wonder how your love and joy fits in with 50 million dead unborn children since 1973?.

    After all, my faith and my God Jesus Christ is a fairy tale. No need for Jesus, atheists can make this world paradise themselves, just look at what they did in the 20th century with Mao, Hilter, Lenin, Stalin, Pol Pot, Kim Jung Ill, and many more killed 100 million.

    I think I’ll take a pass on your view of Love and Peace.


    • biodork Says:

      Guess what? If abortion is illegal, women die. They might die because they obtain an unsafe abortion under unsafe conditions. They might die because they believe they can’t bear the unjust shame or depression that they have gotten pregnant by rape, incest or carelessness and take their own lives. They might die because of a medical emergency that is caused, aggravated by or unable to be treated because of a pregnancy. They might die because a scared partner or parent beats them to death to make the pregnancy go away.

      Tell me, do you believe that contraception is tantamount to abortion?

      You try to link atheism to these infamous rulers. Thanks to Dinesh D’Souza, the idea that atheism leads to despotic or communist states or loss of freedoms is being slapped around by those who would *hate* atheists for not believing in their particular god. These tyrants did not rule or kill in the name of atheism or in the promotion of no religion, but because…let’s see…oh! Because they were insane.

      You know who kills in the name of religion? People who *have* religion: witch trials, the Crusades, the bombing of the Twin Towers, suicide bombers in the Middle East, jihads placed on individuals for criticizing faith, Catholics and Protestants in Northern Ireland, the Israeli/Palestinian conflict, Sikh/Muslim/Hindu clashes in India…oh the list of ethnoreligious conflicts goes on and on.

      Violence happens with and without religion, but the divisive, boundary-making “us versus them” mindset that is set up by religion makes it uniquely, specifically responsible for much hate and death.

      Also, no one should take a pass on Love and Peace.

  4. Carly Says:

    This kind of stuff makes me so sad. I grew up knowing that the people in photos and videos don’t really look like that, but I sometimes forget that. Though plastic surgery and other similar physical modifications are rampant in the U.S., I know that the desire to look like what we see in print and on screen affects people in other parts of the world as well – sometimes with devastating consequences.

    I never understood why so many people dislike crow’s feet. Why would you want to erase a sure sign of happiness in one’s life? Isn’t who we are on the inside the most important thing? We all know that beautiful people are still ugly if they are jerks. I call shenanigans!

  5. HillaryM Says:

    women will die without abortion is a lie from the pit of hell. Women didn’t die before 1973.

    If it weren’t for the crusades, you’d be wearing a burka and a bedsheet today and praying towards mecca 5 times a day.

    Remember, you attacked my faith first.

    Someone who preaches love and peace but will not recognize the most helpless among us, in my view is a monster.

    • Greg Laden Says:

      Hilary, what you are saying is simply untrue, and there is abundant data to back up the fact that you are wrong. I think maybe you are being the monster here.

  6. gwen Says:

    Hillary, the post abortion death rate was horrendous before it was made legal in 1973. MUCH higher than women under going childbirth. They WERE literally done in back alleys, on kitchen tables in the most unsanitary conditions, unless you could find a brave doctor to perform the procedure and risk his license and jail time. But that cost money. Or if you had enough money, you flew to a country where abortions were legal. Even KNOWING the much higher risk of death and disability, women were so desperate to end the pregnancies, they risked it, and many, many died. I saw a talk show that featured the children of women who died of illegal abortions before they became legal. Those children are probably now dead, or very elderly…and in today’s climate, probably intimidated into silence.

  7. gwen Says:

    How in the heck did an abortion discussion start on a blog post about photoshopping?

  8. biodork Says:

    I banhammered HillaryM. I don’t require politeness from my commenters, but apparently irrational, purposely fallacious, off-topic rants in which I’m called a monster are my limits these days. Who knew? *sniff* My first block! My little blog is getting all grown up!

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