The Manipulation of Body Image

Photoshopification (the manipulation of photos) is becoming a normal thing into today’s society. This causes conflicts in the terms of originality. “The ability to digitize information also challenges our intuitive assumptions about a variety of things everything from the ‘reality’ that a picture represents to the external symbol systems that words and images together create” (Patterson/Wilkins 229). This manipulation of images can also cause major deception to the eyes of the viewer.

This idea of deception is most prominently seen in the fashion world. Models are highly edited to appear perfect. All wrinkles are removed, their waists are shrunk down to ridiculous portions, and butts and breasts are increased. This is not only deceiving but it’s causing people to have unrealistic expectations for themselves. This has a huge impact on young girls.

Women and girls feel the need to be unhealthily skinny because of this photoshopification of models. Recently there has been this fad going around the Internet that has appalled me. It is called The Paper Challenge. Girls hold up a standard size sheet of paper (8 ½ by 11) portrait view against their stomach. If the piece of paper covers their whole stomach then they are the “perfect size”. Our view is skewed because of major editing of photos.

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Another phenomenon that women recently become self-conscience about is the thigh gap, aka the space between your legs. Apparently it is seen as unflattering if you thighs touch (which is perfectly normal and healthy). This has gotten so out of hand that an artist found it necessary to make a fake ad for Thigh Gap Jewelry. But, when people go to try and buy it, it sends them to a page that talks about unrealistic beauty standards.

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Much like Aristotle’s Golden Means, the fashion industry needs to seek out a happy medium and find a middle ground between two vices. Perhaps, it could alter the photos a little bit to take out minor flaws but not to the extent of complete untruthfulness. Another way to think about it is in the view of Utilitarianism in that it would be more beneficial to a large population of people if the photos remained unedited. Otherwise, women and girls would feel the need to be unhealthy just to fulfill society’s beauty standards.

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