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False images: Kelly Clarkson and Twiggy get modified

By September 14, 2009 7 Comments
Airbrushed Kelly and Live Kelly

Airbrushed Kelly and live Kelly

It’s been a busy couple of weeks in the world of airbrushed images.

Kelly Clarkson’s obviously tweaked and airbrushed body on the August cover of Self sparked controversy and even provoked Self editor Lucy Danziger to speak openly about the magazine’s airbushing techniques. Danziger, who admitted to digitally shaving off her own unwanted weight in pictures from her first marathon, defended the practice, saying the Self staff altered Clarkson’s photos “to make her look her personal best” while also calling the photo the “truest we ever put on a newsstand.”

In other airbrushing news, some British politicians are fighting to ban digitally airbrushed images altogether after a recent ad of supermodel Twiggy, complete with flawless, wrinkleless skin, was compared to recent “everyday” photos of the aged supermodel. The politicians in support of the ban realize young girls are under pressure to live up to unattainable images they see on billboards and magazines.

Twiggy and her ultra-airbrushed image

Twiggy, next to her ultra-modified image

Perhaps it’s unrealistic to think a magazine editor who alters images of the momentous occasions in her own life won’t tweak the flaws in others. Maybe it’s unrealistic to think an entire nation can ban airbrushed images. But I’m just glad these media practices are getting press.

The more we know about digitally slimmed-down hips, flawless skin, and computerized toned bodies, the more we can resist their influence. Knowledge is power, so spread the news, whether it’s about that magazine cover in the grocery store check-out line or that billboard looming over Times Square—remind people that airbrushing probably contributed to that image.

Do you think airbrushed images can be limited? What would our world be like if magazines like Self couldn’t touch a photo after it was taken? What do you think about Kelly Clarkson’s cover shot, and how do you resist being influenced by unrealistic, Photoshopped images?