“… so we went ahead and pieced together a new girl.”

"(Lucky magazine) preferred her over this model, so we went ahead and pieced together a new girl." (click image to watch the video on NYTimes.com)

Jesse Epstein, the filmmaker who made the terrific short documentary “Wet Dreams and False Images,” is back with a video op-ed on the NYTimes.com. In it, she asks whether American magazine editors should be required by law to disclose how much they have retouched images in their magazines. Well, should they?

This guy retouches photos and tells about it in the video.
This guy retouches photos and tells about it in the video.

So why does it even matter whether magazines are showing retouched, fake women?

Here’s why: When the female body is edited beyond recognition (or created) by a photo retoucher, and women and girls see that as the ideal, chaos (and oh, self-harm) ensues for those women and girls. Examples:

  • cosmetic surgery carrying huge health risks (including death)
  • over-exercise (or “exercise bulimia”)
  • unhealthy, risky dieting
  • disordered eating behaviors (that may or may not mean a person has an eating disorder)
  • eating disorders like anorexia and bulimia (which, by the way, can cause death)
  • general, all-consuming obsession with appearance that takes our attention away from truly important parts of our lives

Know what I’m saying? Check out the video and let us know what you think. — Jennifer

6 thoughts on ““… so we went ahead and pieced together a new girl.”

  1. I just say stop retouching all together. Let magazines and websites show “natural” beauty–the real person–and not the false recreated image.
    I mean, even models aren’t “perfect” enough and need retouching. It’s insanity!

    I don’t think disclosing such information (amount of retouching) will do much. A lot of people I know never even read the print–they just look at those pictures. And, even if they did read about how much each image was altered, it still won’t do a lot.
    Pictures are still going to be more powerful. They’re still going to stick in your mind–more so than those words on that page.
    People are still going to compare themselves, even if they are informed about all the retouching. They’re still going to yearn to be that ‘perfect’, strive for it. Words on a page won’t change it.

    We need to stop retouching images and let everyone see the unaltered, entirely natural humans instead of the unattainable, fake beauties that bombard us on a day-to-day, hour-to-hour, minute-to-minute basis.

  2. model’s themselves end up not resembling themselves, a paraphrase, of what the narrator said is so on the dot.

    even cindy crawford once said, “after hours in the make-up chair i don’t even look like cindy crawford”…
    some of the most noteably beautiful women don’t even look what the magazines and advertisments make them to be.

    picaso, anyone?

  3. I think Danielle is right… no matter how much information is available about photo retouching, the image itself is still more powerful. I am a grown woman and I feel happy and secure with my life, my body, and who I am. I know that the photos are retouched. (I know, I know, I know.) And yet, I still take a bit of a self-esteem hit when I see those pictures of women with smooth, toned thighs or beautiful poreless skin.

Comments are closed.