Does Photoshop Encourage Negative Body Image?Posted on Jun 24th 2011 1:00PM by Emma Gray
The American Medical Association has added a recommendation regarding Photoshop (and similar photo-editing software) to it's list of new policies. Jezebel reports that the AMA has made a statement discouraging advertisers from using Photoshop to alter the bodies of models and celebrities in advertising campaigns.
Photoshop "flubs" have become all too common -- from the Ralph Lauren ad that contained a model whose waist appeared to be smaller than her head, to photos that consistently distort models' limbs and other body parts. The American Medical Association has come out and condemned these sorts of images as wholly unhealthy for the development of women's self-esteem and self-image.
In the AMA's press release, one doctor commented:
"In one image, a model's waist was slimmed so severely, her head appeared to be wider than her waist. We must stop exposing impressionable children and teenagers to advertisements portraying models with body types only attainable with the help of photo editing software."
In a country where the average person sees 5,000 advertising images per day, it makes sense that these images would have an affect on our perceptions of what constitutes a "normal" and "ideal" body. Even before Photoshop comes into play, there is a disparity between the average model's body and the average American woman's body. According to non-profit Just Think, the average woman is 5'4" and 140 pounds, while the average model is 5'11" and 117 pounds.
So, just how damaging are these sorts of edited images? What do you think about the AMA's statement? Will it make any difference?
We asked our readers and here's what some of them had to say:
It's about time!!!
If they are going to PHOTOSHOP the models why use real people at all???
Yes, it's a huge problem, and yes, it's good that the AMA is addressing it, but I'll be surprised if this recommendation will change anything. Besides, from what I read it only addresses advertisements. What about magazines?
When the industry said it would stop airbrushing women into waifs, it instead started giving them unnatural hourglass figures. I've blogged about this type of thing; the depiction of women's bodies in the media a passion of mine. It's so frustrating that they can't just embrace what women naturally look like and show that women come in different healthy sizes -- not just underweight or almost underweight.
I definitely think that these ads can encourage women to develop negative body image. If you don't like your body, then make a change -- but the "ideal" body perception has changed!
GOOD FOR THE AMA!
Many women have the tendency to compare themselves to other women and feel inadequate, so the bombardment of "perfection" doesn't foster a positive self-image.
I think edited images are an issue mainly because of the way men have unrealistic expectations of women because of the photoshopped images.