Goodbye Photoshop, Hello Reality!

My senior year in college I did an independent class with my friend, Whitney. We developed the curriculum for our studies that quarter. The focus: The Objectification of Women in Media. We wanted to research, learn, and dig deep about what women and girls were really looking out when they looked at women in the media. Our main focus was on advertising – specifically in magazines. Jean Kilbourne was an author and filmmaker we followed; I definitely recommend reviewing her work. We went to a woman’s conference where she spoke. We did interviews, peer groups, and sessions with freshman women. We lived and breathed advertising and we learned a lot. To this day I cannot look at an ad without picking it apart.

Which is why I love this petition to Teen Vogue (why is there even a Teen Vogue?) to show their models in their real form without Photoshop. They had already petitioned Seventeen magazine with this result:

“We’re really excited, because Seventeen didn’t just promise one un-photoshopped spread a month, they went even further by promising not to change the faces or body size of their models, to listen to readers’ feedback and to celebrate beauty in all of its diverse shapes, sizes and colors.”

Rock On! I love that women and girls are starting these petitions. We should live in a world that celebrates women for their real beauty. For what they look like when they wake up in the morning. For living and being proud of our curves, flaws, and differences. By having magazines print photos with models in unrealistic ways, it makes girls and women think that they will never achieve that level of beauty. The fact is they will never achieve it, because many times it is not possible. Even for the model in the photo.

We need to advertise, publish, and present images of reality. The good, the bad, and the flawed. We are all perfect just the way we are!

5 thoughts on “Goodbye Photoshop, Hello Reality!

  1. This is SO important! As the father of a daughter, I’m so careful in how I word things with her. Maybe that care will end up giving her a different type of complex, but I think it’s better than the alternative – “stressing about self-image”. Well, at least I HOPE it’s better than the alternative.

    Bottom line, it’s so unhealthy to push people towards unattainable/unrealistic goals. Dangling the carrot only lasts so long – you eventually have to give the carrot to the horse, right? 🙂


    • By that I mean, we should show our girls (and boys) what it means to be real: what a real girl looks like, what a real boy looks like. Not all of us are built to have six-packs or bikini-ready body. That most definitely is okay! We are all different and the world would be a boring place if we all looked the same.

      Man, I’m rambling. I love this post!


      • I think the fact that you listen to your thoughts about “how” you phrase things to your daughter makes you light years ahead of most parents. I only wish my own parents had the clarity and clear thinking to know that how they talk to me (an example: do they always tell me about how I look, but my my brother about how strong he is). I definitely think that all kids are different, but I love that more and more parents are looking at the individual natures of their children rather than if they are a boy or a girl in how they communicate strength and power and really anything to them. I know it is hard for me, because when I see a precious girl I want to tell her how beautiful and precious she is, but why do we not do that as often with boys? I think we can teach children to be healthy and not eat crap, and not make them feel like they will get fat if they do x, but rather to show healthy attitudes of how they can live.

        I agree – eventually you have to give the carrot to the horse 🙂 Thank you for sharing!


  2. Great post – and comment. I would also check the way the girls are being asked to pose – that can also be an issue. These days there is a lot of ‘objectifying of boys/young men too – and it is seen as ‘liberating’ somehow. I’m not sure. But I appreciate Kurt did stress the point of boys as well. I do think that in this day and age that should not be ignored.
    In saying that, I do have a battle with the ex-wife, myself doing exactly what you said, being proud of how strong my girls are, and her maintaining they are ”not boys.” Disheartening.


    • I so agree with what you said about how girls are being asked to pose, as well as your comments on boys. Overall I think we should appreciate the balance of both the masculine and feminine qualities in boys and girls. You can be strong and still cry (for example). So many of these qualities between boys/girls do not have to be negative. A boy can be emotional and affectionate, girls can be strong and aggressive and they shouldn’t be negative against either. Thank you for sharing!


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