Photoshop of Models

In The Bluest Eye, the idea of “identity” is represented with a sense of confusion.  The young girls are confused from all of the influences they have around them.  When the girls talk about Maginot Line they think that she is ‘ruined’ but they don’t exactly know what that means.  In Karen Coats’ Keywords essay on “Identity”, she writes that identity “involve[s] some sort of performance, complete with costume, and almost all of which are mediated through feedback from others” (111).  The girls see this with Maginot Line; they believe she is ‘ruined’ and so she has to perform in a certain way.  The idea of identity and performance go hand in hand.  Later, the girls drink whiskey because they think that it’s part of being ‘ruined’ because that’s what they have seen other adults around them do.  This really exemplifies the way in which identity and performance are related.  Additionally, Pecola longs for blue eyes throughout the book, and at the end truly believes that she has them.  She identifies with this idea of beauty that she has seen advertised around her, such as the Shirley Temple cup.  Throughout the book she idolizes Shirley Temple, and believes that blue eyes will be the next step to identifying with someone like Shirley Temple.

In Global Democracy’s commercial of the body evolution of a model, the keyword “identity” is represented in a very performative way.  This commercial is trying to get people to realize the terrible effects that photoshop has on women.  The models that are portrayed by most companies are not realistic to the average woman’s body size.  Karen Coats talks about how parts of identity have developed into conforming to social norms rather than being an individual (111).  This commercial brings up the idea of how girls are looking at unrealistic models, and thinking that they need to look like that, or that they aren’t pretty enough.  Again, we see this idea that identity and performance are related.  If young girls are seeing all these models around them looking beautiful, and abnormally thin, they are going to think that they have to look like that in order to achieve the standard of beauty that is being identified.  This ties into The Bluest Eye with Pecola’s longing for blue eyes.  She thinks that in order to identify with ‘beauty’ she needs to have blue eyes.  I believe that young girls seeing various unrealistic representations of models will believe that in order to identify with ‘beauty’ they will need to look more like the photoshopped version of the model in this video.

4 thoughts on “Photoshop of Models”

  1. I really like the way in which you compared Bluest Eye, the use of Shirley Temple and this video from Global Democracy’s commercial. I couldn’t agree more that girls are constantly striving for the next aspect of beauty they do not have. In this context it is negative to a girl in the time of girlhood’s health, but I wonder how this “constant striving for what is next” could positively impact a girl’s life. For example in times of economic struggle? In times of academic strife? Political turmoil?

  2. I completely agree with this, Maria. My group and I discussed how admiring idols such as Shirley Temple is a huge part of girlhood. Young girls attempt to recreate their identities and become these other unrealistic individuals. It is unfortunate and hopefully someday this will become less of an issue. A part of girlhood should not be striving for an unachievable goal of physical perfection.

  3. I think this is a great discussion of identity and beauty. Photoshopped images create the ideal beauty standards that we all see day in and day out. But these images aren’t attainable. They aren’t real, and I think this sets us into a viscous cycle with and end goal of beauty that can never be reached, which becomes problematic for viewers and their confidence and self esteem.

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