Easy, Breezy, Photoshop

From 1997 to 2003, the number of teenagers who underwent plastic surgery rose from 60,000 to 225,000.  This incredible jump was undoubtedly caused by pressures from the media, and their portrayal of the “idealistic” female.  The images that we see in magazine ads, billboards, television, and other social media platforms seldom represent reality.  Photoshop is used to trim in a girls waist, upper arms and her inner thighs.  Her teeth are whitened and every blemish or wrinkle is smoothed to perfection.  There have been many critiques of the media’s disoriented, over-perfected portrayal of women, yet little has seemed to change.

In Toni Morrison’s The Bluest Eye, Pecola is consumed by envy for Shirley Temple’s bright blue eyes and glowing white skin.  She visits a pedophilic  “healer” in her community, Soaphead Church, to ask for blue eyes, and she drink’s all of her host family’s milk in hopes of turning her skin white.  Even when she thinks she has been given blue eyes, she is terrified that they still are not the perfect shade of blue.  Though photoshop was not around back then, the media’s portrayal of the “perfect” little girl, Shirley Temple, made Pecola feel inferior because she did not look the same.

In Kelly Hager’s essay “Body” she mentions how girls evaluate their own value based on what the see in literature, and presumably media as well. This can be incredibly damaging to girls’ self-image and there feelings toward their own self-worth.  If girls are comparing themselves to an airbrushed model who has been cosmetically altered to perfection, there is no way she can feel equally as beautiful.

2 thoughts on “Easy, Breezy, Photoshop”

  1. I really liked the connection you’ve made between photoshop and the increasing rate of plastic surgery. With the invention of photoshop, young girls like Kylie Jenner become so obsessed with having the perfect face and body that they simply change what they were born with. Girls reading magazines see thigh gaps and instinctively try to replicate them, despite them hardly ever existing. It’s just fascinating that how girls today view their bodies is up to the click of a mouse.

  2. I think that this is a great point that you made: achieving the results that you see advertised is unhealthy and unrealistic. Our media exposure tries to tell us who we are and I think this links into the idea of identity. As the keywords explained children can either find their identity by fitting in with social norms (blending in) or being okay with being an individual (being different). In the case of body influences girls often want to identify in with societies standard, which is simply unattainable.

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