Put Down The Airbrush

24 Nov

Neil Skinner

Media & Identity

Blog #7

19 November 2014

Put Down The Airbrush

Pictures on magazine racks at your favorite grocery store, in online ads on the clothing website you browse, and on television are full of fake body types that have been altered to look extra appealing. Since the introduction of photoshop to media outlets, both men and women have been edited to look younger, stronger and more beautiful in a way that is almost nonhuman. Taking one glance at these fake pictures can make us question our own bodies and give us the feeling that we are not ideal enough for society. As a result, people may develop issues such as low self-esteem, inadequacy, unhealthy diets, or even eating disorders.

While the majority of media outlets continue to dump these negative “ideal images” of men and women onto us, one magazine has pledged to put an end to these false images. Seventeen, the popular magazine targeted at adolescent girls has taken the first step in putting an end to the photoshopping madness. Ann Shoket, the editor-in-chief of Seventeen, claims that they will discontinue the editing of girls’ images in the magazine. Seventeen’s campaign is aimed at combatting these negative body ideals that plague our society and encourage unhealthy diets. Instead, they seek to promote “real” pictures of girls. This strategy is a bold step forward in putting an end to these photoshopped and airbrushed pictures.

An article that comes to mind that we discussed in class, Upward and Downward: Social Comparison Processing of Thin Idealized Media Images written by Marika Tiggemann and Janet Polivy highlights how women in western culture have been alienated by these false media images. For example, “The current high level of body dissatisfaction and disordered eating experienced by many women in Western societies is generally attributed to sociocultural factors, and, in particular, to the powerful and pervasive influence of the mass media” (Tiggemann and Polivy 1). This evidence shows that photoshopped pictures in magazines are beginning to cause health issues for women in America and they need a campaign to start changing things.

The Seventeen magazine campaign can prove to be a highly effective one. Their strategy of putting an end to photoshopping their girls can lead to higher self-esteem and more body satisfaction with all of the subscribers. It shows that not every magazine has to go with the flow of what others are doing in the mass media. I think prosocial media is an extremely beneficial part of our culture because it builds people up instead of breaking them down like other forms of media do. Overall, it can help everyone be happier with themselves and hopefully more magazines will follow Seventeen’s positive campaign in the future.


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