First it was magazines, now it’s also prominent social media accounts that famous women are having issues with, when their bodies are digitally modified without their permission.
Latest on the news has been Cardi B and UK singer Marina Diamandis. In both these cases these women have had people photoshopped pictures to be ‘slimmer’.
In a Twitter thread, Marina said the designer “like photoshopped my legs and thighs to look like literal sticks”. She didn’t share the designer and the pictures.
I didn’t feel hurt by this. It was about her, not me. But 10 years ago I would have been. I probably would’ve reposted the photoshopped picture!— MARINA (@MarinaDiamandis) February 27, 2019
It feels super irresponsible & unkind to distort a woman’s figure for what is essentially someone else’s vanity.
In an interview with Channel4 about how often women are shamed by society, Marina says: “The female experience has to change, it just has to, because I’m not going to put up with it anymore. I don’t want to make myself small or make myself different to who I actually feel like inside just to be palatable to society.
In Cardi B’s case, she had taken a picture with internet-famous Dan Bilzerian when social media users noticed that the picture she posted was slightly different than the one he did.
While Cardi deleted the picture on her Instagram, Dan – who often posts pictures of women in bikinis, underwear or sometimes naked – has kept it on his. When comparing the two images it looks as if Cardi B’s stomach was flattened, her back arched and her butt made smaller.
Earlier this year Amy Schumer commented on an Instagram users post that edited Amy’s picture, making her look slimmer. Quoted in Harper’s Bazaar, the Instagram user advertised her photoshopping services in a previous post saying: "I will edit your pictures and make you feel confident and look Insta ready for only $5 per photo...Want to look skinnier or thicker? I got u! Want to get rid of acne? I got u!"
Professor Christopher Szabo, head of department of psychiatry at Wits, says the ethics of photoshopping someone’s pictures and altering their features is questionable. He says an individual’s body image does impact their self-esteem and adds that there’s often a discrepancy between the real versus the ideal.
He says it boils down to misrepresentation. “If you think about something as simple as misrepresentation, that what people are seeing as the ideal is actually manufactured,” says Prof Christopher.
He adds that social media can have an impact on how people perceive themselves because of how seemingly intrusive it is. He says preoccupation with and extreme fixation of anything is not good and can become pathological.
The original offenders of excessive retouching, magazines have stepped on a number of celebrities toes and the transgressions go way back – unfortunately the habit prevails. But these celebs have made it a point to call out the magazines who edit their bodies without their consent and often not to their liking:
Known to speak against societal expectations and having branded herself as a feminist as well, Zendaya expressed her dissatisfaction with the Modeliste magazine’s 2016 issue she was the cover of, for the way they retouched her body, making her thighs and upper body to appear significantly smaller.
In an Instagram post Zendaya said: These are the things that make women self-conscious that create the unrealistic ideals of beauty that we have. Anyone who knows who I am knows I stand for honest and pure self-love.”
View this post on Instagram
Had a new shoot come out today and was shocked when I found my 19 year old hips and torso quite manipulated. These are the things that make women self conscious, that create the unrealistic ideals of beauty that we have. Anyone who knows who I am knows I stand for honest and pure self love. So I took it upon myself to release the real pic (right side) and I love it???? Thank you @modelistemagazine for pulling down the images and fixing this retouch issue.
In the same year, Lerato Kganyago expressed her dissatisfaction in a series of tweets with how the images for her 2016 True Love cover issue were altered. TrueLove posted the before and after pictures to give the readers “a full picture” about Lerato’s frustrations. In a Tweet quoted by The Citizen, Lerato wrote: “Putting my cellulite out there I don’t mind! But don’t give me a different mouth & nose and think people won’t see!”
True Love now has a new editor at the helm.
Back in 2015, Priyanka Chopra took a more comedic approach to call out Maxim who photoshopped her armpits away.
On the subject of self-acceptance and body positivity, three generations of women share their thoughts.
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