Is Seeing Believing? VIOLet Cooper

When you look at a magazine cover, do you ever reflect on yourself and compare yourself to the people on the cover? People of all ages read newspapers, magazines, and online websites. An American spends an average of 24.7 minutes reading magazines on a daily basis. And magazines can be deceitful, as most teenage gossip magazines post false information and fabricated pictures. Young adults are still developing and trying to figure out who they are and what they want to be. Most teenagers look to celebrities as role models. The problem with this is that faulty information is given; they compare themselves to unrealistic bodies. This can cause eating disorders and lower self-esteem. According to Common Sense Media’s report, children as young as 5 years old “express dissatisfaction with their bodies.”42% of girls in grades 1-3 want to be thinner. Even as early on as 5 years old, we are exposed to these magazines and their quixotic bodies.

Before and after image of a model. Left: before photoshop. Right: after being retouched.

The picture to the left is a model with makeup and studio lighting, and to the right is a photoshopped image of the same model. The goal of photoshop is to create the classic idea of beauty; smooth skin, no blemishes, soft features and light eyes. Some teens even start to photoshop their own images on social media as a way to deal with their own self-consciousness. “They've seen celebs like Beyoncé and Miranda Kerr looking perfect in their social media snaps, knowing many of these images have been edited and now there is a copycat effect”, says Carli from Beauty Heaven. What these teens don’t realize is that by photoshopping their social media images, they are making themselves feel even worse. If they scroll through their Instagram feed, they are looking at perfect, flawless (manipulated) pictures of themselves; but when they look in the mirror they will see the realistic version of themselves, which can sometimes be very disappointing to them.

Before and after image of a model. Left: the original, untouched version. Right: the manipulated, photoshopped picture.

As shown in the picture above, faces aren't the only things being photoshopped. Many women and teenagers photoshop their bodies to look skinnier, curvier; but overall extremely unrealistic. Also, being self-conscious isn’t the only consequence of photoshop. Many teenagers can develop eating disorders to make themselves “look like the women in magazines.” The part about this that is so terrible is that these are not real figures, they are unrealistic bodies that have been severely manipulated. 30% of high-school girls and 16% of high-school boys have an eating disorder. A substantial amount of these negative effects are caused by magazines that photoshop their models and celebrities. And most magazines don’t even try to cover up the fact that they change people’s bodies and faces. Famous magazines like, Elle, Dior, Glamour and ESPN have been reported to photoshop their pictures. So before you compare yourself to those supposedly gorgeous women or men on the cover; think twice, because chances are, their pictures are photoshopped.

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