Photoshop

I believe that the concept of Photoshop creates a major variety of fake interpretations and appearances throughout the printed aspects of the media (magazines, social networking sites, etc), and so I wish to look further into the different areas linked between Photoshop the possible poor body image. I found a good quote online (http://www.beautyredefined.net/photoshop-phoniness-hall-of-shame/) that I shall use in my essay as I believe it speaks the truth… ‘While the vast majority of images of women are being digitally altered, so are our perceptions of normal, healthy, beautiful and attainable.’ and ‘based on a flawlessness that doesn’t exist’

I have decided to focus Photoshop to magazines as I believe this has the largest amount of unrealistic images present than any other area of media. Many different magazines use Photoshop on the front of their covers (as well as embedded throughout the pages), and this is seen in all forms of magazines aimed at women AND men.

The first example I looked at was Britney Spears appearance on the cover of the magazine ‘Marie Claire’ in 2008. This ‘before and after’ shot truly shocked me as I realized how much Photoshop and airbrushing photos has been part of our society for many years. As it says in a small article I saw online (http://www.lifeandstylemag.com/posts/britney-spears-women-s-health-cover-sparks-photoshop-debate-a-look-back-at-her-photo-editing-fails-47940) the ‘fans were stunned‘ when this untouched photo was released as they truly understood that this particular photo was not realistic and had be altered in many ways to help signify her beauty in a ridiculously over the top manner.

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Here, you can see that her hair, eyes, nose, skin, decolletage, and lips have been altered to make herself seem more attractive on the cover of this magazine. Airbrushing is a major aspect that first drew to my attention when analyzing these two photographs. On her face you can see no imperfections on her skin other than the use of blusher and highlighter on her cheeks and nose (which are not bad things). This overuse of airbrushing gives a false appeal and interpretation of what Britney Spears’ skin looks like on a day to day basis, initially creating controversy throughout the public eye, as the obviousness of this Photoshopped look creates high expectations of what women her age should look like to the readers.


Now, you have magazines directed at men…

Although I could not find any ‘before and after’ shots of men online, I still believe that Photoshop is used on photographs that appear on the front of magazine covers such as GQ, Mens Fitness, Mens Health, and more! Especially on magazines such as ‘Mens Fitness‘, this is the sort of topical magazine that highlights nothing other than the physical qualities of a male. Fitness is something in which everybody will do in order to enhance their physical appearance and make them look and feel better. This therefore ties into the aspect of the media constantly portraying men as needing to have muscles, a six pack, and overall an attractive physique.

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‘Men are nearly as dissatisfied about their bodies as women, experiencing depression and self-esteem problems; some of which are produced by media‘ (Grogan 1999; Olivardia, Pope, Borowiecki, andCohane 2004) – ‘Body Panic: Gender, Health, and the Selling of Fitness’ by Shari L. Dworkin; Faye Linda Wachs.

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Calvin Klein model

So I recently discovered a small article on Twitter which had the title ‘The newest plus-size modelling star’. From initially reading this title it intrigued me as I knew it could have some good opinions to add to my Extended Project, so I explored further. As I clicked on the link shown, it then described this ‘plus-size’ as being a size 10 (US). SIZE 10! This automatically shocked me as I would never consider a size 10 as being plus sized, that is the average size of a women. Myla Dalbesio is a recently signed model for Calvin Klein, and what surprised me was; the company did not place her as ‘plus-size’, however, the headlines spread that assumption rather quickly.
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The public find this accusation preposterous due to the insignificant details of the fact that Myla has been pushed into different categories of the modelling industry. She was firstly told to lose weight in order to fit into the skinny section, however, later on in the course it juxtaposition itself by telling Myla to gain weight so she could be the right size for a plus-size model. From this very small piece of information it makes me believe that the thoughts of what ‘plus size’ really is, is becoming out of hand!


Timeline of Body Image

Today I found a website (http://www.rehabs.com/explore/womens-body-image-and-bmi/) that included a large amount of information about negative body image and different areas of ‘acceptable sizing of women’ in society. Trends of weight loss have resulted in previous rare eating disorders becoming common, and lifelong unhappiness spreading towards one’s own body. Some girls as young as 6 are unhappy with their weight which I find very distressing to realise.

Throughout this website there was a section in regards to the evolution of ’20th century American beauty ideals’ which I found very intriguing to write about because I got to understand the differences in society’s acceptance of specific body sizes through the years.

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As I found out that the fashion industry first developed in France by Rose Bertin, I have realised that the French fashion and modelling industry aspire only to be the best in their work, and this requires the best models! They promote ‘extreme thinness’ which therefore allocate the conception of dieting and anorexia-linked deaths of models and the public. This has now spread to near enough all countries in the world which puts the perception of a ‘perfect body image’ in social media to be taking over earth.
In Italy women are objectified in the media and pushed into believing that plastic surgery is the best option for the ‘perfect appearance’.
In Spain and Mexico 1 in 4 teenage girls are at the risk of developing an eating disorder due to the desire to become thinner and feel like they need to take appetite suppressants in order to lose weight.
In China and Japan the amount of eating disorders have increased such a large amount since the early 90’s (where at this time period this disorder was absent from society). The women inhale a significant fear of weight gain and now show a population of 29% of women now being underweight.

However, this is not always the case. Places like Nigeria have businesses dedicated to helping people gain weight in order to be more attractive to the opposite sex. 90% of the population is overweight and considered a sex symbol with an added bonus of their happiness and wealth increasing.


Whilst looking on YouTube for inspiration on what to add into my essay and research, I came across a video that helped me to realise how much aspired body sizes have changed over 100 years. The video:

shows women modelling the ‘ideal body image’ of women around the world throughout many years (such as Ancient Egypt, Victorian England, and the Supermodel Era in the 1980’s). From watching this it gives me a clearer understanding of the different body shapes, from very large to extremely thin: at one point in history it was seen as very attractive for a women to have all of these body shapes. This therefore shows the differentiated opinions of society’s perception of a ‘perfect body of females’ and proves that the thought of being skinny was not always desired.

 

Test

Today I decided to take an online test to see if I could potentially be developing an eating disorder’. Now, this is not something I have ever done so it is new to me; however I believe it could help me develop my understanding of how the media has somewhat influenced the way I think about my body image. As I have realised, the media are the main cause of young adults forming a type of eating disorder and body hatred. From carrying out this ‘experiment’, I will be clearer as to whether my mental state is starting to form a negative approach towards myself without me initially realising.

(There are a multiple choice of websites for me to choose from which proves that these sorts of tests are not as reliable as they should be. I am well aware that these tests may not be accurate or professional, however, I am still willing to give it a try and see the outcome).

I have chosen to take 3 tests from the first 3 websites shown on the dashboard when I typed in my specific request (‘eating disorder test’).

TEST NUMBER 1:    http://screening.mentalhealthscreening.org/NEDA

  • Firstly, it asked me a few basic questions about my age/gender/ethnicity/relationship and the country in which I live. Then they started asking me questions related to my eating habits and how I feel about food. these questions were escorted with up to 6 short answers to choose from. A few of these questions were:

+  I find myself preoccupied with food
+  I feel extremely guilty after eating
+  I have a desire to be thinner

  • It then began to asked me questions in which made me think about the last 6 months. These questions asked if I have vomited after any meal, used any form of laxatives or diuretics to control my weight, or ever thought about wanting to end my life. This last question opened my eyes and made me understand further that the concept of wanting to be thinner ruins peoples lives and potentially hurts them so much which engages them into ending their own life. I find this appalling and horrific as nobody should feel so negatively about themselves to make them feel that way.

RESULTS:

My results showed that I apparently may be at risk for disordered eating which shocked me.

TEST NUMBER 2:    http://psychcentral.com/quizzes/eat.htm

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RESULTS:

In this test I scored a total of 32 which on this website concludes that I am at risk of forming an eating disorder (which again, I am surprised about).

TEST UMBER 3:    http://eatingdisorder.org/eating-disorder-information/online-self-assessment

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RESULTS:

Again, it has shown my answer to be a sign of myself predisposed to developing an eating disorder.
~~ From these 3 results it has made me realise that without even knowing, the certain emotions I feel are unrecognised until I take these small tests. Although these are not professional or set up by a specialist, it still opens a few doors as to how I initially view myself and how (if not stopped or changed) it could develop into a life-threatening disorder.

 

Advertisements

I believe that advertising certain products in regards to body image has grown drastically over the years, and it is becoming unbearable for young adults to handle physically and emotionally.

I found two really good websites today that gave me a range of information, factual evidence, and opinions in regards to advertising and how it is affecting body image of teenagers.

In March 2015 Kilbourne (a women responsible for her documentary on images of women in the media ‘Killing Us Softly’) explained to the public of how advertisements were destroying our concept with food and how the media creates a ‘toxic cultural environment‘ which indeed, harms our relationship with food.
I also learnt about American cultures with advertisement and how indulged they are with it. ‘The average American encounters in 3000 advertisements every day’ and through this it shows images of models to be: tall, slim, and light skinned (all of which is digitally altered into ‘even more unrealistic proportions’. Within this overload of advertisements, we are now faced with the factual evidence of ‘50% of six year old girls worry about their weight’, which also ties into the complications of emotional thoughts on the island of Figi with regards to girls and women who now diet as a result of what they have seen (when initially they thought nothing wrong with their appearance). I find this horrifying as I didn’t understand how much advertising can effect somebody’s perception of themselves in a negative manner until researching and reading into the case further. (http://www.hsph.harvard.edu/news/features/advertisings-toxic-effect-on-eating-and-body-image/)

 

Developing questions

After looking through my questions that I will be asking, I have decided to change and include more as I believe this will help to structure my primary research more and strengthen my information.

Here are some questions I have decided to add:

  • Have you ever altered your appearance in any way, shape, or form in attempt to please somebody else?
  • When do you feel most proud of who you are?

Social Media

pressure to look good had pushed up cosmetic surgery rates by nearly 20% since 2008‘ (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-29569473)

I believe that social networking sites hold a very large percentage responsible for poor body image of teenagers, and so this has made me want to research further into this fraction. A quick quote I found whilst looking for websites about social media and the link to poor image was: ‘The more time spent on Facebook, the more likely people are to self-objectify’ said by ‘Dr Phillippa Diedrichs, University of West of England’s Centre for Appearance Research’ which I found intriguing as  For years I have been involved with the likes of Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr, etc, but for this particular research I will be focusing particularly on ‘Tumblr’ as it is the first website I used where it made me think differently about myself. Tumblr is a social networking site where you can post photos of anything you wish, and reblog them from other peoples blog’s (where they then show on your blog also). With tumblr, it has no limits as to what you can post: hence why negative body image is such a high rising situation as it isn’t stopped by the company. As I typed ‘negative body image’ onto the search engine I was shocked to see large amount of posts dedicated to peoples personal opinions on body image and sufferers of this feeling.

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I searched into Google ‘social networking sites poor body image’ just to see if any websites came up that included worthy information, and surprisingly a few did that gave me some factual information about social networking sites and how they are effects teenagers perception of their own bodies. Social media can be a bad influence on any individual, especially teenagers: ‘causing some girls to strive for a “thin ideal” and some boys to seek an unrealistically muscular physique’ (http://knowmore.tv/fitness/weight-loss/is-social-media-harming-your-teens-body-image/48430)

‘Ninety-two per cent of teenage girls in the UK are unhappy with their body shape’ (Wardle, reported in The Times, 25 September 2004) – ‘The Psychology of Appearance’ by Nichola Rumsey; Diana Harcourt