You’re standing in line at the grocery store. As you’re waiting to check out, you can’t help to glance at the magazine display depicting the popular celebrities, with their tanned flawless, skin and perfect bodies. You wonder…what exercise regiment do I have to follow to look like that? What do I need to do to look that good? Did I really need to add that gallon of ice cream to my grocery list? You’re not the only one thinking like this…
Eating disorders, low self-esteem, and negative body image are all serious problems facing our country today, especially amongst young adults. It is no secret that the models and celebrities we see in popular media, on television, and in magazines are depicted in unnatural ways. Altered images of models and celebrities, particularly in magazines, pressure individuals to control their eating and fitness habits in unhealthy ways. Photoshop’s magic in making celebrities look nearly perfect has caused our society to obsess over achieving that same unnatural look.
An article, by ABC News and published on November 30, 2011, outlines the issue very well. It also features a video. It describes how some professionals were advocating for warning labels to be placed on celebrity photos that had been changed significantly. Advocates wanted these labels to demonstrate that the photos did not show celebrities’ natural appearances, since they were touched up with the help of Photoshop.
It is clear that this idea of warning labels on photos has been floating around for awhile now, so why hasn’t it been implemented yet? I believe these labels would be very beneficial to changing our society’s perspective on body image and health in general. It saddens me to think that so many people these days are so focused on appearance and living up to these unreal, impossible-to-reach standards. I am a huge proponent of eating healthy and exercising regularly. I don’t believe, however, that thin always translates to healthy. Furthermore, every person has imperfections, whether it be there skin or any other part of their physical appearance. Mostly everyone I know does not wake up in the morning and look like they belong on the cover of Vogue…let’s be real now.
Sometimes, people get so caught up in the appearances of models and celebrities in magazines and on television that they trick themselves into believing that they themselves should try to achieve that look as well. I think we all fall guilty to this at one point or another during our lives. There is always a model or celebrity that we want to be like or look like. It is easy to assume that the look is natural, and not generated by some sort of computer application. I feel as though putting warning labels on these photos, similar to the ones that appear on boxes of cigarettes, would push readers and viewers back to reality. They would remind us that imperfections make us unique and human and real.