Thursday, January 3, 2013

Photoshopped Standards

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Do you think the woman on these three magazine covers is the same person? Believe it or not, all three are Reese Witherspoon.

I have always love computers, but ever since I took an advanced computer graphics course in school last year, I've been addicted to Photoshop. I'm actually retaking the course again this year, it's just too much fun. I really love working in Photoshop (I can usually be found in the computer lab messing around on it) because you can do so many awesome things with pictures.

One reason Photoshop is so infamous is because it can be used is to airbrush and otherwise “improve” photographs. Before I knew how to use the program, I had always assumed that it was difficult to “fix” pictures like that. In reality, once you know how to use Photoshop, it’s not hard at all. Smoothing out skin and hiding pimples is literally done by blurring them out or clicking a few times with a specific tool. Making a person look thinner, or getting rid of any undesired part of a picture, is just done by using an eraser tool to erase parts of the body, just like in a basic paint program. Brightening teeth, hair, eyes, and other body parts is done by painting them the desired color or using a specific tool. Making skin tone a “better” shade is done by adjusting the picture’s color levels, a process that’s hard to explain but takes approximately 45 seconds.

These are just a few of many methods that magazines use to edit models’ and celebrities’ pictures. I say all this to show how the editors at all the supermarket magazines barely have to work to make a picture adhere to today’s beauty standards. In reality, the celebrities we all worship and wish that we looked like don’t really have the faces and bodies we think they do. (Have you ever noticed that celebrity babies are often not particularly cute? It’s because their parents aren’t particularly cute in real life, either.) I would estimate that 75% of it is Photoshop-induced, and the other 25% is plastic surgery, personal chef, and personal trainer.

So why should you strive to attain that impossible standard that celebrities set in magazines? It’s not real, so you’ll never be able to reach that goal. There’s no reason you should stare into a mirror for hours on end, wishing you looked more like the women you see in the tabloids. If you want to change the way you look, it’s definitely worthwhile to have concrete goals, but they have to be possible. If not, you’ll never feel happy with yourself, and doesn’t that defeat the whole point?

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