Former Cosmopolitan editor, Leah Hardy, recently wrote an exposé about photoshopping models to hide the health and aesthetic costs of extreme thinness. Below is an example featuring Cameron Diaz. The story about Diaz, in The Telegraph, includes this description of the photo manipulation:
Face: Cheeks appear filled out
Thighs: Wider in the picture on the right
Hip: The bony definition has been smoothed away
Stomach: A fuller, more natural look
Arms: A bit more bulk in the arms and shoulders
Another example appeared on The Daily What. Karlie Kloss' ribcage was photoshopped to look healthier. The image ran in the October 2012 issue of Numéro:
Hardy explains that she frequently re-touched models who were "frighteningly thin." Others have reported similar practices:
Jane Druker, the editor of Healthy magazine — which is sold in health food stores — admitted retouching a cover girl who pitched up at a shoot looking "really thin and unwell"...
The editor of the top-selling health and fitness magazine in the U.S., Self, has admitted: "We retouch to make the models look bigger and healthier"...
And the editor of British Vogue, Alexandra Shulman, has quietly confessed to being appalled by some of the models on shoots for her own magazine, saying: "I have found myself saying to the photographers, "Can you not make them look too thin?''"
Robin Derrick, creative director of Vogue, has admitted: "I spent the first ten years of my career making girls look thinner — and the last ten making them look larger."
Hardy says her position created a "dilemma" between publishing healthy images and producing the illusion that extreme thinness is healthy and beautiful:
At the time, when we pored over the raw images, creating the appearance of smooth flesh over protruding ribs, softening the look of collarbones that stuck out like coat hangers, adding curves to flat bottoms and cleavage to pigeon chests, we felt we were doing the right thing... We knew our readers would be repelled by these grotesquely skinny women, and we also felt they were bad role models and it would be irresponsible to show them as they really were.
But now, I wonder. Because for all our retouching, it was still clear to the reader that these women were very, very thin. But, hey, they still looked great!
They had 22-inch waists (those were never made bigger), but they also had breasts and great skin. They had teeny tiny ankles and thin thighs, but they still had luscious hair and full cheeks.
Thanks to retouching, our readers... never saw the horrible, hungry downside of skinny. That these underweight girls didn't look glamorous in the flesh. Their skeletal bodies, dull, thinning hair, spots and dark circles under their eyes were magicked away by technology, leaving only the allure of coltish limbs and Bambi eyes.
She describes this as a "vision of perfection that simply didn't exist" and concludes, "[n]o wonder women yearn to be super-thin when they never see how ugly [super-]thin can be."
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