Thursday, January 26, 2012
Here is a photo of her that has not been retouched:
Beyonce's skin color is clearly lightened a great deal in the promotional photo. A similar outcry occurred back in 2008 regarding a L'Oreal ad that Beyonce was featured in:
In addition to unnecessary and odd-looking digital altering of her facial features, her skin has obviously been lightened in the above picture. I personally do not believe at all that this was an accident or due to lighting. If by some chance lighting had caused this effect, they could have readjusted the image to reflect her true skin tone. I find these images to be outrageous, and I am not the only one. The following quote is from writer Yasmin Alibhai-Brown:
"Too many black and Asian children grow up understanding the sad truth that to have dark skin is to be somehow inferior. Of course, black and Asian parents work hard to give their children a positive self-image and confidence in their appearance, despite the cultural forces stacked against them. But when black celebrities appear to deny their heritage by trying to make themselves look white, I despair for the youngsters who see those images."
I hate to say it, but this is not an isolated incident. Check out this Vogue cover of Rihanna:
Here is a before-and-after that shows how much her skin has been lightened:
I think Rihanna is absolutely beautiful. You would think Vogue does too, right? Afterall, they chose to feature her on the cover of their magazine. Why, then, are they sending the message that she is not good enough, or beautiful enough, by choosing to digitally alter her in this way? This is a very destructive message to send, especially to youth who are easily influenced. This clearly sends the message that lighter skin is more beautiful. What a horrible, false message to send.
The following are images of Freido Pinto. Again, an absolutely beautiful woman. The first picture is from a magazine ad; the second is an untouched image:
Guess who's to blame, again? You got it, it's L'Oreal! Here is the statement they released when questioned about the image:
"It is categorically untrue that L’Oréal Paris altered Ms. Pinto’s features or skin-tone in the campaign for Project Runway ‘Colors Take Flight’ limited-edition collection. Digital editing is extremely common in print publishing and advertising, where wrinkles, pounds and inches are routinely airbrushed off models and celebs to give them a flawless appearance."
Yeah, and skin is routinely lightened! Their response is a joke. How often are we seeing Beyonce's or Rihanna's skin inadvertently darkened as a result of digital editing? Exactly.
The following link will take you to a very important article on this topic:
Beauty Whitewashed: How White Ideals Exclude Women of Color
From the article, a quote that I agree wholeheartedly with:
"When we do see women of color represented as beauty icons in media, they almost always already fit white ideals--meaning they already have light skin tones, light-colored, straight hair, ideally “white” facial features, thin figures, etc. The most famous examples of black or multiracial women celebrated for their beauty or desirability consistently fit those standards, and coming up with examples who don’t is really tough. Tyra Banks, Halle Berry, Rihanna, Gabrielle Union, Ciara, Zoe Saldana, Brandy, Janet Jackson, Alicia Keys … the list goes on."
Tuesday, January 3, 2012
Thursday, July 28, 2011
Touchy subject: U.K. bans Roberts ad over airbrushing
“We have to stop exposing impressionable children and teenagers to advertisements portraying models with body types only attainable with the help of photo editing software,” Dr. Barbara L. McAneny said in a statement issued by the American Medical Association.
Tuesday, June 28, 2011
American Medical Association Denounces Photoshop
The American Medical Association recently released the following statement:
"Such alterations can contribute to unrealistic expectations of appropriate body image — especially among impressionable children and adolescents."
There are still people who will deny that these images have a deleterious psychological effect on viewers. But psychologists, doctors and other experts are increasingly coming forward-- often with scientific evidence-- to expose the dangers of presenting such unrealistic images in the media.
Click here for the full story.
Friday, December 21, 2007
'Effortless Perfection': Much Photoshopping Required
"As individual women, it can be easy to wonder why we fall into the trap of trying to live up to an unattainable standard. It's something we absorb on an almost subconscious level. Deconstructing this month's Redbook magazine cover shows us just how manufactured the images of beauty we see really are....The side-by-side comparison reminds us that we are continually fed ridiculously unrealistic images of beauty and perfection. We don't really have the option to turn away. Even if we don't read fashion magazines, the cover images are everywhere."
Faith Hill's 'Redbook' Photoshop Chop: Why we're pissed
"...even in and on a women's magazine meant for a more mature female audience (working moms, etc.) and featuring a more mature female celebrity (career-woman and mother-of-three Faith Hill) the lies and half-truths continue to be perpetuated....In a world where lying, deception, and the fudging of facts has become endemic in everything, all the way up to the highest levels of government, this is yet another example of a fraud being perpetrated on the public... and the public, for the most part, is not yet in on the joke."
When Photoshopping Goes Too Far
"And you have the audacity to call it the 1st Annual Figure-Flattery Issue."
Glamour Magazine to America Ferrera: "How do you feel about being the newest spokeswoman for curvy figures in Hollywood?"
How amusing, considering they photoshopped all the curves off of her for their magazine cover.
Take a minute and write Glamour a letter.
check out this unbelievable video which demonstrates how many of the images we see have been digitally altered in an extreme way: Photoshop Girl
Here is another example of a photoshopped image featuring Katie Couric:
Here is Kelly Clarkson on the cover of Elle magazine. They have clearly gone to great lenghts to alter her appearance, making her appear far thinner than she is in real life. See the link below the picture to view a video of the actual photoshoot, and see for yourself that the image on the cover of the magazine is a lie.
Check out the video at this link:
Kelly Clarkson at Elle photoshoot
Thanks for stopping by, and happy holidays!
Monday, December 3, 2007
in response to my "Say hello" entry:
In no way am I saying she is not beautiful. My point is that overall there is a trend for models to be super-skinny and often anorexic. This promotes a lot of negative things, as I talk about in other entries. It is not about one individual model, but about larger trends that are going on. I am absolutely not saying that very skinny people cannot be beautiful. In fact, that goes completely against what I am saying with this website. Of course skinny girls have self-esteem, too, as you said! I think people of all types should be celebrated, as opposed to how it is now, where it seems like most models have nearly identical body types. I would love to see models of all shapes and sizes (and colors and everything else.) Unlike what you said, I do not "call people out" for being skinny, and if that is Jaslene's natural body type, of course she should not try to change that just to fit in. If I were to see her on the street, I wouldn't think, "oh, she's anorexic," or have a problem with her at all.
We continually see images like the above in fashion magazines and on the runway. In this sense, it was predictable that a model like Jaslene would be chosen as the winner. The fashion industry promotes this type of image, and that has been shown to contribute to the development of eating disorders and low self-esteem. Also, in case it isn't clear, I have empathy and concern for those suffering from eating disorders, not condemnation. Anorexia is a horrible disease that I do not like to see being promoted, and that is why I post about it. Also, I have never said that these images cause eating disorders, which have important psychological and biological components.
"Many researchers in the field use the metaphor of a gun to explain what leads to the onset of an eating disorder. According to this description, first coined by Dr. Cynthia Bulik of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, genes load the gun and the environment pulls the trigger." -- Kimberly Conniff Taber
Thanks for reading.
Monday, November 26, 2007
"An image of unique power, even though disturbing, can impact viewers in the way pages of text cannot. It has shock value and sometimes people need to be shocked into awareness, particularly when it comes to a ‘fashion’ disease that has been wreaking havoc in the lives of women. While anorexia also has a psychological component, there is little doubt that constant exposure to the ideal of beauty represented by rail thin models has added to the pressure to appear slim at all costs - even at the expense of health." - Aidan Maconachy
A statement said: "Toscani [the photographer] has literally laid his subject bare, to show the reality of this sickness to all through this naked body, a sickness that in most cases is caused by the stereotypes imposed on women by the fashion world." (Billboard appeared during fashion week in Milan.)
I think this billboard is great. The photographer is trying to make people confront the reality of anorexia. Anorexia is a deadly illness that is being promoted when anorexic and super-thin models are continually presented as being the epitome of beauty. There is also a huge amount of pressure within the industry to be underweight; many models (and former models) have spoken publicly about the rampant problems of drug use, bulimia and anorexia in the modeling world.
A recent image from Teen Vogue magazine:
And last month's issue of Glamour magazine (along side an untouched photo):
America Ferrera has become hugely successful playing "Ugly Betty" on TV, a girl who supposedly doesn't match up in outward beauty to the women around her yet is well-liked and successful. America goes through wardrobe and make-up changes to alter her appearance for the show, but still, in real life she is not as thin as most women working in Hollywood (although she has lost a lot of weight-- perhaps due to industry pressure-- since her wonderful debut in the film "Real Women Have Curves.") With all of this taken into account, I find it truly sick that Glamour magazine digitally altered America's image to make her look much thinner than she really is. They are saying that even though they love "Ugly Betty," she is still not beautiful enough for the cover of their magazine. They are saying that even though America Ferrera has lost weight (and is awesome and just won an Emmy award!), that she is still not thin enough for the cover of their magazine. The whole thing is ironic, even more so because there is an episode of "Ugly Betty" dealing with a young model, and the moral issues involved when her magazine images are photoshopped to make her look much thinner.
Thursday, September 13, 2007
This June, two University marketing professors are releasing a study that suggests sex doesn’t sell. The research, based on 200 college student interviews suggests that sex-obsessed advertising can actually backfire against marketers, triggering doubts about product quality and legitimacy.
Beauty and the beholder: Why pretty faces don't always help sales
And that, ladies and gentlemen, is the entire point of this website. I wanted to show that the phrase "sex sells" is a broad generalization that is sometimes true, sometimes very untrue, and all too often quoted to defend negative things. People say "sex sells" to justify sexist images that promote misogyny and directly hurt women ("sex" does not equal "sexism"!) Of course, sometimes sex does sell, but not in the way that people often claim. In conclusion, all of this objectified sexualization of women in advertising seems to be doing nothing but damage. Don't take my word for it, just check out the countless scientific studies that have been done on the subject.
And finally, one last bit of news from trendhunter.com:
French Fashion Label Uses Hardcore Porn for Catalog
"A French Fashion Label, Shai, has decided to launch its latest clothing line using full x-rated pornographic content. The interactive online site features x-rated porn with woman-on-woman, man-on-woman, and man-on-man sex scenes that feature the clothing on the bed. The website also allows users to react, and does not censor those who object.
One user writes, “intentional or not its complete crap. you only see the same set of clothes the whole time, i get it, the clothes are on the bed, so what, the next 5 minutes is porn, and a terrible track that has no other meaning than the brands name repeated over and over. Brands should build good stories at the very least, not brainwash people into [pleasuring themselves] while listening to someone awfully singing “Shhaaiii"”
The site is engineered to start a viral trend with links for bloggers to post videos, tell a friend links, and an online press kit…"
Just to make sure I'm being clear, I'm not including this here as a commentary on pornography. The point is that advertisers are using sex as a commodity in ever more extreme ways, which does not seem to make any sense in light of the scientific studies I have been sharing.
Finally...I wanted to say thank you to everyone reading this and especially to those who have commented on my posts or sent me emails. I love getting your feedback. Knowing that this website has been a positive thing for even one person definitely makes it worth my while.
Thursday, August 9, 2007
Besides the fact that I don't like American Apparel, the ad caught my eye because the girl looks to be about 12. For a second, I thought maybe I was wrong and/or overreacting. But I clicked on the ad, and the URL included the word "tweener," referring to a pre-teen. Personally, I find this swimsuit a bit revealing and the pose too sexualized for a pre-teen. It seems pretty clear they are trying to make this model look "sexy," and I don't think that's right for a 12 year old.
I went on to do a bit of investigative work (at least that's what I like to call it to make myself feel important), and I visited the official American Apparel website to check out their photographs. To my relief, their was no highly sexualized "tweener" photograph section. In fact, I found galleries for adult clothing and children clothing, but no teen section. Not only did I not find a teen or tween section, but in no place did I see the offending ad, the same model, or even the same swimsuit! So, why is this weird ad on facebook.com all the time? Most people who use facebook are definitely not in their preteen years.
Well, since there's no teen section to rip apart on the American Apparel site, let's take a quick look at the kids section. Here are some pictures from the kids skirt/dress section:
The above "dress" also "doubles as a long tank top," according to the website. Why is that? Because there is not enough fabric here for a dress! Sure, I've seen worse, but there is a bigger picture here, and that is that we are increasnigly seeing sexy clothes being marketed and sold to kids. What do you think?
This skirt is advertised as being "a short yet modest style." If I had a young daughter, I would never buy a skirt that short for her.
And finally, I present the wonderful article I mentioned earlier. It is actually part of a much longer piece, and for those who are so inclined, I highly recommend reading the whole thing via the link provided. Otherwise, dig in:
Love for Sale: Criticism and Defense of Advertisingby Bernard Dolan, Special to Knowmore.org
August 22, 2006
In 2005, Jason Rowe, a columnist for NYU’s Washington Square News, described American Apparel's ads as, “Photographs of young women in compromising positions, some as young as fifteen... juxtaposed alongside text giving accounts of meeting the models on the street and inviting them to be photographed... conveying the feeling of some sort of perverted conquest." Rowe called the ads "sexually exploitative" and noted that they "seem more like amateur pornography than anything else."
As American Apparel's slinky ads have spread across urban landscapes, the internet, and the pages of weekly culture rags, many commentators have begun to voice similar criticism. The ads have been compared to child pornography, called "sleazy" and "creepy," and have constantly been linked with Charney's rumored sexual antics and legal battles.
In a 2005 interview with NowToronto.com, Media Watch founder Ann Simonton called for a boycott of American Apparel products over the ads. "This is beyond 'sex sells,'" Simonton told the interviewer. "It goes to a level of humiliation."
And yet the same NowToronto article found Charney's ads being defended, by porn star turned PhD sexologist Annie Sprinkle."I like the sweat, the grit, the reality," Sprinkle said. "He obviously appreciates female sexuality in all its glorious sleaziness. And I think you can worship female sexuality and also worship women in the workplace. If you see sex as bad, dirty, and ugly, then you're going to see these ads as bad, dirty and ugly. These ads are kind of a mirror. In a way, they're almost neutral."
I spoke with Alexandra Sprunt, head of American Apparel's marketing department, about the ads. Ms. Sprunt echoed Annie Sprinkle's defense, explaining that many of the controversial photographs used for the ads were culled from "random shots" taken by a number of employees and their friends.
As evidence of this "random" motif, which she claimed Charney created in the company's early days, Ms. Sprunt showed me an American Apparel print ad featuring a picture of an elderly couple in Montreal, and another featuring a car's bumper in the company parking lot.
She also singled out ads featuring photos she and her friends had taken, and told me the back-stories behind some of the images.
"If you saw this without knowing where it came from you might just think it's a dirty picture I guess," she said of one photo. "But to me that's a great picture from a funny night that sort of captures what me and my friends do when we hang out."
This is a central feature of the company's defense of its advertising: that the ads it uses are the natural outgrowth of a genuine youth culture at the company. In defense of their advertising, company representatives often point to a "sexy lifestyle" being lived by the company's employees, from which the ads spring spontaneously. The company goes so far as to include a "gallery" section on its website, featuring collections of amateur photography by employees, videos of photo shoots and office Christmas parties, and other pieces of what the site calls "American Apparel Culture". In a way then, American Apparel wants its ads to be viewed as spontaneous art, produced by and among its employees, featuring its employees.
But isn't there a difference between art and advertising? And what about those who don't want to participate in American Apparel's sexy "youth culture"? Isn't there still something basically irresponsible in plastering city buses and park benches with pictures of spread eagle girls blowing bubblegum, for the sake of selling t-shirts?
In my conversations with American Apparel's press agent, Cynthia Semon, she acknowledged that the ads are just that: advertising. They are created in a prescribed way, to appeal to a targeted audience with the aim of selling goods to that audience. In this way, they are funadementally different from art created for art's sake.
However, Ms. Semon still defended the company's ads by comparing their critics to those who would censor erotic art.
She and American Apparel assert that it is the viewers individual responsibility to curb the harmful societal trends blamed on advertising and art. Parents should educate their children about sex and raise them properly, she maintains; advertisers should not be faulted for selling their products as they see fit. "No corporation can influence a child more so than their family," she said.
Many critics of advertising disagree. In her book Can't Buy My Love: How Advertising Changes the Way We Think and Feel, author Jean Kilbourne takes exception to the kind of 'individual prevention only' approach to social problems that Ms. Semon is advocating. Kilbourne argues that there is a need for a more widespread, "systems approach" of regulating businesses and advertising if people are to curb the social problems they are linked to. She writes:
- "People make choices, for better or worse, in a physical, social, economic, and legal environment. The credo of individualism and self-determination ignores the fact that people's behavior is profoundly shaped by their environment, which in turn is shaped by public policy. Certainly individual behavior and responsibility matter, but they don't occur within a vacuum. ...
- The systems approach is easily misunderstood because some of the interventions can seem trivial, especially in light of the extent of the problems. When some parents in a Boston suburb complained about an advertisement for beer in a Little League field, a well-known Boston columnist ridiculed them as "touchy-feely, politically correct busybodies" who thought the ad would immediatly "turn their kids into drunks."... Like a lot of people, he completely missed the point. Which is that we give a message to our children about the normalcy of beer-drinking and about societal expectations when we allow such an ad on a Little League field. A single ad-or scores of ads- won't turn kids into drunks, but they are part of a climate that normalizes and glamorizes drinking, and research proves that this especially effects young people.
Ms. Kilbourne writes that where a focus on individual prevention has failed to curb social problems like drinking and tobacco use, systems approaches have succeeded dramatically.
She uses as an example the history of antismoking organizations, who for years focused on the individual smoker as "the problem," offering consumers health information, pictures of diseased lungs and advice for quitting. Data showed, however, that an individual prevention approach was not improving public health. Antismoking organizations then began switching their strategies, highlighting the role of the environment and the institutional responsibility of the tobacco industry. Bans were placed on cigarette advertising and promotion, aggressive counteradvertising was created, and higher taxes and better warning labels were placed on cigarettes.
As a result of this shift to a systems approach, consumption of cigarettes has plummeted in states that launch aggressive anti-tobacco campaigns, and the norms for cigarette smoking have changed dramatically in the past 20 years.
But do ads that use sex to sell contribute significantly to a harmful environment? A number of academics, activists, and consumers seem to think so.
Mallory Hanora, a feminist and contributor to Knowmore.org, had the following to say about American Apparel's ads:
- "American Apparel is built not only on what it sells, but how it sells it. If worker's rights are truly important to the production of a t-shirt, why isn't the objectification of female models important in the process of selling that t-shirt? After all, the models in American Apparel's advertisements are part of the company's workforce. For a so called visionary company, it's hypocritical and shortsighted to trumpet the influence you have over labor policies in garment manufacturing, but deny that same influence over marketing by submitting to the sexist, exploitative status quo in advertising."
With the help of Alexandra Sprunt and Cynthia Semon at American Apparel, I compiled a diverse collection of about 80 of the company's ads from the past two years. The ads were then shown to Dr. Susan Bordo, Professor of Gender and Women's Studies at the University of Kentucky. Dr. Bordo is the author of numerous books involving gender, cultural images and their relation to body image issues, including Unbearable Weight: Feminism, Western Culture, and the Body. She had the following to say about American Apparel's advertising:
- "My biggest complaint against ads such as these is the way they get away with soft-core porn body postures and motifs -- for example, spread legs and orgasm-like facial expressions, done in an 'unposed' polaroid-type style -- under the guise of being 'young, fresh, and authentic.' The marketers use post-modernism and 'youth culture' ideology as an excuse for moving the bar lower and lower regarding what is acceptable to show. Calvin Klein was the first to employ this strategy in his famous 1994 series of TV ads, which looked like home movies with underage models, and which were ultimately yanked from the air. Klein defended the ads by saying the models weren't actually underage (as though that were the issue) and by insisting that for him they had less to do with sex than with spontaneity and youthfulness. The idea: These young people are simply being 'natural'; it's the sleazy-minded viewers that see the dirty sex in the ads.
- The reality of imagery is, however, that the more stylized and polished photos are -- the more 'high fashion' drama they express -- the less pornographic they look. In the posed, glossy, and highly stylized photos of most (not all) fashion spreads, the models do not look like they've been caught unaware or don't fully understand the meaning of what they're doing. They look like models. These American Apparel ads, in contrast, which pride themselves on using 'real people,' for that very reason have a much more pornographic edge to them.
- It's distressing that the same kind of images that had to be taken off TV in 1994 are, in 2006, are stuff of 'left-wing' advertising!
- Do the images have an effect? All you have to do is walk down any suburban street and you'll see the answer to that. Six and seven year olds, who don't have any real idea of what they are doing, are aping the poses, the gestures, the personae. Young, fresh, and spontaneous? Or little girls learning how to play by the current rule that if you aren't sexy, you aren't worth anything?"
Charney remains dismissive of those who would criticize his company's ads. In our conversation, Dov pointed to soaring profits as evidence that "the average consumer doesn't care about this stuff. Most people are responding to our ads. All of this criticism is academic. ... It all comes down to personal taste. Look it's not like I'm selling beer, you know. We're selling sexy underwear, so we have sexy ads!"by Bernard Dolan, Special to Knowmore.org
August 22, 2006
"All of this criticism is academic." That's just brilliant. But, really, I shouldn't be suprised that Dov Charney fails to understand. After all, he seems to enjoy using his own body to try to sell his product.
Yeah, that's the CEO of American Apparel himself. And that picture is supposed to make me want to shop there?! I would think they'd put this ad up in the window if they were trying to keep people away, especially if you know anything about the guy.
Saturday, July 21, 2007
I don't even know for sure what this ad is selling, but I suppose that would be the barely-there denim dress on the barely-there model who looks like she is being tied up. Is this image supposed to make a woman want to buy this dress? My question remains, why do people think this will help sell a product? If there is someone out there who knows something I don't know about advertising, fill me in.
And now, a new ad from Sisley. The caption should be: "Snort Coke. Don't Eat. Look good in this dress that doesn't even contain enough fabric to function as a scarf." Focus: girl on the right. Her makeup is done to make her look like she's just been beaten up, and her eyes seem to be rolling into the back of her head like those drugs are about to take her from high to overdose.
Oh No... Upon looking up more information on Sisley, I just found out that the above ad is a fake! At first I got upset that I wasted my time posting the picture and writing about it, until my quest led to me to real Sisley ads that were more disgusting than anything I thought I'd find. And now that it's time to reveal the first image, I've decided I don't even want to post it on my page.
Here's a link.
Don't I wish that those were the fake ads. It seems too crazy to be true. Josie Maran, the model here, got in trouble with Maybelline (for whom she was a spokesperson) over these photos.
Here are some more pictures that Sisley has used to advertise their clothing.
Wow, I'm almost predicting the next Sisley ad is going to look like our favorite Dolce & Gabbana ad, except with animals in place of the men.
It seems that a lot of these photos are from 1999 to 2001, so there won't be any protests now. But I certainly will never buy anything from Sisley. Actually, I've never even seen a Sisley store or Sisley clothing in America, though I'm not exactly known for my interest in fashion.
Well, at least the models don't appear to be underage, like the ad I'm going to talk about next time. Then again, I'm not sure how old the animals are (haha.) But truly, I find these ads to be degrading to both the women and the animals featured.
Zoophilia is most commonly referred to only jokingly; it's not something people really want to talk about on a serious level. And this is definitely the first time I have seen it implied in an ad campaign. Personally, I hate the pictures, but i'm not sure how to elaborate on that more without discussing zoophilia further, which I am not interested in doing.
I wonder, does anyone like the ads? Do they make you want to buy the... clothing featured? (They don't exactly make it clear what they are trying to sell!)