Ever since we’ve had the technological capabilities to do so, the media has been modifying and airbrushing photographs. The idea behind these modifications is usually one of ‘enhancement.’ Using Photoshop, you can touch up a model’s skin tone, clear away any blemishes, subtract a few years from their face, and even go so far as to enhance their boobs or integrate the dreaded thigh gap.
Digital enhancement is now the norm, and it creates unrealistic expectations about body image and beauty. I would point to the digital modification of photos as one of the biggest problems with how people are portrayed in the media. Yet, most of the time, digital enhancement is used to further sexualize the model and to force them to conform to ‘beauty’ as construed by our twisted society.
That’s why this recent case out of Utah is so interesting. It seems to fly in the face of how we normally perceive digital enhancement. Ultimately, it accomplishes the same goal: modifying a person so that they conform to the moral groundwork established by our society.
Check out the link to see more of the altered images – they all seem fairly arbitrary. It’s not like these girls showed up to their photo shoots topless or anything like that. The school’s defence of the alterations is even more confusing and arbitrary:
“We only apologize in the sense that we want to be more consistent with what we’re trying to do in that sense we can help kids better prepare for their future by knowing how to dress appropriately for things,” said Wasatch County School District.” Superintendent Terry E. Shoemaker.
Yeah, because the dress and moral codes established by a bunch of stuffy old people on a Utah school board is really relevant in the real world, right?
Ugh, how annoying this whole thing is. Do you think that the school had a right to modify the images as they did?