Skinny mutants are SEXAH

Coming into work this morning, I was once again faced with the annoying problem of having absolutely no work to do. In cases like this, I enjoy digging into my arsenal of time-wasting websites with a particular favorite being psdiasters.com. If you have never visited this site, it’s a must for both designers/production artists and just anybody who enjoy looking at mass amounts of fail; contributors submit ads, images, and articles from all over the world depicting photoshop debacles ranging from subtle inconsistencies to “HOLY FUCK HOW WAS THIS PUBLISHED!?”

And while insanely funny and addictive to look at, I’m not here to just discuss absurdities in the publishing industry. In perusing the site, I’ve always noticed many of the submitted images are of botched female models attributed to artists “tweaking” them to look more skinny and glamorous, and while I could possibly see the reasoning for it if it was a size 10 “I-just-ate-a-Big-Mac-before-this-photoshoot” sort-of model, it’s always bristled my back when I see the many instances of taking already thin women and sucking them in even more.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Above is the perfect example of photoshop “touchups” that have led to today’s cultural issues on female body image and self-esteem. The result of taking in the entire body several inches is not only freakish in proportion to her arms, shoulders, and face, it gives us a strange definition of beauty and one that isn’t even humanly possible. I mean seriously, does anyone REALLY find small bodyframes with gorilla arms appealing??

 

 

 

Here at Cosmo, we like our women ribless and structurally questionable…

Kidding aside, it’s these subtle (or to me, not-so-subtle) changes that piss me off the most. In the above two examples women are transformed into radically different shapes that give us an unnatural understanding of female proportions.

In the first one, you’ll notice the natural ratio between her hips and waist as well as the proportion of her hips to her head. Our society’s obsession with the notion that women should be both skinny AND hourglass-shaped (w/o her hips being larger then her shoulder length of course!) is a notion built entirely on media fantasy and has never reflected a real woman’s body. It’s almost like they would rather create images that conform to a formulaic outcome then actually consider the natural-ness of the image.

Here’s my hypothetical checklist I believe every magazine production artist to own:

Small wrists? Check.

Filled out chest? Check.

Huge contour of the waist? Check.

Hip size same as shoulder size? Super Check.

Even in cases where current trends favor the “bootylicious” body, (as demonstrated in the second image) you’ll see that it’s the waist that is brought unnaturally in, rather then actually adding and rounding out the butt. This is once again purporting the idea that the ideal woman is both extremely skinny and extremely curvy.

The saddest part about this trend is that the result not only conditions women into developing body insecurities and possible eating disorders, it’s affecting our society entirely! Consider this study that found that men are more likely to overestimate the weight of women – so that to be skinny is to be normal and to be normal is to be overweight. Overall the study found that both men and women are judging women (even girls) with a much stringent standard of what is healthy (and for all intensive purposes) what is beautiful.

As a current production artist, I can completely understand the seemingly menial job we can do. Tight deadlines, fast turnovers, and pressure to approve work quickly leads to the sort of disasters posted on psdiasters in the first place. But even as production artists, it’s still possible to conduct a conversation in the creation of warped disfigured images. In fact, it’s that sort of talking point that can be so beneficial to change! While pointing out the role that distorted photoshopping plays in our society, the fact is that agencies don’t really care – but by framing is as an issue of aesthetics (“her waist looks really weird, I don’t think we need to bring it in so far”) it contextulizes the issue in a way that directly matters to the supervisor. Because no one wants to create the next Ralph Lauren fo paux.

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