While getting ready for any given Saturday afternoon, I can assure you, that my best friend will need a half hour alone just to decide which brand of her jeans to wear. She is meticulous on all accounts, refusing to leave her house looking less than perfect. With new products and technology being produced and thrown at her at all hours of the day, it would not be a stretch to assume that her biggest worry at times is in choosing which color shoe will make her the most popular. She is not alone. Amidst this fast-paced world in which girls are growing up today, we need a strategy for sifting through our options, enabling us to choose the right product. Enter fashion magazines, the unsung heroes of the world in which girls live today. Their dating and weight loss tips serve as substantial guidelines pointing us in the right direction of where we need to be for social acceptance. However, a closer look may reveal some ugly truths. Certain aspects of fashion in today’s media, particularly with photoshop, create a distorted and unattainable reality except through extensive surgery. These unachievable standards create a negative body image resulting in low mental and physical health of young girls growing up today.
Until the late 1800s, the voluptuous woman dominated the ideal body image. Through the early 1900s, for a woman to have extra weight on her body was a sign of good health and wealth (Markula). An obvious example is Marilyn Monroe, the revered sex goddess of the 1950’s, who worked as a model in the 1940’s and after winning multiple beauty contests, went on to become one of the most worshipped female actresses of her time. However, by media’s standards today, not only would she be overweight, she would also not fit the requirements of a contemporary fashion model with her dress size ranging from a 10 to a 16 in today’s measurements (Michelle). As you can see in figure 1, this is a picture of a beautiful woman. We see very little bits of cellulite and yet these bumpy patches that we see here and there are a natural part of a woman’s body. There is a soft thickness around her middle—we don’t see chiseled abs. In other words, this is reality pre-photoshop, and the world not
Figure 1only accepted this as normal, but embraced it as beautiful. This image has not been tampered with and yet was regarded as “ideal.”
However, this ideal was soon to be distorted by an invention unlike any of it’s time. Photoshop was created in 1987 by a young Thomas Knoll, a PhD student studying engineering at the University of Michigan. While writing a subroutine for a program to translate monochrome images on his monitor to grayscale, his brother John suggested that he create a full-featured image editor while he was at it. The collaboration of the two brothers led to the development of a revolutionary application known as Adobe Photoshop, and today it’s used everywhere (Halliwell). Since it’s invention in 1987, Photoshop has grown to become the most prominent...