This week, a 37 second video called “The Power of Adobe Photoshop” has been making the rounds all over social media and various websites, including this one. It depicts the dramatic transformation of a woman’s appearance using hair, makeup and a whole lotta Photoshop.
Here are some of the headlines accompanying it on the blogs:
“The Power of Photoshop’ Illustrates Our Unrealistic Expectations of Beauty” – RYOT
“Model Photoshop Gifs And Video Shocking! Watch Disturbing Airbrush Transformation Of Average Woman Before And After” – idesigntimes.com
“Watch as Woman Goes From Average to Fabulous in 37 Seconds” – ABC
“37 Seconds to “Perfect”: Why Women Have Body Issues” – Babble
“”The Power Of Photoshop’ Shows How Frighteningly Warped Society’s Beauty Expectations Truly Are” – Thought Catalog
Let me make something very clear. This woman:
…is NOT “average”. She’s beautiful. So is this “woman”:
Sure, she’s man-made but guess what? There are actual women in the world that look like this. Like, a bunch of them. I live in Los Angeles so I should know.
The reaction to this video and outrage over the use of Photoshop in general says more about the standard of beauty in Western society than the video itself. Just referring to the woman in her natural state at the beginning of the clip as “average”, speaks volumes.
Telling ourselves that the digitally manufactured “woman” is impossibly perfect and that real women literally could not look like that is a disingenuous attempt at soothing the deep collective insecurity about our own beauty, or perceived lack thereof. We reassure ourselves that this woman doesn’t exist, so there’s no need to feel inadequate or not good enough by comparison. But, she does. She’s sitting across the bar from you or trying on clothing in the fitting room adjacent to yours. She’s your ex’s new flame or your new boss. She’s standing behind you in line at Starbucks or introducing herself and telling you that she likes your writing. She’s in the minority, but she’s around and you can’t escape her.
Photoshop could be banned from all media and girls that walk around, naturally looking like the fake woman in this video, will still exist. In demonizing the cosmetic and digital magic found in this video, you’re barking up the wrong tree. The fact is, many people might perceive certain women as more beautiful than you and becoming OK with that is the real issue here. Realizing that it isn’t a contest and that the people who matter will think you’re the most beautiful thing they’ve ever seen, should be what we’re focusing on here, right?
If you figure out how to do that, let me know.