Why airbrushed images should be banned

Digital altering is now commonplace and too easy to perform, says Salma Awwad
By Salma Awwad
Mon 04 Nov 2013 01:11 PM

Image manipulation was once reserved for models in
make-up ads, but as more and more people download everyday apps capable of
altering an image with just the click of a button, the line between reality and
staged moments has become blurred.

The truth is, the beauty industry, print media, and
even TV shows and music videos practice airbrushing so much that we don’t
realise how much of what we see is fake.

In turn, we hold ourselves up to unrealistic
standards of perfect skin, tiny waists and long and lean silhouettes.

Celebrities such as actress Kate Winslet and singer
Trisha Yearwood have recently hit out at their images on magazine covers being heavily altered
but those behind the airbrush are also having second thoughts about the whole
process.

When former Cosmopolitan editor Leah Hardy admitted
to the Daily Mail that she had airbrushed anorexic models to look less unwell,
it was a huge reality check that pointed out the dangerous side of this game.

“Thanks to retouching, our readers - and those of
Vogue, and Self, and Healthy magazine – never saw the horrible, hungry downside
of skinny; that these underweight girls didn't look glamorous in the flesh,”
she said in 2010.

“Their skeletal bodies, dull, thinning hair, spots
and dark circles under their eyes were ‘magicked’ away by technology, leaving
only the allure of coltish limbs and Bambi eyes. A vision of perfection that
simply didn't exist.

“All I can say is that I'm sorry for my small part
in this madness. It is time it stopped - for all our sakes.”

I agree. It’s time to transcend these outdated
ideologies of beauty and embrace the fact that human beings are indeed more
interesting and captivating with all their quirks and flaws included.

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