The Big Photoshop Ban

Today’s society is becoming increasingly more visual, with social media platforms such as Instagram dedicated to images and fast captions; the use of Photoshop and editing apps has become common practice for amateurs and professionals alike to create the perfect posts for their profiles.

The beauty and cosmetics industry have played a huge part in this trend; producing ‘perfect’ images of models with edited skin and enhanced features, using these in campaigns all-over social media.

Over the years the practice of photo-shopping images has become so common in advertising within the beauty community that many young people have grown up seeing only edited images of what society calls ‘beautiful’ and thus think it’s normal, these unattainable examples of how men and women should look are proving to have a damaging effect on young people and society in general.

This issue has surfaced before, in 2015 Statesman released an article on the affects photoshop has on society, in which issues such as young people’s confidence and levels of anxiety about the way they look due to advertising in beauty was discussed.

Well, it seems this issue may need to be raised again, with apps such as face-tune and Airbrush growing in popularity, young people are now attempting to edit their own selfies in order to fit the ideal beauty standards. Not to mention the increasing amounts of young people between the ages of 18-25 having plastic surgery to enhance their look further.

This culture of nit picking is having a profoundly damaging affect on young people with studies showing an increase in anxiety among people between the ages of 18-25, particularly in young women who are the main customer base for the beauty industry; these perfect images we see constantly seem to shame the most normal parts of the female body; this includes the editing and shaming of stretch marks and cellulite. Causing more women anxiety over their appearance.

Brands and companies seem to be aware of these effects and are starting to pave the way to change the way they advertise.

CVS, the American drug store giant has recently released a statement claiming they will ban the use of photo-shopped advertisements in their stores, all 9,600 of them. Stating that they have a ‘responsibility to think about the messages they send to customers’ CVS hopes other brands will follow suit and ban or at least label photo-shopped images in order to lead a positive change.

Celebrities such as Jameela Jamil have also begun to come out in protest of Photo editing and Airbrushing, Ms Jamil is particularly passionate about the subject encouraging other young Women to take a stand too, she states that photo editing ‘sells women the lie of perfection’ so that we all go out to buy products to ‘fix something that was never broken in the first place’.

The former radio DJ and now actress is a dedicated campaigner of Women’s rights, she believes Photo editing apps and Photoshop have a lot to answer for when it comes to the rise in young girls with eating disorders and other anxieties over the way they look.

Many agree with Ms Jamil’s opinions on this topic and the spread of talk to boycott brands who continue to Airbrush is growing.

However, there is a long way to go; with companies such as L’Oreal under fire for lightening ambassadors’ skin in adverts and many more outrageous photo editing scandals coming to light, we are still in an era of heavily edited advertising in the beauty industry.

Particularly with social media and photo editing tools being accessible to everyone, is it possibly too late to reverse the damage that has already been done to our younger generation?