Tortured by the Media, Women Cannibalize Themselves

Lindsay Kite, Co-director of the Beauty Redefined Foundation
Source Title: “Curvy is the New Skinny, Thanks to Photoshop Phoniness”
Last Modified: 03:45 a.m. EDT, 05 May 2013

Michelle from Australia, Battling Anorexia, Photo Courtesy of Beauty Redefined

Michelle from Australia, Battling Anorexia

The latest trend in image alteration might surprise a few people who are familiar with the power and pervasiveness of the thin ideal. Known as “reverse retouching,” this new trend has editors now adding curves and inches in specific areas of women’s bodies to create more voluptuous figures.

But we’re here to tell you there’s nothing “reverse” about this retouching.

It’s more of the same old crap. More carefully chosen young women’s bodies that STILL aren’t quite beautiful, appealing or sexy enough for marketers. More illusions that accumulate in the public’s consciousness to form a new standard of normal and attainable for women’s bodies. More unnatural and unachievable beauty ideals for real-life girls and women to fall short of.

Here’s the deal: we’re all for breaking out of the trap of thin ideals being used to sell EVERYTHING from running shoes to fiber supplements. The endless stream of tall, thin, young, white women’s bodies dominating every type of media, from advertising to all genres of entertainment, has done more harm than doctors can measure.

We live in a culture that prizes female thinness above all else, as a key to attractiveness, health, desirability and success in every way. That same culture contributes to the epidemic of eating disorders and all forms of disordered eating, where approx. 10 million women are diagnosable as anorexic or bulimic in the U.S., with another 25 million more suffering with a binge eating disorder (NEDA, 2010).

That culture of appearance obsession that centers on thinness also contributes to the fact that the majority of women in the U.S. claim to be “disgusted” by their bodies, and where 60 percent of girls believe they’d be happier if they were thinner. That exact same body shame is a major contributor to chronic health issues like cardiovascular disease and diabetes, since one of the major reasons women avoid exercise is fear of being looked at or fear of looking fat. We’re so over the tyranny of the thin ideal.

So is Photoshopping to add “curves” a step in the right direction? Absolutely, undoubtedly, without question, NO. Here’s why.

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About Ayanna Nahmias

Ayanna Nahmias was interviewed on Radio Netherlands Worldwide program titled 'The State We’re In,' about her life in Africa and her determination to transcend her past. She started the Nahmias Cipher Report to provide information to readers about life in emerging economies, and to provide alternative insight into the challenges faced by women and children living in these countries. The blog features stories from around the world to inspire other people to persevere and triumph in the face of great adversity. She blogs about current events in emerging economies, international politics, human rights abuses, women’s rights and child advocacy.

View all posts by Ayanna Nahmias

4 Comments on “Tortured by the Media, Women Cannibalize Themselves”

  1. J Says:

    Ok, first I need to say this is the first blog post I have ever responded too. Second, my reason for responding is that I am in the business as a photographer and am so tired of the excuse that “because I looked at a magazine photo i am now anorexic” or that these woman are perfect and normal women cannot achieve this is absolute B.S. in my opinion!

    What causes anorexia is NOT looking at magazines it is looking in the mirror and YOU thinking that YOU are not skinny enough! It is a deception of your OWN mind about YOUR OWN body! 99.9% of the models that I photograph (including the ones photographed by me for Elle magazine) are NOT anorexic in ANY way. The models are for the most part FIT with the exceptions of a few that are just naturally thin (yes some people have high metabolism, i do not! I LOOK at a piece of cake and gain 3 kilos) but come on don’t hate them for being what is “in fashion” right now.. if you want to blame someone BLAME YOURSELF! stop buying the magazines and products that endorse the models that YOU FEEL are too thin.

    Why is it that the models who sell the beauty creams that reduce wrinkles are 15 years old?

    And lets not forget that it is not only women who are thin, in shape, and fit in the magazines.. What about all the magazines that show Mr. six pac abs with the new car and $5000 suit… what am I going to say the reason I have a keg rather than a six pac is because it is not in my genetics? HELL NO! It is due to sitting on this damn computer AIRBRUSHING images for the CLIENTS whose products YOU buy. Also due to me not working out, eating like crap, putting more food in than what I use in a day and why am I not driving a new car and wearing a 5000 suit? I am an artist and chose to live to shoot rather than shooting to live! I love what I do and the models and clients still love what I do for them… but keep it up and destroy another business with your negative non-factual slinging BS


    • J Says:

      Oh and just for the record.. I think we should go back to BP days (before photoshop, and instagram) the days when you could be pretty confident that what you see is what you get. And speaking of that, we may as well ban Spanks and Wonderbra LETS GET BACK TO TRUTH IN ADVERTISING in media as well as in person!



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