IO2 – Advertisement & Culture

Rachel Humphrey




Informed Opinion 2


November 15, 2013











            I think that we all know when photos are altered, but it would be helpful to younger generations for ads and TV commercials to state that the photos have been digitally altered. I don’t think that it would stop advertisers from altering photos, but at least we as the viewer’s know can differentiate from what is real and what is altered. I don’t think banning altered photos will help anything, so my point of view is that we should have disclaimers indicating that the photos have been altered and we should have the right to view the original photo.


            In Britain and France have been trying to get advertisers to disclaim the alterations done in photos (PFanner, 2009). Women are looking at these ads and feeling bad about themselves because they want to be like the woman on the magazine. Little do they know that those photos are altered and the woman most likely does not look like anything like the photo. Valerie Boyer from France made a statement that said these photos can lead people to believe in a reality that does not exist (PFanner, 2009). It can really hurt a person’s self-esteem by thinking they can be like a person on the advertisement. The photos are Photoshopped and any women would not look like that in real life.  Robin Derrick of Vogue magazine says that he has spent the first 10 years of his live making women look smaller, now he has spent the last 10 years making women look bigger (PFanner, 2009). Consumers actually no longer want to see stick thin figures on their magazines. The more natural, the better.


            Photoshopping images are sometimes a good thing because a lot of people don’t want to look at blemishes or a horrible scar on your arm, but it is getting out of control. It’s not just used to cover up scars or blemishes, it is being used to change models sizes and to change the makeup usage on people. Faith Hill was photoshopped on a Redbook magazine (Brown, 2011). They made her arms look thinner than they actually are and probably her waist size as well. They made her look like she was still 22 years old. In the article they explain that they studied how much a magazine is rated determines how much retouching happens on the photo. If not a lot of people view the magazine, then it is more likely that the photo is not retouched (Brown, 2011). But like for example in Vogue, it is viewed by a lot of people so that means that the retouching on a photo would be a lot.




Our perceptions of what our bodies should look like is changing drastically because of the images we see on a day to day basis. When we are in line at a store and then we see the magazine pictures and the women are smiling but then you notice that they have a perfect shape. You wonder how you can get to be that size. You start comparing your lifestyle and even your size to that person and then our minds start to make unrealistic goals for us to be that same size of the person on the magazine.


            There are few examples of photoshopped images on a couple of magazines. The first one is of Demi Lovato on the cover of Cosmo. The article that she is in talks about her struggle with bulimia and drugs and her struggle through life as a teenager. They decide to ignore that she is spilling her heart out about her struggles and put a gorgeous photoshopped photo of her. Her face looks like they slimmed that down and then her waist line is slimmed down almost double. Someone was nice enough to put a before and after picture together in the same time frame of when the photo was altered and when she was on the red carpet with no alterations made (Kite & Kite, 2011).



Another example is Kate Winslet on a GQ magazine. She has been altered in a way that you can hardly recognize her. We all love and adore Kate Winslet the way she is. We know that she is curvy, but she is also, in my opinion, one of the most gorgeous women in Hollywood. There is no surprise that she is on the cover of GQ. The shock is that they thought men would like stick thin legs with no curves on her. I think that men actually like a few curves, no one anymore really wants a stick thin figured woman. They made Kate look really tall and made her look like she had lost 30 pounds. She even made a statement after the magazine had been released that she is 5’6 and it looks like they made her 6 feet tall (Kite & Kite, 2011). She said that she would never just go out and lose 30 pounds for a photo shoot. Below is the before and after of Kate Winslet (Kite & Kite, 2011).




Ann Taylor a woman’s fashion clothing store, has been caught by altering photos when they supposedly believe in natural beauty. The woman behind the feminist website Jezebel found a leaked photo of a before picture from Ann Taylor and a picture after the alterations. The founder of Jezebel called Ann Taylor out. The hip and thighs were slimmed way down to the point that it doesn’t even look natural (Kite & Kite, 2011). Ann Taylor fixed the photo back to what it looked like before the alterations and apologized and stated again that they believe in real beauty and they may have gotten carried away and will be more careful in the future. Below is the picture of the before and after alterations (Kite & Kite, 2011).



After doing all of this research I still think that retouching and altering photos should not happen. These articles just backed up my point because looking at these before and after pictures really makes you realize. If you didn’t have these comparisons to look at it, you may think it’s normal. After doing the research I think that advertisers should post up the before and after or at the least state that they have been retouched. It will make for a healthier world. Especially with teenagers in this generation, it could get really dangerous if there isn’t something done about altering photos on magazines and even on TV, because I am sure that is next.






Works Cited



Brown, E. (2011, November 29). Digitally altered photos and body image: Look at the retouching . LA Times. Retrieved from


Kite , L., & Kite, L. (2011). Altering images and our minds. Beauty Refined . Retrieved from


PFanner, E. (2009, September 27). A move to curb digitally altered photos in ads. New York Times. Retrieved from






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