Dear Readers,

I now consider this blog to be my Juvenelia. Have fun perusing the archives, and find me at my new haunt, here.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

The evils of photoshopping, touched upon

Hahahha get it? "Touched up"0n? I'm so clevah!

Anyway, this photoshopped back and forth pic that's a product of Jezebel (Gawker's estrogeny spawn) via Pandagon (yay!) is a clear illustration of the critique of women's mags Naomi Wolf so eloquently puts out in The Beauty Myth (see my previous post here).

I'm going to try and spell it out simply for those who may not buy the critique or be familiar with it:

Women's magazines are a mix of informational and aspirational. In other words, they mix interesting features about women's health, politics, etc, with a bevy of "10 steps to a new you!" stories.

Those stories are all re-hashes of the same thing. But if you read them enough, you internalize the idea that you AREN'T good and you do need a new you, which sends you to the magazine's advertisers, who offer you ass-cream, diet supplements, clothes, makeup and the like. Thus, the magazine's corporate advertisers are savvily exerting influence through the magazine's content.

Now, it used to be that content and advertisement were separate things. But more and more, advertisers pull their almighty dollars or pounds from magazines that don't promote a "buy me" message enough (see the demise of Jane), thereby eliminating whatever shreds of journalistic independence and objectivity still existed in the pages themselves.

Same goes with photoshopping. Every time we see a 40-year old woman who looks like she's 20 (see image 1, above), we think "this is what a 40 year old could and should look like." And we rush to buy products to make us look younger.

Furthermore, photoshopping promotes the same kind of misguided belief in men who see these images, that there's a "perfect girl" waiting for him and his actually human girlfriend isn't cutting it.

In this way, the simple act of photoshopping, not only in women's mags but in mainstream mags like Newsweek and beyond, holds women's bodies and appearances captive to an unattainable ideal towards which we strive constantly and never achieve, keeping our money, minds and energy pre-occupied from protesting things like bad child care and health care and pay equity. It's like mental slavery!

So, in sum, capitalism and the patriarchy and photoshop are all in a sinister co-dependent relationship of oppression ;)
and it's our duty to bring photoshop back to its god-given intent: making pictures of bad people look funny and mean!

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