Home Beauty Video Vault: What Happens When Everyday Women are Put on the Photoshop Diet?

Video Vault: What Happens When Everyday Women are Put on the Photoshop Diet?

by Erika Nicole Kendall

If you’ve been around BGG2WL for a while, you’ll know that I’m someone who’s big about discussing “The Photoshop Diet:”

I can’t have an 18-inch waist (which is actually what my toddler measures right now… yes.) and a 40-inch booty. It just… it just ain’t sensible.

…but that’s what we’re fed every day. Every single day. Women with insanely tiny waists and much larger hips. We’re fed “curves” – women with extremely low body fat percentages whose waists are so much smaller than their hips, that you can’t help but wonder what diet they’re on.

I’m here to tell you. They’re on The Damn Photoshop Diet.

Skin… nipped and tucked. Booties… lifted. Make-up… applied with the brush tool. Apparently… we’re so disgusted by the human body that we need altered views of it in order to survive every day.
Excerpted from Retouching, Body Image and The Photoshop Diet | A Black Girl’s Guide To Weight Loss

Imagine my curiosity when I’d heard that BuzzFeed had put four women on The Photoshop Diet, and those women… well, their reactions were not quite what you’d expect.

It surprised me on a few levels, mainly because we talk so much about women contorting themselves to live up to an image that doesn’t reflect, respect or even consider the things that make them unique, things that ultimately make them beautiful. The woman whose freckles were shopped out made me the saddest – I can’t think of the last time I saw someone with freckles in a magazine.

Marketers and advertisers use the plainest, most generic, most general canvas of a woman to market their products to us, and we all stare at her and wonder why we can’t look like her. We all gawk, wishing that we could look like her, until we realize that “looking like her” means removing the very things that make us who we are – our freckles and how they punctuate our bright faces, our laugh lines and how they frame our smile, our foreheads and how they brighten up our faces… for some of us, it includes the texture of our hair, the color of our skin… so much has to be sacrificed to be a cover model, and you have to start wondering – if the cover of a magazine isn’t a space for uniqueness, then what the hell is it for?

ABC Entertainment News|ABC Business News

In the Good Morning America poll in the video above, when people were asked whether they believed photoshopping a portrait added to the photo’s beauty or diminished it, 82% believed that it diminished it. I think that’s fantastic.

The struggle, for me, is that these images and lessons rarely get to the people who need them the most. So many women are beautiful in their own unique way and in their own right, and we ban them from joining the club with the rest of us because they don’t look like an image that any of us would struggle to duplicate.

Unsurprisingly, the comments on the YT video are full of men who “don’t understand,” because “if [he] were to see a man in an ad with a better body than him, his first instinct wouldn’t be to devalue himself.” Sigh. It might prove difficult to believe, but “women” aren’t the problem here and “thinking more like men” isn’t actually the answer.

What do you think about the video? Do you believe that photoshopping a photo either adds to it or diminishes its appeal?

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Trina - Baby Shopaholic February 24, 2014 - 5:28 PM

I think photoshop is ok but don’t make people something they are not. The women looked great after makeup but they straight switched them up. So crazy!

kala February 26, 2014 - 10:01 AM

Thank you for educating me on photoshop because I was comparing my body to fake photos. Now I have to love my imperfections.

T.R. February 26, 2014 - 4:20 PM

I saw the video yesterday and was pleasantly surprised by their reactions. I wonder how I’d feel if I participated. Also, men aren’t being honest. The fastest growing group in the cosmetic and cosmetic surgery realm are men. Getting everything from peck implants to face lifts. I think because the focus is always on women and beauty, men can sort of believe they aren’t affected when they are just as much as us. It’s just not the focus because women are first judged by our looks while men are first judged by their material status. But beauty is second for men.

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