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Body Image – Will the Real Britney Please Stand Up?

It’s no secret that magazines alter images of women to make them look better. I’ve always found it amusing that whenever the debate about body image comes up, the magazines all shrug in innocence as though they don’t really have any control over it.

But regardless of who controls it, the simple fact of the matter is, when images of women’s bodies are altered to make them look slimmer and younger, it leaves an impression on anybody looking at it. And if you feel a little lacking in confidence, or if you already have a poor body image, seeing altered photos will make you feel bad about yourself. Even if it only happens on a subconscious level – which is, to be honest, where all the damage is done.

Of course, smoothing over the little wrinkles and blemishes on a face is not a new fad – it’s been around since the first portraits were painted centuries ago. But what is done in the media these days is so much more dangerous. This doesn’t just make the subject look good – it makes the rest of us feel bad because we don’t look like that. Even though the image we’re seeing isn’t even remotely real.

I present exhibit A: Britney Spears.

These images are a perfect example of how things can be changed to give an entirely different perspective.

By making her thighs slimmer, her entire body type changes. She looks taller, when in fact she’s actually shorter, with classically strong legs (endomorph).

What you don’t really notice when you look at these pictures, is just how attractive she is before she’s photo-shopped. Seriously, if you only saw the pictures on the left, you’d say to yourself that you’d be happy to look like that, right?

But we’re not given the opportunity to aspire to an achievable goal – only an impossible one. We’re made to think that Britney looks like the picture on the right – when, despite her trainers and coaches, not even she looks that good in real life. And if she doesn’t, what hope have we?

I know there are some countries and publishers who are looking at codes of conduct now, with some idea of marking photos that have been altered. I hope that happens, because our minds, young and old, get beaten up with this kind of stuff all the time. And frankly, we just don’t need it.

Photos from thechive.


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