It’s an advertising dilemma. Do you run an honest ad that looks exactly like the product or do you enhance the picture a little to boost sales? When it comes to women’s bodies, the answer has turned out to be enhancement almost every time. And not only enhancement but creating a completely different person on the page.
Unfortunately, when society sees pictures of women with perfectly carved thigh gaps, legs with not an ounce of cellulite and a 20” waist with DD breasts, it quickly becomes the expected norm. The problem is, these aren’t real people. These images used to be of people, but they’ve been so incredibly altered to create a less-than-human digital picture.
“Boosting sales” or not, this just isn’t right. It’s unfair to hold women to these impossible standards of beauty–although I wouldn’t even call it beauty. What makes me want to buy a product? It’s when I see the product being used by someone like me. When I see a Victoria’s Secret model in the latest bikini, the photoshopped model actually deters me from buying the swimsuit. I take one look at the model’s stick-thin physique and just know the bikini would never work on me. (Let me insert here that there is nothing wrong with having a thin, healthy frame. I’m referring to the ridiculously impossible physiques carved out with Photoshop.)
If you want me to buy a product, show it on a model who looks like she could’ve just been walking in public when her photo was taken. If you want me to buy a swimsuit, I would rather you show me a model with some cellulite. Because you know what, I’m going to be showing some cellulite if I wear that bikini.
Advertisers try to argue that it’s the same concept as enhancing the product in a food advertisement. But no it’s not. Honestly, there are skewed societal norms and women’s self-esteem issues to think about in this case. It’s not right, and it’s not ethical. So to that argument: get back to me when you hear of a hamburger starving itself to look like the one in the McDonald’s ad.