Calling all Mad World readers! Our second Mad World Forum is next week, on October 20, right here in Portland! We'll be discussing The Naked Truth: Body image, Photoshop, and Other Adventures
in Advertising. Let's get started on that discussion right now, shall we?
Because we are all super-savvy media consumers, we are all probably pretty aware of Photoshop and its implications. Pretty much every advertisement we see has been digitally altered in some way, and all of that digital alteration leaves us with images of women's (and men's) bodies that are not only unattainable for the average person, they don't even exist in the natural world. Even photos of the most super of supermodels get touched up before we see them, and though our logical minds know this, there is still a part of most of us that is affected by these images. Sure, I know that not even Jennifer Aniston is that flawless in real life, but that doesn't mean I don't get extra-frustrated by my own flaws sometimes (why can't I be flawless like that Jennifer Aniston?!). It's tricky.
At any rate, at next week's forum we'll be discussing all sorts of issues surrounding body image and Photoshop, and we'd love to get your feedback now to help guide the conversation. How do you feel about these digital touch ups? Even though you know they exist, do you find yourself affected by them? What questions would you ask someone in the advertising industry about these image alterations?
To get the conversation ball rolling (yes, I've decided that a conversation ball is a thing now), let's revisit some recent high-profile Photoshop incidents (including the Bret Michaels six-pack retouch, pictured above. As if you could forget).
Madonna can sell merch for Dolce and Gabbana, but her veins are clearly not welcome.
Gabby Sidibe for Elle, complete with new hair and skin color!
Yes, London Fog initially hired Christina Hendricks for her hour-glass figure, but then they changed their minds.
For even more adventures in Photoshop, visit Jezebel's Photoshop of Horrors.
So, what do you think? What related topics would you like to see discussed at our forum next week? Leave them in the comments section or—better yet—if you live in the Portland area, join us and discuss them in person!
This project was made possible in part by a grant from Oregon Humanities (OH), a statewide nonprofit organization and an independent affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities, which funds OH's grant program. Any views, findings, and conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of Oregon Humanities or the National Endowment for the Humanities.