Get the inside scoop on the latest makeup, hair and skincare launches

Tuesday, 29 March 2011

The Great Airbrushing Debate

Apparently Britney Spears has become embroiled in a new row about the airbrushing of her new album promo shots. See the pictures here... Aside from the fact that the airbrushed shots don't actually make her look 'pounds lighter' as The Daily Mail argues, I think she looks great...cue a surge of death threats.

You see, I don't have a problem with airbrushing and feel that the government/tabloids/middle-class busy-bodies who slam this sort of visual editing are greatly underestimating the British public. Of course models and celebrities don't really look like that but surely most of us realise this. In my career as a beauty journalist, I've often worked with models and can tell you first hand that yes, some are impossibly beautiful in the flesh, with the most flawless, transparent of skins and a metabolism that permits them to gorge on crisps and chocolate without putting on a pound. But for every otherwordly creature, there's a model whose book is, erm, how shall I put this, misleading. I once had a girl turn up to a shoot who had experienced an allergic reaction to eggs. She knew she was allergic but helpfully thought she would test it the night before the shoot. She had broken out in bumps all over her face and not even the best makeup artists in the world could've completely masked the reaction. It's at times like these when you think, 'thank God for airbrushing.' Because, however shallow and sinister this makes me sound, I buy magazines to look at beautiful, perfect things, from clothes that I will never be able to afford to unachievable makeup looks.

And as for the magazine and the airbrushing culture creating, or at least encouraging, eating disorders and low self esteem in young girls, I can only say that that has not been my own experience. Yes, I'm convinced that there are girls that look at models in magazines and think, 'why can't I be as slim/pretty/perfect at them' but all my self-esteem issues growing up, from not feeling clever enough to being 'chubbier' than others, did not stem from watching Hollyoaks or reading glossy magazines, but from everyday socialisation. I've always had friends who were slimmer than me, cleverer than me and had better skin than me. Heck, even in my own family (I have two very pretty sisters) I've grown up spending most days comparing myself to them and I know they have too. I still have a hang up about my stomach after a girl shouted 'you look pregnant' at me, aged 10. I look back at photos - there wasn't an ounce of fat on me - but it stayed with me and had nothing to do with magazines/airbrushing/celebrities.

For those that abhor the idea of airbrushing in magazines and advertisements, I would ask are we all not a little bit guilty of visual editing? How many of us have de-tagged a photo on Facebook because we look rough/drunk/all of the above? Or even gone through our digital camera memory after a night out and deleted the photos with eyes closed or where we simply don't look out best? I wager that most of us would admit to one or the other. Casio even make a camera now with built-in airbrushing to mask blemishes and boost skin tone...I'm not ashamed to admit that I looked at this camera for this very reason.

But aside from all of these reasons why airbrushing isn't necessarily the root of all evil, really who cares? For now, I'll still be de-tagging photos and brushing out the odd spot on Paint and I shouldn't have to feel bad about it. What do you think Best Tressers? Sx

1 comment:

  1. I completely agree!! My skinny paranoia was never about seeing celebrity perfection but about the media continually going on about how awful celebrities look when they're overweight, and the continual dismissive remarks about this e.g.pointing out Jennifer Lopez's cellulite. And then the other extreme where Lilly Allen has recently admitted on her Riches to Rags that she suffered from bolemia and her front page presence escalated substantially with how amazing she looked, which was not an airbrushed picture but could result in long-term damaging effects!xx