Society has had Photoshop in its crosshairs for a while now, blaming it for everything from anorexia to negative self-image and much in between. But deep down we know it’s not the fault of a computer program that 10-year-old girls go on diets thinking they are fat, and women feel ugly and overweight because we play the comparison game. The problem is us. The problem is society. The problem is that we as consumers buy into the Photoshop perfected person on magazine covers and in advertisements that bombard us. We say (and know) that “real” beauty comes from within, yet we gladly pay billions of dollars a year to try to look more like the cover girl. We, as photographers, know the power of Photoshop firsthand.
Cassey Ho, fitness expert and author of popular fitness blog Blogilates, recently found herself a target of body-shaming trolls from the Internet. You know the type; they are people who have way too much time on their hands, who hide behind a fake screen name and cyber-bully people anonymously (probably sitting in their parent’s basement). Cassey is a certified fitness instructor and has created quite a fitness empire with her inspirational and positive messages about getting healthy. As with any social media star, or public figure, they have their fair share of critics and Cassey is no different. In an interview with People Magazine, Cassey says, “In the last few months, the negativity towards me personally has gotten worse. I’m a person too, so it really gets to me.”
In response to comments such as, “You shouldn’t give advice when you’re so fat,” and Trainer? Really? Tone up the belly fat and love handles…” Cassey created “The Perfect Body,” a video where she Photoshops herself in real time with suggestions from what people have said she “should” look like. The resulting 2:25-minute video has since gone viral with almost 3 million views.
It’s hard to be content with the shape of your body when people are constantly telling you how fat you are. The backhanded compliments, the mean comments, the cyber bullying – all of this messes with us…and it hurts. What if getting flat abs and bigger boobs was as easy as a click. What if you could stop all the hate and just Photoshop yourself right now, in real life? What would you change?
After posting that video, Cassey also posted an extremely Photoshopped image of herself on Instagram and again, the responses ranged from people not realizing the photo was fake and others still criticizing her body.
Photoshop, it’s a powerful, powerful tool. Photographers, please use it wisely.