Fotoshop by Adobé
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Fotoshop by Adobé

This is a cute video, but I think it misses the point. Whether models are 'shopped or not doesn't matter as far as driving female beauty ideals are concerned. Pin-up paintings[a] are entirely artificial, everyone knows that, but yet they promulgate a message of "look like this to be successful". This is why I think that warning labels, like "this photo has been altered"[b], ultimately miss the point.

As long as "being beautiful" is a major opportunity for success for women, beauty ideals will matter, and the method of communicating them will not.

Men have beauty ideals, too, but also many other opportunities to gain wealth. Think about it, how many men see "being a supermodel" as a road to success? More likely, they see "being a CEO". Beauty, therefore, is much less of an opportunity for a man, merely by having to compete with other opportunities.

The only solution I can see is to keep widening the options for women to be successful in society. The more options a woman has, the less risk they will lock on to beauty as their weapon of choice. Education, access to the informal men-only networks on the same terms as men, and telling women about these possibilities will do more than any cutesy "Photoshop is fake" cliché.

2012-01-26, updated 2013-02-12