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Is Photoshopping OK When It Makes Someone’s Body Bigger?

I think we all agree that magazines have gone a little overboard with Photoshopping photos in a quest for perfection on their beautiful, glossy pages. It can be detrimental to women’s attitudes about our own bodies when we see models with pencil-like legs and whittled-down waists. But what about when photo retouching makes women larger than they are in real life? Is that also bad for us “real” women? In an interview with The Sunday Times, singer Beth Ditto of Gossip said the photos of her on the cover and inside the first issue of Love magazine were altered… to make her size 28 body appear even bigger:

“Katie Grand [Love's editor] showed me the pictures and said, ‘Can you tell what we Photoshopped?’ I was, like, ‘No,’ and she goes, ‘We made you bigger!’

Beth Ditto is a very large woman, and adding or subtracting a pound or two wouldn’t make a noticeable difference to her size, but the fact that it was done takes away from the reality of the pictures. Does making a large woman bigger have as negative an effect on how we view our bodies as seeing the skinny-minis? Possibly. It’s great that big-time fashion labels see Ditto as a fashion icon and make her one-off versions of their creations to wear to events and in photo shoots (not everyone in magazine photos should be a twig), but her health is never discussed. Is she obese, or just plus-sized? Does she exercise, or is she a heart attack waiting to happen? By making a plus-sized fashion icon even more plus-sized, I hope we’re not creating a different ideal body where women add pounds to their own bodies, thinking, I can’t get Keira Knightley’s body, but Beth Ditto’s is just a hamburger away! [Times UK]

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