I’m pretty much apathetic in the face of Photoshop. It’s an annoying (and undeniably rampant) practice for sure, but at this point I’m just like, “duh, nobody looks like that.” It’s ridiculous! But if there’s one variety of photo-altering that really, truly baffles me, it’s in the case of beauty advertisements. Are we seriously supposed to look at an ad and say, “Wow, that foundation looks great, I want to try it,” when the model has not only been subjected to hours of professional hair and makeup but has also been Photoshopped to the point of no recognizable human features?
For reference, open any fashion magazine to any page shilling a cosmetic brand or product, bonus points if it’s a well-known celebrity ― an actress, even. Does she look like a woman wearing makeup or does she look like a woman-alien hybrid who is wearing makeup and also eight hours worth of post-production photo enhancement and might also slurp out your soul to steal your youth? What is the purpose of a photographic ad if it has virtually nothing to do with the product being advertised?
So here’s the deal: in America, we turn a blind eye to this kind of blatant consumer manipulation. In the UK, they answer it with the Advertising Standards Authority, which is exactly what it sounds like. The Authority addresses everything from over-sexualization (see: Dakota Fanning’s underage ad for Marc Jacobs) and extreme thinness to the very sort of dishonest, aspirational shilling that occurs in said beauty ads. They’ve cracked down on ads featuring Julia Roberts and Christy Turlington in the past, and their next target is a Dior Diorshow mascara ad starring Natalie Portman (below).
The now-banned ad is egregious in its use of, capitalized for emphasis, FALSE EYELASHES to advertise MASCARA. Taken at face value, it’s a beautiful image that I don’t mind looking at, but really, don’t you think it’s an insult to our collective intelligence that brands actually pull this kind of bullshit? Ever more disturbing: we fall for it. Think about it. [The Gloss]