Here’s a fun game: grab the nearest magazine and try to find a model who hasn’t been excessively Photoshopped. Unless you happen to be looking at Verily magazine, chances are slim that you’ll find anyone who isn’t sporting flawlessly plastic skin, slender limbs, and perfectly sculpted hair. The dismaying reality is a result of our culture’s obsession with the idea of thin, immaculate women. The media is so afraid of perceived imperfections that we don’t display women in online or print outlets without nipping and tucking away at their image until they no longer resemble their true selves.
But it doesn’t have to be so grim. It actually is possible for a publication to use unaltered photos to grace its pages. Verily magazine does just that, while proudly proclaiming, “Whereas other magazines artificially alter images in Photoshop to achieve the so-called ideal body type or leave a maximum of three wrinkles, Verily never alters the body or face structure of the Verily models.”
Verily’s co-founders Kara Eschbach and Janet Sahm believe in “the unique features of women, whether crows feet, freckles, or a less-than-rock-hard body, are aspects that contribute to women’s beauty and should be celebrated — not shamed, changed or removed.” This mindset shines like a beacon of hope, proving that it is possible to break the ridiculous cycle of self-depreciation found in the glossy pages of women’s magazines – and still be successful. In conjunction with Debenhams’s vow to refrain from retouching clothing models, could it be possible that we as a society are working toward a healthier attitude toward appearance?
You’ve probably heard the arguments thousands of times before about how photo retouching distorts how we view our own bodies and the negative impacts of idealizing unattainable perfection. Since unaltered images of women in fashion media are a rarity, it’s refreshing to see the natural curves and creases that we all have. The women will still be professionally styled with layers of makeup and great lighting, but at least you can read easy with the knowledge that the model on the page is wearing her actual head and not the disembodied cranium of another woman. In case you need a refresher on how scary retouching can be, check out these before-and-after shots. So can we all stop pretending that no one has bones in their neck?
What do you think of Verily’s steps to cut Photoshopping from their publication? Is this the first step in the right direction, or is it not going far enough? Share with us in the comments below.