November 27, 2013
I don’t even.
Go. Look at this. Fume. Get back to me.
Did you look? Are you livid?
Okay, so here’s the thing – I “get” why people need photoshop. In theory. Sometimes you are having a bad day and there’s a zit on your chin the size of a potato. I’m not going to fuss if a photographer is neatening up your wedding photos or makes your kid’s red eye look a little less SATAN HAS COME and a little more Daddy’s Little Angel (though let’s be honest here, who hasn’t looked at their child at least once and wondered if they’ve been possessed by a demon of destruction? Just me? Okay. Moving on.)
Anyway, the point is, smooth out the color if you need to, erase a couple zits, maybe even whiten the teeth if the idea of a perfectly straight but slightly yellow smile squicks you out. I don’t necessarily agree with that but Americans have this unnatural obsession not with how healthy teeth are but how white they appear. Okay, fine, whatever.
But for the love of cupcakes, don’t adjust the body. Don’t erase rolls or flaunt the very nature of physics itself by smoothing and shaping a Barbie doll into existence where once a woman sat. Don’t perk up those boobs. Posing so the breasts don’t dangle “the wrong way” is bad enough, don’t make it worse by toning and sleeking and shaping. So many people have this false idea that the human body actually looks like these photoshopped fakes and it’s permeating down.
I’m not just saying this as a feminist. I’m saying this as a mom. I want my sons to date women (or men, whatever) and not have blatantly false bullshit in their own minds to overcome first and foremost. You go on sites like Reddit (Hi guys! LOVE YOU!) and post a picture of a regular lady – not fat, just not airbrushed into perfection – and watch as the shit comments roll in. I love Reddit. I do. It’s one of my favorite time-wasting-trapped-beneath-a-snoring-toddler sites to browse… but the perceptions of what real women look like is VERY skewed. And it’s getting worse.
Sure, you could claim that Reddit is a hive of scum and villainy and neckbeards. Nothing but 27-year-old virgins as far as the eye can see. You *could* argue that. But it’s not true. Reddit is the single father of two, recently divorced. Reddit is the 23-year-old college drop out trying to find themselves. Reddit is the 50-year-old carpenter, lounging at the end of a long work day. Reddit is the only girl in the IT department, taking her lunch break. Reddit is the ex-”fatty” hanging out in r/keto and r/loseit trying to learn how to tone up. Reddit is the 16-year-old who’s been dumped by his first ever girlfriend and is trying to figure out why “nice” isn’t working for him. Reddit is SRS and MRA and 2X and GoneWild and LadyBoners and Bronies and AMA and AskScience and DIY and TinyHouses and EarthPorn and Trees and Athiests and Christians and everything in between. It’s writers and cashiers and IT and truckers and secretaries and doctors and firemen and teachers and students and delivery drivers and ex-druggies and teetotalers, the rich and poor and the scared and the brave, the angry and the sad.
Places like Reddit is people. You and me and them. Experiences and opinions beyond any single person’s ken all wrapped up in a community that likes cats, memes, and conversation. Reaching out.
When they reach out sometimes the most wonderful shit happens. But, also, the most awful shit follows too. For every poster saying, “She was beautiful the way she was” you’ll get a dozen decrying how the photoshopped version is better. How they wouldn’t bang someone who looked like she did in the beginning of that video. How they’d totally fap to the end product. Degrading, debasing, ignorant bullshit, spewed out by people – regular people, everyday folks! – who think that they are owed photoshopped perfection because that is what we raised them on.
Because a real woman, an untouched, unedited, unaltered real woman of any size is “wrong” and “ugly”.
And that is why this is wrong.