By now, it’s no secret that editing and retouching is rife in the celebrity imagery we see every day.
We know that many, if not most, of the commercials and magazine covers that surround us are manipulated with a liberal splash of “creative license” (i.e. Photoshop). It’s also becoming increasingly apparent that even the social media images our favourite celebrities take of themselves aren’t always as au naturel as they seem.
As a result, not a week goes by without a story emerging of a celebrity being Photoshopped. Right this minute, there are two of these stories playing out in tandem — and they have two very different narratives.
In one corner, we have Meghan Trainor, the US pop star who’s all about “that bass” but not all about having her appearance edited without her consent.
In the other we have Khloe Kardashian, who has been forced to defend herself after her followers accused her of heavily editing her own images on Instagram.
Let’s break this down.
A still from the Me Too video that has since been taken down. (Image: Vevo)
On Friday, the colourful music video for Trainor's song Me Too was released, but was swiftly yanked down by the singer. She explained the decision in a Snapchat video.
"Hey guys, I took down the Me Too video because they photoshopped the crap out of me and I’m so sick of it and I’m over it, so I took it down until they fix it," she told her fans.
Trainor — who posits herself as an advocate of body positivity — went on to explain she hadn't approved the video before it dropped, and was "embarrassed" by what she saw.
“My waist is not that teeny, I had a bomb waist that night, I don’t know why they didn’t like my waist ... The video’s still one of my favourite videos I’ve ever done, I’m very proud of it, I’m just pissed off that they broke my ribs, you know?” she said.
She's far from the first famous woman to speak out against unauthorised image editing.
Just last week, Rumer Willis slammed photographers for editing her jawline to look smaller in the latest issue of Vanity Fair magazine, a claim they have since denied. The actress argued that drastically changing someone's appearance to look more beautiful is "a form of bullying".
Then again, not everyone agrees that using editing software to alter an image is problematic. Khloe Kardashian is one of them.
Back in February the reality TV star shared a post-workout mirror selfie on Instagram, which is fairly standard Kardashian fare.
Watch: Behind the scenes of Khloe Kardashian's photoshoot with Complex magazine. (Post continues after video.)
However, her followers were quick to accuse Kardashian of 'shopping the photo, pointing out that the door frame behind her right thigh appeared warped (a common indication of editing).
The 31-year-old eventually caved to the pressure, deleting the photo and posting the original. She didn't admit to editing it, but she did take a swipe at her fans for being petty, writing, "If only hatin burned calories how dope y'all would be. Too bad it doesn't."
The edited image (left) and the original. Images: Khloe Kardashian via People
Three months later, Kardashian has finally admitted to editing the appearance of her leg.
In a blog post titled 'Why I Photoshopped This Image', she explains she did so to disguise the fact her right leg is an inch and a half thinner than the other due to deteriorated muscles — the result of a car accident she was involved in as a teenager.
"Whenever I post a picture of my legs on Instagram, everyone comments on how fucked up my knees look. It's because I've had reconstructive surgery, you assholes!" she wrote.
"It's funny because everyone made a big stink about this Instagram photo below because I Photoshopped it. Yes, I did Photoshop it, but I was trying to make my thinner leg look bigger to match my other leg!!! All I want are big, thick thighs and I hate how skinny my legs are."
Kardashian clearly believes this is a reasonable justification for doctoring her image. And, considering the incredibly scrutiny and body shaming female celebrities face on Instagram, you can understand why she might want to avoid giving followers more reason to criticise her 'flaws'.
So is there a 'wrong' and a 'right' in this situation? You tell us.