by JESSICA BARLOW
Boys, sex, relationships, makeup and clothes. Is this really all we’re supposed to care about? Personally, I’m kind of insulted that these are the issues that magazines aimed at young women focus on.
I’m also pretty frustrated at the increasingly popular practice of digitally altering the appearance and shape of people featured in magazines. Don’t the editors realise the negative repercussions of this?
Photoshopping images of models is a common practice in the world of magazines and in many instances I have no problem with it. Where I do have a problem with it is when the true sizes and physical appearance of girls featured are changed without telling the reader and even more so when this happens in magazines targeted at teenage girls. The reason is that teenage girls aspire to be like the girls they see on the pages. Digitally creating these unreal girls is setting readers up for failure.
How do I know this?
It was repeated exposure to ideals like this that shaped my high school years. Some days I was so upset that I didn’t look as beautiful as the women in magazines like Cosmo and Cleo that I didn’t want to leave the house. I cancelled plans for the same reason.
Any girl who didn’t look like the beauties in the magazines was excluded at lunchtime and my body confidence took a massive dive. The power of magazines upon young girls is simply unbelievable. Their reach extends far beyond the pages and straight into the minds and behaviours of readers.
Who am I? Like most of the stereotype driven content in magazines like Cosmopolitan and Cleo, it’s not important, but the media initiative I’ve just launched is.
It’s called the Brainwash Project and it involves two things: the creation of a prototype magazine that reflects exactly what women want in their magazines, and the collection of signatures to stop Cosmopolitan and Cleo Magazines from using digitally altering the appearance of people in their photoshoots and to put warning labels wherever alterations occur.
Once I have 50,000 signatures and a copy of this prototype in my hands, I’ll be presenting them to the editors of the magazines.
I’ve chosen to start the project by targeting Cosmo and Cleo because they were the most popular magazines when I was at high school and they don’t seem to have as good a body image policy as magazines like Dolly and Girlfriend, which both won positive body image awards from the Victorian government this year.
Ideally I would like all women’s magazines to promise to stop photoshopping or digitally altering the women and men they put on the pages. If they can’t agree to the simple idea of presenting us with real bodies and faces to relate to then at the very least, I would like a disclaimer printed on every digitally modified image to point out to girls exactly what is real, and what isn’t.