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Kim Kardashian & Photoshop

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Leeds chapter.

Whenever I think about the outrage that photo-shopped images cause, a quote from an Instagram account always comes to mind:

‘You will never look like the girl in the magazine. The girl in the magazine doesn’t even look like the girl in the magazine’

Recently, in light of the Kim Kardashian Paper magazine shoot, I have been reminded of this quote. For when I saw that  shiny, oil slicked booty, all I could think was that it only exists on paper. That derrière is not real – not even for Kanye West. Once again expectations will have to be lowered, after, once again,  glossy magazines and celebrity culture have raised them to new heights. Photoshop is amazing when it creates works of art; but the image that the computer can create is not always what the camera originally sees. Therein lies the problem – the falsity of the printed image.

From this falsity comes jealousy and emulation; wanting to be like the girl in the magazine. The main issue I have with Photoshop is that the perception of women it gives is entirely false. You could crop a laughing Buddha into a size 6 pair of Topshop Joni jeans with a bit of clever editing, but the Buddha will still have rolls of fat outside of virtual world. The media and fat shaming, twinned with the power of Photoshop, present idealised women. Who, you can note by simply taking a look around, don’t exist. Can you see them? Can you see the women with the perfect boobs, the skinny waists, big bums and perfect lives?

No. Just as the quote points out, they do not exist.

Unfortunately for us girls, without Photoshop the glossy magazines wouldn’t sell. It’s interesting, because when you actually break down the bizarre process of a photo shoot and the editing process, you almost don’t need the model. My sister Martha, and I agree that whilst as an artistic instrument Photoshop can produce amazing images, in relation to presenting an image of the human body that is printed to be believed, it oversteps the threshold of how people “should” look based on ideals that can’t be physically achieved. Essentially, with one mug shot of my own face I could be photo-shopped onto Kim Kardashian’s round booty. Unluckily for me no one would believe it, because they know what I look like in reality. It is the air of allure around celebrities that allows Photoshop to produce the wildly edited photos that it does. Inside the hallowed pages of Elle or VOGUE, Photoshop sells. Even Cara Delavigne’s eyebrows are enhanced on Photoshop, and they are her natural unique selling point.

Kim K spoke out about her Paper magazine photo shoot, which didn’t, as she had hoped, break the Internet. She said that:

“As a role model I’m not saying anyone else should do that, but for me it was an art project and it taught me to do what you want to do.”

Fine. Do what you want with that arse Kim. After all, if Kim Kardashian tells you that you should “do what you want to do”, then you should. Not only because Kim has said it, but because if something makes you feel good about yourself, then grasp that opportunity with both hands, and run with it. If you want to spend your afternoon trying to balance a champagne glass on your perky bottom, then so be it.

My sister highlighted to me that edited photos are a lot more complex than just the fat versus skinny debate, or worries over whether big boobs or small boobs are best.  Editing photos takes it one step further, and critiques the tiniest of details about the body that are barely noticeable but are nonetheless edited for the “perfect” photo. This ruthless editing opens up insecurities that have not even been addressed before, and it is having a damaging effect on both young women and young men.

Art is art, and that’s fine, but perfecting bodies is creating a culture of humiliation and scrutiny that is not keeping young people sane, healthy or happy. The ‘imperfections’ that Photoshop glosses over does not make a model who they truly are. Even worse, editing photos is leading women to shame women and men to shame women, for the most minor discrepancies such as being too tall, too round, for having tiny boobs, too much pubic hair, or even for being into sports. These criteria have been directly assumed into public culture as being problems, and they’ve come straight from the magazines that claim to be for ‘all women’.

Ultimately, you cannot aspire to be the girl in the magazine, because she is not human. She, in the magazine, is not the brilliant person you are. No one, no one at all should make you or any part of your body feel inferior. Nor should you do the same, about anyone you know, or even celebrities who you don’t.

By Polly Wesson


1. https://www.pinterest.com/pin/311452130454262205/

2. https://www.google.co.uk/search?q=kim+kardashian+break+the+internet&safe=off&rlz=1CAHPZZ_enGB551GB551&espv=2&biw=1517&bih=703&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ei=FvB8VO-wIfGQ7AbemYGgAg&ved=0CAcQ_AUoAg&dpr=0.9#facrc=_&imgdii=_&imgrc=9tRlhXDR7GoO6M%253A%3B53hwNGsVldtogM%3Bhttp%253A%252F%252Fvid.alarabiya.net%252Fimages%252F2014%252F11%252F12%252Fe615b2e0-415d-4e8f-a5ec-a7b235de4263%252Fe615b2e0-415d-4e8f-a5ec-a7b235de4263_16x9_600x338.jpg%3Bhttp%253A%252F%252Fenglish.alarabiya.net%252Fen%252Flife-style%252Fentertainment%252F2014%252F11%252F12%252FKim-Kardashian-bares-full-derriere-to-break-the-Internet-.html%3B600%3B338