Initial debate text.
One big issue with retouching models in advertising is that it creates a false truth. This false truth is false adverting. They are selling a product based on an unachievable result. We, as consumers no longer know when an image is showing us a true representation, or an idealist truth the advertising companies want us to believe in. This is ethically wrong and irresponsible. Some companies have gone so far with this retouching and creating an unachievable result, that their adverts have been bad. The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has felt that they are misleading customers to such a degree the adverts are no longer aloud to be used to advertise the product.
One instance of this is the Lancôme advert featuring Julia Roberts. The results that are shown as ‘from the make up’ are not actually possible. She has clearly been retouched. A lot. Looking at the before and after images you can see just how much the image has been altered. It is the degree of retouching that sells the ‘perfect’ face/look to the consumers. They long to look like the model.
It is this ideal of looking perfect that can lead to people taking drastic measures to look that way. It is fair to say the retouched models on adverts have negative affects on consumers young and old, who buy into the ideal. They feel they don’t have the perfect skin, shiny eyes or perfect figure, like the models. Most of these elements are achieved are through retouching and not an actually existing trait on a real person. The fact is not even the model look like the model on an advert.
Former Cosmopolitan editor Leah Hardy stated, “Thanks to retouching, our readers never saw the horrible, hungry downside of skinny. The models’ skeletal bodies, dull, thinning hair, spots and dark circles under their eyes were magicked away by technology … A vision of perfection that simply didn’t exist.”1
This alone shows the negative impact of retouching on Consumers. People trying to achieve the ‘model thin’ look are not aware of the risks. They see an incredibly skinny model looking healthy, and feel that that look is actually achievable and a positive thing.