Glamour Puts the Kibosh on Retouching?


So there’s an interesting op- ed type article in March’s Glamour (yes, the one with a very young-looking Amanda Seyfried on the newly revamped magazine, which looks a little like Seventeen now—brighter, lighter with a teen-looking covergirl wielding a blow dryer). Seems Glamour is itching to bring the Seventeen-reading set over to their magazine’s readership).

Here, they take a stand against photoshopping in the pages of their own magazine with “How Much is Too Much?” They commissioned an independent 1000-reader survey to find out what’s ok for a magazine or a company to do when it comes to digitally altering images.

Incredibly, they find the most amazing and astonishing news is how acceptable respondents find retouching in their everyday lives! Results show nearly sixty percent think it’s A-OK to alter their personal pics before posting to Facebook and 41 percent of those 18-24 already do it!

Glamour tells us women are fine with this. However, in the same vein, apparently it’s not so cool to alter the images you post to a dating site, since we learn the story of one 44-year-old entrepreneur who meets his online date for the first time. Yowsa. It turns out she’d apparently erased every wrinkle from her dating site profile pics. It’s not the wrinkles so much as the lie that is the turnoff, says the potential mate.

So Facebook, yes, no.

Other respondents say they feel compelled to retouch their own photos especially for blemishes and imperfections—after all they don’t want to be the only without perfect photos since everyone else is doing it. And professional photogs say skin imperfections, stray hairs and whiter teeth are the most common fixer uppers requested by clients, followed by wrinkle erasure, smoother skin and body fat trimming.

But most women do say they have a problem with major retouching and extreme alterations seen in the magazines today. You may want to look like you on your best day for your friends and family, and that’s okay, but altering  a celebrity’s body size is a deceitful no-no.

77 percent say its fine for magazines to erase blemishes

75 percent say it ok to delete stray hairs

75 percent say its fine to remove wrinkles—from CLOTHES.

But only 22 percent are good with making a woman look even five pounds lighter!

Then there’s Glamour’s Big Confession  front and center on the last page of the article. “Yes we do it. So do most fashion publications in the age of digital photography!” Yeah, no shit.

They site things in the current issue that were retouched like lightening the background behind Seyfried’s covershot and keeping model’s nipples from showing through their shirts (clearly important work to which they admit has been done twice in this issue alone.) But they plan to take a stronger role in drawing the boundaries when it comes to airbrushing in the glossy pages of their big beauty book.

Since three-quarters of their survey respondents say they weren’t ok with erasing freckles, scars and beauty marks—things that make women unique—Glamour agrees, vowing to leave these alone from hence forth.

They also claim their policy has always been not to alter a woman’s body size (hmmm, really?) But now they’re going to go even further and tell all the photographers they work with not to manipulate a woman’s shape.

Ugh…isn’t that exactly the same as altering her body size, which they claim there was already a policy against in place? Maybe not.

Confused? Me too. But I’ll keep my eye on Glamour in the months to come to see, if among other things, they stand by their claim of lessening the retouch.  We hope so.

Watch for more scars, freckles and beauty marks among the glossy pages of Glamour–and less whittled waists and slimmed limbs!


About stilettonation

Jennifer Nelson is a writer working on Stiletto Nation: Inside the Perfumed Pages of the Women's Magazine Industry to be published Fall of 2012 by Seal Press. Stop in and read about the great, the awful and the insane in the fragrant pages of the women's glossies.

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