The dangers of photoshop

Teens are suffering due to photo retouching on models and celebrities.


Max Piper

Created on Canva

Fake news has been a popular topic lately, from gossip magazines to newspapers, but what many people fail to realize is that fake news goes further than just words. Photos plastered on the covers of magazines, billboards and all over social media are manipulated and highly edited.

Photo editors smooth women’s skin, make their bodies curvier and their stomachs flatter. Women are not the only victims of photoshop; men are made to look more muscular and their flaws are refined. This promotes unrealistic body image to people everywhere, however teenagers are especially affected when they strive to look like their favorite celebrities.

Teens see Instagram models in their social media feeds and think to themselves, “Why can’t I look like that?” They often fail to realize that these seemingly flawless people are hiding behind filters and face perfecters.

Many young people find themselves manipulating their own photos, hoping for more likes and comments from their followers. Facetune, for example, is a “selfie editing app” marketed to children ages four and up. The app’s description states, “every photo could use a touch up” and “instantly share your edited photos with your friends and family through social media.” This app is the number one photo/video app in 127 countries. This demonstrates that people all over the world strive to show off the most perfect version of themselves, even if it means paying to alter their body, skin and more.

We can credit this epidemic of photoshop to celebrities, social media influences and magazine photo editors who choose to promote an unrealistic body image. When teens see successful and popular people with perfect skin, bodies and hair, they often begin to feel bad about themselves. When they start to compare themselves to people in magazines and advertisements, they fail to realize that these people have flaws of their own– flaws that have been digitally removed.

These “perfect” images are a very real danger to teens. In fact, three of the most common mental-health problems in girls relate to how women are portrayed in the media. These issues include eating disorders, depression and low self-esteem. Thirty percent of high school girls suffer from disordered eating. Eating disorders are a serious problem, and in extreme cases can cause death.

A number of celebrities have taken a stand against photoshop- Lorde, Beyonce and Brad Pitt for example. Additionally, some companies have run ad campaigns with no editing done on their models. These revolutionary brands include Aerie, Seventeen Magazine and Dove. This inspires confidence in young women and men, and it shows. After Aerie started a two year campaign where the brand pledged not to photoshop their models, sales spiked.

If more celebrities and companies refused to retouch their photos, teens would feel more confident in their own skin. The reality is that photoshop effects the self-esteem and health of young men and women and it needs to be reduced, if not stopped completely. If you want to take a stand against digital retouching, you can sign a petition here.