| advertising in magazines

Friday, 17 October 2014

It's a common occurrence in the media these days to attribute the appearance of "flawless" models and famous personalities in magazines to the cause of increasing pressure on women to look picture perfect. This has been a niggle on my mind recently, I've been wondering really how much of an impact edited images of women has an effect on the mentalities of normal, everyday people.

Personally I think the scale of editing in advertising in particular has reached such a point that it's plain obvious when an image of a model has been tweaked to oblivion. Look at Fearne Cottons' cheekbones above on the Glamour front page for example - do you think anyone really possesses such miracles in real life? Having seen her on TV numerous times, in comparison she just looks over airbrushed here. I find it hard to believe that anyone has seen this cover and thought, this look is certainly achievable through contouring. As people living in the 21st century we've become accustomed to seeing airbrushed images all over the place - on TV, on billboards and of course in the press. This is why I would argue that surely this over-exposure to done up images has less of an effect on our self esteem, because most people who appear in the media have to look perfect in order to conform to standards and therefore as normal people we have come to expect celebrities to look immaculate all the time.

It would seem to many that the amount of photo shopping and tweaking somehow impacts on an individual's self esteem, particularly for body confidence. This article argues that "we see 'beautiful people' all the time, more often than members of our own family, making exceptional good looks seem real, normal and attainable". This statement I must disagree with to a certain extent, because how much exposure to glossy media is variable depending on every household and the amount that families allow themselves to be exposed to it. Whilst it is impossible to deny that media exposure is everywhere, how much you allow yourself to be affected by it comes down to the individuals values. I also think personally that I admire much more people that I see on the street or that I actually know rather than celebrities. This is because in my head whatever level of perfection celebrities may feel the pressure to attain, I know that this level will always be unattainable, and also not necessary to reach. Whereas people around me that I happen to meet can make me feel insecure if they have nice hair/nice figure etc.

I am in no way insinuating that the images we are exposed to in magazines have no effect on us at all, however I'd like to think that our perspectives have shifted in 2014. Whilst in the noughties you could find page after page of stick thin models used in fashion campaigns, it is clear nowadays that consumers don't look for absolute perfection in their advertising, rather we crave the feeling that the models used are a little like us normal folk, and as a result marketing has changed to make the appeal more friendly and approachable. In turn the amount of photoshop seems much less full on, or indeed it may be that the quality of airbrushing has advanced that much that consumers would find it hard to tell. Whichever way you look at it, the glare of glossy advertising still remains a fundamental part of our consumer based culture, but I personally think our outlook has changed, hopefully that absolute perfection is no longer an ideal to aspire to. 

Thanks for reading! xx 
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  1. this is such a true and relatable post! so well written and some great points, really interesting! :) xxx

    Ami | perksofbeingami


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