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April 19, 2013  | by: Amanda Fiore
Twitter (@xGirlOnFire__)

Twitter (@xGirlOnFire__)


Photoshop has taken our society into its lair. It seems as though it is impossible to look at any image, whether it be a magazine advertisement or a billboard, without seeing evidence of the work of Photoshop. Photoshop retouches images of women with wrinkles, sunspots, and can you believe it, even blemishes, and transforms them into a flawless, unrecognizable, unnatural humans.

Photoshop is seen on the covers of all magazines from women’s beauty to fashion, making it harder for their targeted audience, already insecure women, to relate to the perfect celebrities featured on the covers.

The Beauty Issue of Lucky magazine came out earlier this week with Drew Barrymore as its faultless cover girl. Barrymore is virtually free of wrinkles, scars, and zits- fully embodying the cover’s headline, “This Is American Beauty, Ageless, Gorgeous and So Sexy.”

Twitter (@NicoleGLevine)

Twitter (@NicoleGLevine)


But this is not “American Beauty.” This is retouched beauty. The new mom of a baby girl looks fully rested and fresh, which is probably not the case (of course unless Drew is superwoman). The cover image of Drew is completely retouched, sending a message to the readers that she in fact is superwoman. There are no dark circles under her eyes, no forehead wrinkles, and no scars, but she is left with a few crows’ feet in the corners of her eyes.

She is strategically left with crows’ feet. This is the application of the spoken “three wrinkle rule”. The “three wrinkle rule” is an established principle in the magazine world. It limits the amount of retouching on an image, which helps the Lucky Beauty Issue stay true to its cover line, “Glowy Skin at Every Age”. “Every age” is code for more mature skin and therefore, the three wrinkles are allowed, but everything else, every other, blemish must go.

Twitter (@xGirlOnFire__)

Twitter (@xGirlOnFire__)


Image manipulation through Photoshop and retouching programs has caused issues in the past and will continue to cause debate in the future. Magazines that feature flawless celebrity cover girls are tricking readers into thinking that perfection does actually exist, although this perfection is computer generated.

I understand the need to sell magazines, but manipulating the readers to do so is not the way to go. The way to sell magazines is to embrace natural, relatable women that connect to the magazine’s readership. The Photoshopped images that surround the media, only cause self esteem issues within women, as they feel compelled to compare themselves to unattainable images of women they see on the covers of magazines everyday.

The “three wrinkle rule” demonstrated in Lucky magazine’s Beauty Issue is a step in the right direction to limit the use of Photoshop in the media. Although Lucky allows for some natural flaws to appear on their magazine covers, the women are almost completely retouched.

Lucky and other leaders in the magazine industry need to take the reins on limiting and eliminating Photoshop as a whole. Of course, this cannot happen overnight but with enough support, the excessive retouching of images can become a thing of the past.

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