Around the globe today, the belief that a perfect body existing is at an all-time high. With airbrushing being used on practically every photo of actors/actresses/models, young adults get the false sense that they have to be a specific way to be prefect or normal even. It’s unjust that airbrushing photos leads these young adults to hate on themselves or on others for not being something that, in all reality, isn’t even real. Airbrushed photos of modern idols case teenagers to participate in unhealthy eating disorders, to bully fellow peers, and to obtain emotional problems that will stay with them for a lifetime.
With airbrushing of photos also comes the unhealthy practice of eating disorders in young adult, especially young women, to fulfill the belief that doing so will result in having “matched up to their beauty and perfection” (Petten Van). Disorders like anorexia, bulimia, and binge eating have become most commonly found in the adolescent population because of these photos. In general, teen girls grow up seeing airbrushed photos which cause the desire to be “perfect”, later resulting in eating disorders. 42% of 1st to 3rd grade girls want to be thinner and 86% females report onset of eating disorder by age 20; 43% report onset between ages 16 and 20 (“Eating Disorder Statistics”). As a result, death rate of young adults has increased immensely and continues to surrender the hope of ever ending the cycle of teen disorders. Generally, as the number of adolescents who attain an eating disorder increases, so does the number of deaths to the teen population.
Airbrushing also contributes to bullying. Young adults are given the idea that one has to be a specific way in order to be accepted, so as a rule, teenagers bully one another out of jealousy or belief that all should fit what is seen as the norm due to airbrushing. But in return, there is the “5% of Americans that naturally possess the body type portrayed in magazine images” (“Eating Disorder Statistics”). That 5% is also bullied by those brainwashed by society to see it as the standard form. It makes sense that “a healthy girl does not have a solid sense of who she is and can be very susceptible to thinking one should look like the models, even though the
model is airbrushed and really only a fantasy” (Cooper). Demi Lovato, a young teen pop star, has “openly aired her troubles” many times, describing the effects eating disorders and bullying that resulted from social media, like airbrushed photos, had on her life (LaPort). Bullying is the result of teens not having many idols that are raw and “going through what many of them are” (LaPort).
Summing up the overall affect airbrushing has on adolescents comes down to these: emotional predicaments that can stay on one’s heart and mind until the very last breath. As a victim of bullying, my cousin Morgan shared her thoughts and feelings on her experiences. “The things they said were so harsh…unforgettable,” she whispered. “Every day I look at myself and repeat those words, even though I physically know they aren’t true.” She is one of “160,000 children who miss school every day due to fear of attack or intimidation by other students” (“Make Beats Not Beat Downs: Facts and Statistics”). Bullying and eating disorders do not have short term effects, and can affect even the most confident person on the planet. These long term emotional situations are hurting the young minds of society and it all comes back to the pointless use of airbrushing.
Some believe airbrushing is “just and image…a fantasy if you will”, regardless of the effect it has on adolescents (Cooper). Which is true, but teenagers are at the point of learning who they are and look to these photos of their idols to help decide, or figure out, who exactly is it that they see themselves being as adults. Others believe that airbrushing protects the eyes of younger minds from inappropriate matters like tattoos, thongs, or smoking. In response, the sooner one learns what the real world has to offer, bad and good, the sooner one realizes that everything isn’t perfect and can make decisions based on actual matters. Parents cannot protect children from the ideas of society surrounding them no matter how much they try. Would one rather children learn by looking at something everywhere around them or by hearing it from a mind not brainwashed by the wrong doings?
The governments that allow the use of airbrushing on models and actors could easily pass a law to ban the deceptive practice of airbrushing. But the
government won’t act unless the citizens act upon it first. By celebrities themselves opposing the act of an artist reconstructing their photos, and sewing them if done regardless, soon enough there won’t be any airbrushed photos to be released to the public. Previous victims of eating disorders or bullying should take a stand and tell the government, and its people, just how badly these photos affect the generations of society today. If not stopped now, then when will airbrushing ever come to an end? It’s time to end it and stop brainwashing our future.
A) Catapano, Rosanna. ANAD (The National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders) n.p. n.d. Web. 22 March 2013. B) Diller, Vivian. “Is Photoshop Destroying America’s Body Image.” Huffpost Post. N.p. n.d. Web. 22 March 2013. C) Petten Van, Vanessa. “Photoshop: The Effect On Teen Girls and Why It Needs to be Banned.” Radical Parenting. n.p. n.d. Web. 22 March 2013.
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