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Is Airbrushing Affecting Our Youth Today? Essay

Since the development of computer programs such as adobe Photoshop, photo-editors for newspapers and magazines have used the deceiving effect known as “photo shopping” on pictures that we see day to day in our magazines, on our TV’s and computers. Due to this modern capability the youth and population of most of our society, now see’s their personal image, particularly physical image in a different light, evidently a dark one.

Airbrushing is the ability to crease out any flaws in a photo of a model, trim any fat off certain parts of her body; to in effect create beautiful flawless images, almost impossible for modern women and men to keep up with or resemble.

An example of this airbrushing with “Former Cosmopolitan editor Leah Hardy recently admitted that she had airbrushed anorexic models to look less unwell, but kept their extreme thinness. The result was pictures of women with no body fat who still seemed to be healthy, strong and feminine.” From “http://www.channel4.com/4beauty/wellbeing/body-confidence/why-its-time-to-stop-the-airbrushing”

More and more of our society, particularly our youth, are increasingly concerned with their bodies and they way they look, between 10 to 15 percent of teenagers have some symptoms of teen depression at any one time. With the false physical portrayal of people around us in the media, people feel increasingly ashamed with their current physical state thus leading to un-happiness, lack of esteem, and even sometimes depression, therefore is it healthy for our youth and society to be fed lies? Well, 15 percent of teens can with depression eventually develop bipolar disorder. A bad consequence of self-image related nonsense.

This is quite a concern for our nations teens, where standards of physical state are set extremely high, men are expected to have bulging muscles and six pack abs while women are seen to be almost freakishly skinny. Furthermore, the standardized image that’s being promoted is an un-healthy one. However, these modern standards that many aspire to are completely subjective. Why are these images of the perfect male and female as such, and why should there be so much pressure towards looking like that?

Looking at the effected younger population physical fitness is not the only concern, yet again, Teen girls and boys are driven to un-happiness as the media around them portrays spotless skin beautiful ideals and glorified make-up covered women.

Surely if certain teens are affected by natural problems at their young age which portray them as being not as good, this will make them less happy or perhaps pressured to rid what makes them so concerned, because it does not resemble the modern ideal image of today. All down to this false messaged advertising.

Furthermore magazine women are shown to have expensive make up and haircuts raising the bar for women to appear equally attractive or groomed in these areas. Women come to mind when talking about this subject however in today’s cosmopolitan world men are seeking refuge in makeup and grooming to attract the opposite sex more and more, Meaning more money spent on hair and make-up/grooming products, too much if you ask me. This is essentially money that can be spent in other; more important areas; for example as a student or teenager on healthy food, a slightly ironic matter when it comes to succeeding in that healthy well groomed look.

“John baguely, Online BBC news editor”

“The French cosmetics firm admitted the image of Ms Turlington promoting an “anti-ageing” foundation – had been altered to “lighten the skin, clean up make-up, reduce dark shadows and shading around the eyes, smooth the lips and darken the eyebrows”.

Airbrushing therefore is not a positive light on our society; it’s quite a bad one. It sends false messages to the young population of today even to those at 40, resulting in eating disorders and many other problems associated with self-image.

Many of the affected instead of attacking the their physical appearance problems face on, look to other quicker easier ways to solve them, and I don’t blame them with today’s technology in medical surgery. Surgery, while being an easy option and not always a 100% successful guaranteed result costs heaps of money, available realistically only those with a substantial amounts of money. Not only is surgery a costly shortcut you are effectively left with the results on your beautiful body for the rest of your life as the continuously shifting ideal image of society changes, therefore is it really a good option?

Scottish Liberal Democrat MP Jo Swinson says:

“There’s a big picture here which is half of young women between 16 and 21 say they would consider cosmetic surgery and we’ve seen eating disorders more than double in the last 15 years.”

Advertising regulations are advised to step in and be stricter on their acceptance of advertisements as the population today gets more concerned about their personal-image, furthermore resulting in un-necessarily un-healthy youths.

At the end of the day what can we do to tackle these now common problems? Vanity being the primary pushing force of course. Well, an obvious step forward and probably the only one would be to enforce laws over the use of airbrushing promoting a false image. This would immediately reduce the use of it, displaying more comforting and less depressive images on the front of magazines, newspapers and in Internet and television advertising for those that seem to be so utterly affected by it.


Inspiration for this online article comes from http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-14304802, an online broadsheet article from the BBC named, Airbrushed make-up ads banned for ‘misleading. In the first paragraph I introduced the topic and explained why I chose it. I adapted to
the role of a quite passionate journalist, who is concerned, more about the negative effects of problems and informs about the unfortunate results. I didn’t add much wit or humor to the article, as I felt it was a serious matter. I began talking about the subject in a sort of summary context, then focused in on separate associated subjects sort of forking off of the main idea. I felt this was an interesting topic for me, as I fit into the category of affected. I also feel that this was a topic close to what we are learning in the class. On gender texts etc… I enjoyed writing about this topic and feel I have illustrated maybe not a technique brilliant article but one that fits bucket for this subject matter. I hope it adequately informs readers bringing even a slight bit of enjoyment with some of my little phrases of humor.

•In the opening paragraph I introduced the article delving straight into the problem, identifying it and identifying the affected people. •In the second paragraph I explained the problem more and slightly summarized why the problem effects us a generation. I added a small quote I felt was relevant to the text, illustrating an example of where and how airbrushing s used on models. •Carrying-on to my next paragraph I illustrated the consequences of the problem; those that are serious and not so serious. To back my argument I placed small quotations in from reliable sources. i.e. “between 10 to 15 percent of teenagers have some symptoms of teen depression at any one time” and “15 percent of teens can with depression eventually develop bipolar disorder.” •Moving on to the next few paragraph s, I discussed what causes men and women to feel they have to live up to certain standards going. Back and expanding on why it affects us. At this point in the article I feel that I have become slightly repetitive, but I feel this enhances my argument re-enforcing and clearly explaining certain aspects of the problem in different terms. •Next paragraph or two I begin to explain other consequences of living up to the false standards set by airbrushing in monetary terms, in particular for women and increasingly men. I supported the argument with a sufficient quote admitting to makeup advertisers using false resemblance with their models. •In the next 2 paragraphs I again literate a consequence of airbrushing, while discussing the subject of surgery and the feel that society can effectively alter their body’s
aimlessly to meet the supposive standard of today. I support this argument again with a quote. •To finish the article I switched subject matters to solutions leaving the reader with a positive feel, relinquishing the relentless negative aura surrounding the majority of the task.

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