opinion

Enhancing the Image of Porn

Beth Belcher

During my daily romp around the XBiz boards I noticed a thread entitled "Air-brushing right or wrong" – so I stepped in to the thread for a look see to get an idea of what people were saying. The majority seems to feel that airbrushing in porn is acceptable, since the adult industry sells fantasies...

I can accept this as being pretty accurate. The problem that I have is that airbrushing is not limited to the adult industry. It is being done in some form for all magazine covers and advertising campaigns. If airbrushing was limited to porn only then theoretically only adults would have viewing access, and most adults are aware that the image they are seeing has been enhanced for their viewing pleasure. However, when it happens in the mainstream media, then everyone including children views the enhanced images.

As a mother of three young girls this concerns me. What is this doing to their self-image? Are they going to hold themselves to these unattainable high standards of beauty without realizing that what they are seeing has been digitally altered? Are young boys also being brainwashed into thinking that their first girlfriends should look like a cover girl? I realize that altering photos has been going on for quite sometime, but I was shocked to realize how drastic a change airbrushing can make.

In almost every advertisement we see there is an image of what a woman should look like. She is always shaped nicely usually with the perfect hourglass figure, smooth skin, big beautiful eyes, long hair, and a deliciously kissable mouth.

Do we, as a society, really think that we can put this "ideal" image out there and not expect our daughters to try to achieve it? How can we teach them to love the bodies that they have if their bodies vary differently form the "ideal"? There is such a concern over this that the Advertising Educational Foundation is hosting a symposium on October 18th entitled, "How is Advertising Shaping the Image of Women?" For additional information on the symposium, which is being held in Chicago, visit http://www.aef.com.

Is there a line drawn as to how much a photo can be enhanced? Is it right to correct a woman’s flaws when our imperfections are what make each of us unique? Let’s take Cindy Crawford for an example. Her beauty mark is what made her stand out from the crowd of supermodels, would she be as famous today if someone decided to digitally remove her ‘imperfection’? Probably not.

We as a society have spent billions of dollars on trying to be more beautiful. I think that women are much more susceptible to this than men. Is there a woman amongst us who has not taken a magazine photo to the hairstylist and said "I want this haircut?" We flock to the make-up counters to try the latest anti-wrinkle cream, we suffer through painful waxings, squeeze into foundation garments and clothing that we can’t breathe in, spend hours obsessing over bad hair days all in the effort to make ourselves more attractive.

I am as guilty of this as the next person and I am not saying that we should stop this. I am suggesting that maybe it is time to widen the focus. Every one of us is unique in some way and each one of us has a different perception of beauty. Maybe it is time that our marketing campaigns begin reflecting this. In recent years there have been a number of companies that have started making strides in this and I congratulate them on their efforts. These companies include Nike, Revlon, and Hanes Her Way. There is still more that needs to be done.

In recent years there has been a public outcry over the amount of violence our children are being exposed to and concern over how this is affecting their development. As a result, a rating system is now in effect not only for movies but television programming, music, and games as well. Maybe if we as a society get together and decide to voice the same concern over the issue of a child’s self-esteem, someone smarter than me will come up with a solution.

As to the question of Airbrushing right or wrong? I can’t answer that. As a newbie to the adult industry I can understand the selling point behind airbrushing out the imperfections. As a woman, I can say that I wish someone could airbrush me each day before I walked out the door. As a Mom, I would have to say that I am against the process.

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