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I recently did a research paper with the topic of advertisement and photoshop, and I felt that I should share it! (:


Photo“stop”: Photoshop and Advertisements

For years advertisements have been used all over the world, whether that be to make a company or their products seen publicly, or whether to try to convince people that their ideas and or products were a necessity. There are many different forms of advertisements and many different categories that use them. As a convincing factor for people, companies use photoshop to make something seem more desirable, even if it includes using humans as props. The idea of someone using humans as such things is degrading and there have been instances that show atrocious repercussions as results to such things.

A definition of the word “advertisement” found in Oxford dictionaries on oxforddictionaries.com defines this word as: “a notice or announcement in a public medium promoting a product, service, or event or publicizing a job vacancy”. Advertising has no doubt been occurring for a long period of time, whether that be to publicize breaking news, job openings, or the latest gossip. Advertising has been around for earlier than the 19th century, and has included the earlier forms of advertisements, on print: newspapers, articles, posters, books, and magazines. It has become more modern with advertisements in media: pictures, videos, television, the internet, songs, commercials, etc. Along with advertising comes one of the most commonly used forms of attention seeking advertisements: photoshop. Photoshop has been around since 1987 when the Photoshop program was created by Thomas and John Knoll, and is used to change the way images look. With photoshop, anyone can make an image or text appear how they desire, equivalent to the term that has come about from it, “photo manipulation.” Photoshop is easier than some might think, so there is no question as to why it happens so much. An example of this is a video published on youtube.com showing how easy it is to photoshop something, turning an image of a piece of pizza into a woman. Another video published on youtube.com shows a video that the company Dove created, showing a photograph taken of a woman’s face being manipulated through photoshop technology and how simple it was to change her appearance. Instances of photoshop have even gotten some companies in trouble, when they used it without a person’s consent, specifically with celebrities. In 2003, Jennifer Aniston was placed on the cover of Redbook magazine without her consent, her head being placed on another woman’s body, and hair cut to a different length(redbook mag., 2003). Jennifer recognized and approached the company, but the copies were still published, someone from the company admitting to the changes of the image but saw them as very little(yourcover.com, Most Blatant Uses of Photoshop in Magazines Ads, par. 10). Another example of this editing mishap is from the same source, Redbook Magazine, and occurred in July of 2007 when the company clearly manipulated a photo of the country music singer, Faith Hill, lengthening and slimming her arm, lightening her eyes, and elongating her neck, leaving some to question why companies ‘touch up’ natural beauties(yourcover.com, Most Blatant Uses of Photoshop in Magazines Ads, par. 2).

The purpose of advertising is no doubt to make something such as a company or a product public, but whether or not those advertisements promote those things, is something completely questionable, and opinionable. Sure, there might be a sum of many people who know of and or about a person’s ideas or a company’s products, but that doesn’t mean that that knowledge is doing those things any good. More knowledge about something doesn’t mean more appreciation and or admiration towards it. Photoshop and photo manipulation isn’t the only way that companies attempt to get people’s attention, sometimes they use people themselves. Sometimes companies use humans as props for their advertising, whether that be by using photoshop to make them appear a certain way-in a way that looks enticing-, placing them in a certain form of fashion, wearing little clothing, showing them talking, walking, moving, and or acting a certain way. The company Victoria’s Secret has been using these methods for years, since 1977, using women as a way of showing off or what they would like to call “promoting” their line of clothing and lingerie. Along with images of women wearing nothing but two articles of clothing, specifically underwear, Victoria’s Secret exposes their line through an annual fashion show, for public viewing on television. In these fashion shows, a group of women strut out in these limited amounts of fabric, smiling and doing what they are being paid to do: expose their bodies for a hope from a company of enticement to viewers to hopefully purchase clothing. This is looked past, while most people only see the surface: a show to promote a company and raise business. Some people don’t see the deeper side of it: these women’s bodies are being used to expose a product- a material item- that is worthless compared to humanity itself. Although these facts may not be visible to the public eye, it has become visible to one woman who is involved in the industry herself. Kylie Bisutti, 26 years old, a former Victoria’s Secret model, dropped out of the company after some realizations and clashes to her lifestyle. In 2012, abc news published an article showing Kylie’s story and why she made the decision. “My body should only be for my husband and it’s just a sacred thing,” Bisutti told FOX411’s Pop Tarts column.  “I didn’t really want to be that kind of role model for younger girls because I had a lot of younger Christian girls that were looking up to me and then thinking that it was OK for them to walk around and show their bodies in lingerie to guys.”(abcnews.com, Victoria’s Secret Model Quits to Reserve Body ‘for My Husband’, par. 1). “….But the more I was modeling lingerie – and lingerie isn’t clothing – I just started becoming more uncomfortable with it because of my faith,” Bisutti told FOX411. “I’m Christian, and reading the Bible more, I was becoming more convicted about it.”(abcnews.com, Victoria’s Secret Model Quits to Reserve Body ‘for My Husband’, par. 2).

I am not claiming that all forms of photoshop are for bad intentions, as to be convincing or to mislead people, but that some forms of photoshop are intended to do so. Some forms of photoshop’s intentions and intended messages are shown somewhat clearer than others, and usually, most forms of advertisements and or photo editing don’t have explanations for what they are trying to show. For example, an image that shows a form of photo editing that is intended to show a message about how we should treat others. The image shows a young boy who is crying, being choked by a formed hand that is shaped out of words in this image, such as, “moron”, “fool”, “fat”, “worthless”, and more. It is clear that there is no need for a written explanation of this image, for the meaning of the image is in no doubt to show that we should be kind to others and to pay attention to the fact that words can hurt. The image is not a way of trying to make people think that words can cause the actual pain and feelings of someone being physically choked, but that words can hurt people mentally, emotionally, and even leading to physical pain.

Advertisements and photoshop’s effects have been proven with numerous studies and statistics. In 2013, Health Research Funding published an article on their website showing statistics on women and body image. On healthresearchfunding.org these statistics showed that “80% of women say that the images of women on television and in movies, fashion magazines, and advertising makes them feel insecure.”, “42% of girls first through third grades wants to be thinner.”, and “81% of 10 year olds are afraid of being fat.”(healthresearchfunding.org, Teenage Girls Body Image, par. 3). These thoughts that occur to people of not being good enough, not looking the right way, and needing to change in body image can lead to eating disorders such as extreme dieting, anorexia, and bulimia. In an article found on healthyplace.com, it is shown that “Girls who were already dissatisfied with their bodies showed more dieting, anxiety, and bulimic symptoms after prolonged exposure to fashion and advertising images in a teen girl magazine.30(Body Image and Advertising, Eating Disorders: Body Image and Advertising, par. 6). The effects of advertisement and “promotion” with image(photo) manipulation is not linked to only women, but also to men. In the same article, Healthy Place shows, “32 One study suggests that an alarming trend in toy action figures’ increasing muscularity is setting unrealistic ideals for boys much in the same way Barbie dolls have been accused of giving an unrealistic ideal of thinness for girls.33 “Our society’s worship of muscularity may cause increasing numbers of men to develop pathological shame about their bodies… Our observations of these little plastic toys have stimulated us to explore further links between cultural messages, body image disorders and use of steroids and other drugs,” says researcher Dr. Harrison Pope.(Body Image and Advertising, Eating Disorders: Body Image and Advertising, par. 7).

Advertisements and photoshop are going to continue despite the effects that come from them. Promotion of a company, its ideas, and its products is not going to end because of negative feedback from society, for it is society whose minds and interests they are trying to captivate, but with this topic becoming more widely discussed, it is hoped that the true images will be shown clearly enough to end the manipulative and deceitful purposes for them.