vogue cover

When you pick up a copy of Cosmo or Vogue, and look at the celebrity on the cover, it’s pretty clear that their quite literally flawless skin had some help from some digital editing.  Well, hopefully you realize that.  But have magazines like these become too dependent on digital editing, to the point where a model or celebrity’s body shape is literally being altered? Many seem to think that they are.  The topic of photo shop use in magazine photos and advertisements has been a controversial one, and has created quite the social media conversation this month.   The subject? Lena Dunham, creator and star of HBO’s series “Girls.”  Dunham has landed the coveted spot on this month’s cover of Vogue.

Many are criticizing the cover photo and internal photos that seemed to be overly photo shopped, including one photo in which it appears editors forgot to put Dunham’s left arm back in!  People have become so fascinated with the degree of Photoshop, that one site, Jezebel, offered $100,000 to anyone who could provide the original photos.  Dunham, who is known for being candid and displaying a great deal of nudity on her show, has continued to voice support and praise for the magazine issue in light of the somewhat negative buzz. Many celebrities fail to comment on the use of photo shop, but like Dunham, Jennifer Lawrence, an actress known for being rather down to earth despite her overwhelming fame, has openly commented on the retouching of her own body.  During an interview where she saw her new Dior ad released for the first time, she admitted, “I love Photoshop more than anything in the world. Of course it’s Photoshop; people don’t look like that.”

Some say that there is an understanding and even an expectation for Photoshop to be used in advertisements and magazines, while others say it is still misleading and wrong to use.  In light of this debate, Aerie, the sister company to American Eagle that sells women’s lingerie, is ready to go against the norm.  They just announced their Spring 2014 Aerie Real ad campaign that will ditch Photoshop and decline to alter their models.  Last week a statement was released on behalf of the company, explaining that their new ads will be “challenging supermodel standards by featuring un-retouched models in their latest collection of bras, undies and apparel.”

Many are excited by this initiative, which hopes to personify real women, and real young adults in an industry that often lacks a strong sense of authenticity.  After all, this is the first time a major company has done something quite like this.

What do you think? Should everyone be following Aerie and drop the alterations? Or do you think that Photoshop is fine as long as we understand that it is being used? Is there such thing as too much retouching?