Attack of the 50ft Photoshop
The photo editing tool “photoshop” has become synonymous with “fake” since it’s creation. With conventionally attractive people morphing their already next to impossible to obtain bodies, into versions of themselves that can never exist in the real world, many see it as creating impossible beauty standards. Which... in those cases, it does.
However, use of the program, or similar ones is not bad in and of itself. If the program is used to present the best version of someone, the way that they can look if they didn’t currently have a breakout, bruises, bad hair day, smudged eyeshadow, etc. Then what exactly is so bad about it?
I’ve noticed that in the body positive, and fat positive communities, there is a new form of bullying / targeted harassment, that only seems to exist for those in larger bodies. When a straight sized model, actress, or other celebrity posts photos that are edited, they are flooded with positivity (with exception to the bad edits I mentioned previously), and no one really cares.
When a model such as Tess Holiday is edited, suddenly there is an influx of anti photoshop police, who hurl insults, and attacks. She must not like her body, or feel beautiful if she uses photoshop. She must not really be body positive. She is part of the problem. Blah blah blah.
I’ve had the exact same experience with many of my photos too. I’ve had people angry at me for having curves they don’t think I truly possess. People angry that my backgrounds on several photos were proof I must have photoshopped myself. I readily admitted that yeah, those pics were edited. I took them in a dressing room at a Torrid, and since that doesn’t really scream “take me serious! I’m a model!”, I added different backgrounds like a wheat field, park, garden, city, etc. I was never in those places. But adding a background, and faking how I look are two completely different things.
I change my background regularly in photos. My actual appearance however, are only minor, and subtle tweaks that don’t change me any more than I can easily attain on my own with a professional hair stylist, makeup artist, etc.
I can’t help but wonder if the hate for editing of photos that contain larger women, is out of the belief that only thin women can reach certain levels of perfection, and that fat women must remain at a bottom tier for every pore, stray hair, awkward twist, etc. To be examined, and judged by the public. Flawless skin that everyone knows and accepts as fake on thin people? Nah. None of that for fatty. Gotta show where the foundation, and powder melt under studio lights.
I find it interesting that fat people are always expected to adhere to a different set of rules than their thinner counterparts, even by other fat people. This double standard is toxic, and just plain wrong.
When the majority of those whom are shaking their fingers at fat women for using photoshop, are straight sized fatphobes, it’s pretty discerning when other fat people start joining in on the hate. Is it internalised fatphobia? Is it the need to be “the good fatty”, that’s separate from the “bad fatty” in the photos? Is it the toxic misbelief that one cannot elevate themselves up, without first pushing someone else down?
I don’t know.
What I do know is that I am not ashamed to admit that I use photo editing programs. I will continue to use them. I will continue to allow designers, photographers, or anyone else I work with to use photo editing programs on my images. As long as I’m only portrayed as my best self, and not an unrealistic version of myself, then I’m ok with it. I won’t be shamed. I also won’t shame others for doing this as well.
Photoshop is not some big scary monster. It is a tool. It’s how you use the tool that matters. Say “cheeeeeeeeese”.