If you’re looking at the cover of a fashion mag, or a commercial for some beauty product, chances are the model in question will be altered and enhanced in some way.
Foreheads are longer, cheekbones are higher, and a glossy complexion is proffered with relative ease.
And Nicki Minaj doesn’t like it.
The pop star blasted ESPN on her Instagram for retouching her photos with Kobe Bryant.
I remember when I first glanced at this photo and guffawed that the image before me. While she is far from unattractive, I did wonder what happened to her face. Ironically, I thought the awkward photo was the result of not enough makeup or enhancement, not too much of it.
Here’s what she looked like before the PhotoShop OverLords got their hands on her.
For one, I found it odd that she was complaining about enhancements. Given the obscene butt injections, the waterfall of blonde hair, and the shocking purples, greens, and pinks that she is frequently donned in, I figured she’d be the last person to complain about PhotoShop. I believe she’s not upset because she was photoshopped, she was upset because she looked bad. And she has every right to feel the way she feels, because, after all, it’s her digitally altered face on the cover of one of the largest mags in the world.
Retouching isn’t the problem, the eventual result is.
Lena Dunham‘s Vogue covered caused uproar because it was retouched. Dunham, of course, is noted for her anti-size-zero natural look.
The writers at Jezebel seem to be reaching; while retouching is evident, it’s hardly obnoxious.
It’s very simple: if you’re advertising a commercial product, you’re going to look different. You’re going to look more appealing, more seductive, more attractive. Your skin will be lightened or darkened, your makeup will be flawless. And while that speaks to our values and pathologies as a consumer base, it’s hardly a means for protest or outrage.
Unless the retouching is outrageous.
Unfortunately, fashion editors don’t know when to draw the line. If someone is a model or celebrity, they are most likely, already gorgeous. Sure they have their imperfections that devalue them to basic human status, but such imperfections are not egregious enough to completely recreate their structures.
Perhaps, as a consumers, we need to stop demanding perfection from our icons. Just think about it, whenever a celeb has a hair out of place, wears a dress we don’t like, or whatever else which shows their human sides, we are quick to renounce them.
Remember the backlash Olympian Gabby Douglas received while she was representing the U.S.A. in a strenuously demanding international competition that probably .1% of the human population is capable of partaking in, at the tender adolescent age of 16? Remember how quick we were to disavow her obvious talent in favor of her physical attributes? Remember how her haters made headlines for belittling her hard work and criticizing her hair?
It’s basic economics. Supply and demand. So long as we demand perfection from our icons, that’s what we’ll be supplied with. Granted, our suppliers may overstep the boundaries (case in point, Nicki Minaj), but we too overstep ours when we relentlessly criticize flaws from the anonymity of our computer screens.