Positive coverage in The Sun for anti-airbrushing campaign

Over the weekend The Sun ran this:

KAYA Cheshire may have only recently turned 18, but she’s got far bigger things to worry about than boyfriends, make-up and A-levels.

The aspiring journalist has turned her compassionate personality and hard working skills to a global issue in the fashion industry – whether airbrushing in magazines is really right.

The student from South Wales used London Fashion Week this week to promote her Natural Beauty: Keeping It Real campaign that she launched via Battlefront, a Channel 4 funded project that helps 14-21-year-olds platform charity campaigns…

She says: “When I started studying media at school, my eyes were suddenly opened to airbrushing. Previously I had assumed that all of these celebrities and models were just blessed with good looks, but really, computers are used to make them look perfect.

“While airbrushing contrast and lighting is often essential to getting the right picture, using the technique to make women facially different or slimmer or lighter in skin is just plain wrong.

“Then I read a piece by the plus-size model Crystal Renn who was airbrushed to make her look thinner. This woman is a beautiful, natural lady who represents real women and still the magazines change her to suit the ideal – it just made me so angry.”

You can read the full story here.

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  • Ah, the Sun, that well-known journalistic bastion of promoting a healthy body image…

  • Stuart Mitchell 28th Sep '10 - 6:37pm

    RobB: But you miss the point. The buxom babes found daily in the Sun (many of whom are surgery-“enhanced”) are all *curvy* and therefore fall in to the “real women” category. So that’s OK. It’s just those terrible thin women we need to be attacking.

    I don’t understand why airbrushing is getting so much more condemnation than other things which are genuinely harmful to large numbers of women, e.g. obesity, bullying, alcohol abuse, and cosmetic surgery. As far as I am aware, no woman has ever died because a Photoshop procedure went wrong.

  • Sorry to say, but I think you’re both missing the point a bit. Stuart-if unnatainable images are pushed in the media this leads to lack of self worth and girls (and boys) trying to diet or change themselves in other ways to fit in with what they see as acceptable. Bullying in schools and in the workplace is often down to the way someone looks, whether it be hair colour, body shape or something else, so if easily-influenced teens see an ideal pushed upon them frequently surely this creates a foundation for bullying and lack of acceptance of other sizes?
    Lack of self worth can lead easily into alcoholism and eating disorders, including compulsive eating which can be linked with obesity (no better or worse than other eating disorders which cause the rising problem of people who are far too thin, despite the media focussing on the “fat epidemic”). And I think it’s clear to see that being unable to see role models and images that are similar to you in the media can lead to such dissatisfaction with your body that you might go down the route of cosmetic “enhancement”-surely it’s all linked to the media and fashion industry obsession with a certain type of model and creating an illusion that people are blemish-free and what they (the industry) perceive to be attractive?

  • Stuart Mitchell 29th Sep '10 - 7:41pm

    HellsBells: Blimey, you attribute an awful lot of problems to airbrushing! Don’t you think there are other, far more significant factors at play?

    “surely it’s all linked to the media and fashion industry obsession with a certain type of model”

    Actually, research suggests that pictures of plus-size models have exactly the same effect as size zeroes – see for example http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/fashion/news/size-zero-or-plussize-all-models-bad-for-selfesteem-1803952.html. So what should we do, ban pictures of *all* women?

    But for me, the big problem with the entire “real women” movement is that it is guilty of the very thing it claims to be outraged about, i.e. making women feel negative about themselves.

    The implication is always that some women (generally “curvy” women) are “real women”, whereas other women (i.e. thin women) are not. I think that’s terrible. Can you imagine a better way of destroying a woman’s confidence and self-image than telling her she is not even a “real woman”?

    In most newspapers, most days, there are articles praising “real women” – and nearly all of them say nasty and abusive things about thin women. I don’t think this is OK simply because plus-size women are in the majority and thin women are uncommon; but that seems to be the tacit justification for the villification of thin women we see all the time in the media.

    We should celebrate *all* women, from size zero to whatever plus-size you care to mention, not try to boost the confidence of the many by demonising the few. The phrase “real women” is divisive and ought be replaced with something more inclusive; how about “all women”?

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