Twiggy, Olay and Photoshop Abuse
I was halfway through the book The Beauty Myth by Naomi Wolf when I came across this Yahoo! news article about Twiggy’s Olay ads being banned in the UK. I belong to the very same industry that actually promotes these kinds of things but I have always questioned the ethics involved in it. For one thing, I am absolutely disgusted with how FHM overly alters their female models — to the point that they do not look like the models anymore. While I do not agree with some of Naomi Wolf’s claims that men do not have to pay for such expensive vanity items (they do have expensive hobbies, still), I would have to concur when it comes to how far we’ve reduced women into mere decorations. It’s not enough that we are damned good at our jobs, we have to be beautiful as well. Advertisements such as these do not help improve our self-image at all.
Of course, I’d be hypocritical if I say I do not want to look good and healthy. I’m just not willing to Photoshop myself (actually, I’m too lazy to). It’s another matter, however, to promote a cream that claims to remove wrinkles while airbrushing the said wrinkles off an image model. It’s not the cream that’s responsible for the youthful look. Photoshop is. We should be selling Photoshop to consumers instead if this is the way we’re going about it.
It’s the same principle I maintain when cosmetics companies use 2D or 3D animation to promote their products. Real people will never look like 2D or 3D characters — it’s not even remotely analogous to how a local McDonald’s burger would never look like its advertised counterpart. Then again, we designers usually have the tendency to overuse a tool, much like how our college freshmen would go crazy with Photoshop filters (bevels, drop-shadows, gradients, etc.). Mind you, Twiggy looks good for her age but to make her look like a 20-30-something waif — and making people believe they can look like this if they use Olay — is beyond irresponsibility.