Removing Our Humanity

Looking at airbrushed images, the perfect skin and slender figures jump out at first. Look deeper and you’ll notice just how wrong these altered images look, in removing all our lines, wrinkles and imperfections, the computer is removing our personality and our humanity.

BBC published an article in the fall of 2013 asking “What does it feel like to be airbrushed?” in which the author, Tulip Mazumdar, pictured below, underwent a makeover courtesy of Photoshop.

The woman moves from natural to almost alien with all her perfections removed.

Mazumdar moves from natural to almost alien with all her perfections removed.

As the picture is edited the flaws that make her human and add warmth disappear. The image left is cool and almost calculating, all traces of her original personality gone. Her face is more narrow, her skin lighter and the wrinkles around her eyes are almost gone.

Before and after

Before and after

The original images on their own look perfectly fine but compared to the digitally altered one, as Mazumdar says, “suddenly the original images that I was quite happy with at the start, looked old, tired and a bit chubby. Looking again at my airbrushed images, there’s something else I lost – any sign of a personality. I look like a clone, almost inhuman.”

Georgina Wilkin, a former model, has suffered from an eating disorder due to the job and recognizes the feeling.  Wilkin says; “I’ve had a few times where I’ve worked for a magazine and the magazine’s come out and I hardly even recognise myself. My legs have been skimmed off, my pores have been eliminated, my nose has been straightened … I felt awful – you feel that what you are as a human being isn’t good enough.”

The side by side comparison highlights all of our flaws and completely overlooks our strengths. All you can see is what was wrong and what was corrected, instead of the beauty that was there originally.

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