H&M faced backlash earlier this week when a picture of a model wearing their new swimwear collection was published. Fans of the clothing chain quickly commented, accusing it of being over Photoshopped due to the model’s tiny frame and questionable skin tone.
With Photoshop being the most likely culprit, fans were outraged at the overly artificial picture being posted on the page.
H&M have defended the campaign to the Swiss press by saying they chose a model with darker skin in order to best show the strong colours on sale this season. However photos of the model in former campaigns show her with a far lighter skin tone.
While photographs have always been edited and manipulated even before Photoshop – the trend has become scarily popular over the last twenty years, with almost every image we see in magazines being somewhat retouched. Glancing over these pages, you would expect bigger breasts, tiny waists, flawless skin, striking eyes and long lean legs to be the norm.
When even the models aren’t good enough anymore, we have a problem. However, with computer generated models now being used with disproportionate body size – this body image is not only unrealistic, but unattainable.
So is this the final straw? Are finally we sick of seeing sickly and airbrushed models or should we just accept that this is simply part of the fashion industry and simply remind ourselves it’s not real?
Or – should photos such as this come with a health warning? The overwhelming presence of media images of perfect looking women means that real women’s bodies have become invisible in the mass media.
While personally, I see photos such as these as an alternative reality and don’t regard them as ‘real’. I do feel that they could be potentially very damaging to the younger generation, who may not be able to distinguish between these misleading photos and reality.
The real tragedy, is the women who internalize these stereotypes, and judge themselves by the beauty industry’s standards.