under fire once again for their rampant airbrushing. Back in August, a batch of unretouched swimsuit photos of supermodel Doutzen Kroes were accidentally released, and now that their
Photoshopped companions have surfaced on VictoriasSecret.com, the differences are evident.
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The Victoria's Secret models themselves feel their retouched bodies
are pure fantasy and say that is the whole point. "Retouching is an
essential part of our job, you know," Victoria's Secret Angel Erin
Heatherton told style blog Fashionista.
"We're not selling reality; we're selling a story. It's all about
creating this fantasy. And I don't think people should confuse fantasy
and reality because no one is perfect—we all know that, and I think
people should embrace themselves and not really focus on where people
are depicted as perfect and where they're not."
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When comparing the before-and-after photos
above, you'll notice that more than just the brightness has been
adjusted. In the original image, Kroes has visible skin folds on her
stomach and side from the way her body is leaning. You'll also see some
wrinkles and bulging under her left shoulder, and frown lines between
her eyebrows. We spotted some small scars on her right thigh, along with
a few birthmarks on her stomach and cleavage. Not to mention the fact
that Kroes is wearing flesh-colored underwear beneath her bikini bottom.
All these things have been altered to achieve the final "perfect"
image, which is featured on the Victoria's Secret website as the new Harlow Push-Up Halter Top and Forever Sexy Matching Bottoms.
Does this image present a completely unrealistic message? Absolutely.
(Though we'd argue even the unretouched image of Doutzen Kroes is
something many women would kill to look like.) Heatherton says it's up
to us, as scrutinizing individuals, to understand the difference between
what women really look like and an airbrushed image in an advertisement
or magazine. When it comes to how these photos may affect one's body
image, Heatherton felt strongly that this issue should be discussed in
schools and at home. She said children and adults need to establish
their own confidence and self worth, and recognize that published images
are enhanced just like special effects added to a movie.
We find Heatherton's perspective quite honest and true. It's unfortunate
that we must come to accept that most photos are altered, perhaps just
as we're realizing many actors enhance their actual bodies with things
like Botox. Personally, we'd love to see the real, unretouched photos,
and to see women looking like humans and not bizarre, Gumby-like
creatures with rubbery limbs and no flaws. But we also have to remember
that brands are trying to sell products, and as technology continues to
change, they will do whatever it takes to create the most attractive
image possible. Nowadays "attractive," to many people, means
unrealistically perfect. Despite the controversy, the backlash, and the
occasional refreshing unretouched batch of photos, altered images—in
professional or even personal settings—are the future. So like
Heatherton says, we may as well get comfortable with them and learn to
understand the difference.
We reached out to Victoria's Secret to discuss its stance on retouching
and the before-and-after photos of Doutzen Kroes, but they have not yet
returned our request for comment.
Want to look like a Victoria's Secret model without the airbrushing?
Watch this video for Erin Heatherton's "Golden Combination" for Staying
in Bikini Shape.
By Joanna Douglas
ChiboyChuks Opinion: What's your opinion on her swimsuit? I feel she's hot in the old and new pics. #Lol