I love my small boobs and refuse to be photoshopped
Earlier this year I took part in a photo shoot as part of an interview with a newspaper. The day before the article went to print, I asked to take a look at the photos they had chosen. I rarely like photos of myself, so I just wanted to prepare for the worst.
But what they sent back wasn’t a photo of me at all. It sort of resembled me, but those definitely weren’t my boobs.
I don’t mean they’d made my boobs bigger, or fuller, or rounder – they were someone else’s tits photoshopped onto my body. Or it could have been a baby’s bottom. Hard to tell.
I was teased at school for being flat-chested and earned the nickname ‘training bra’ from one of the rugby lads-lads-lads. I then opted for a bra so padded it would guarantee my survival in a skydiving accident.
As my (now ex) boyfriend pointed out several years ago in what he genuinely believed to be a compliment:
‘You’ve got “investment boobs”, Nic. They don’t hold much value right now, but over time, they’re certainly not going to drop.’ What he lacked in tact, he made up for in hubris.
I’ve since learned to love my small boobs. Now my big-breasted friends envy my ability to go braless and sleep on my front.
My chest wasn’t the only issue with the photograph. What was less obvious, but arguably more disturbing, were the changes made to my skin, eyes and hair. I didn’t recognise that person. I know that person doesn’t exist.
My lashes aren’t that long, my lips aren’t that big. But how is Joe Bloggs to know any different – and how is it that magazines and newspapers can get away with such a practice?
I told my contact at the paper that I would not allow the image to be printed. They were sincerely apologetic and explained that they hadn’t even realised what had been done. Apparently the photo editor used to work for glamour shoots and it was probably done out of habit.
Image manipulation leads to psychological manipulation. The effect that falsified images like these have on people who view them and believe them to be real is dangerous.
Like dynamite, Photoshop was developed as a tool to make life easier but in the wrong hands can cause devastation.
Photoshopped images have been directly linked to eating disorders, body dysmorphia and cosmetic surgery, especially amongst young people. They promote unrealistic expectations of body image and it has to stop.
Women are being encouraged to present themselves as some sort of other-worldly creatures in order to stay interesting, relevant and sometimes even employable. This pressure is increasingly being put on men too, who are undergoing cosmetic treatments like Botox.
It extends beyond public media and has infected our social media newsfeeds.
I used to think that the subject of doctored photos must have requested such changes to be made, or at least given their consent to do so.
After my experience I realise it is done without consultation. People in the public eye have a duty to their followers and fan base (especially those with a young audience) to ensure their image is represented realistically and to call out this behavior until the culture shifts.
In France, advertisers are banned from using edited photos without a warning message. If they do, they face a fine of €37,500 (£33,000) or up to 30 per cent of however much it cost to make the advert. It’s time the UK followed suit.
Like dynamite, Photoshop was developed as a tool to make life easier but in the wrong hands can cause devastation. Initially designed to enhance creativity, it has the potential to leave people feeling insufficient despite the fact the image they’re comparing themselves to isn’t real.
I love my small boobs. I love my crooked nose. I love my moles and my short legs and my stretchmarks and my scars but it took decades to do so because magazines taught me to hate the way I looked from a very young age.
I want no part in making another person feel the same.
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