Whenever a woman does something that makes some change to her appearance, there is a great majority of men who live under a strange belief: they made that change for men. The male gaze is often the source of embarrassment for the gender, one that has been enhanced to Panopticon-levels of access since the internet became everyone’s arena for unrequested opinions. A Hollywood actress makes some kind of alteration, and a great swathe of men take it personally, whether in their insistence on complimenting or abusing.
Getty Images have announced a new rule when uploading photographs to their site: any image that has been photoshopped with the intention of making a model appear thinner or larger than reality, will not be accepted. The slimming of hips and the enlarging of breasts digitally is banned. Following a very similar in France, Getty Images are moving ahead with a motion that should have been taken up by many more industry names by now. It is a cliché at this point to say that young girls emulate their idols, but it is a fact that many continue to ignore. When the celebrities seen on the covers of magazines have reached a body shape achieved by Adobe, you find the same girls vying to copy.
At aged nineteen, Zendaya’s body was reshaped digitally by Modeliste magazine to narrow her hips. Keira Knightley’s breasts have previously been photoshopped to appear larger. Cellulite, scars, moles and birth marks are removed and as a result, generations of both girls and boys approach these features as though they need to be hidden. Getty Images have yet to apply any rules against photoshopping details as small as stretch marks, however, and as such have missed an opportunity.
A prediction: a significant portion of the male population will take Getty Images’ new rule personally. When the media has a tendency to fashion women towards the male eye, those men will protest the rule. Representation of women has always troubled men for the wrong reasons. Whether or not a female celebrity intends to engage with this portion of the public, the opinions will eventually come forth. Getty Images, whether it likes it or not, is going to hear the outcry. But then, that only serves to prove the validity of the rule.