Posted by Katherine Dewitt
Magazines are known to publish photos and advertisements that get retouched significantly. Elle’s October issue hit the newsstands with actress Gabby Sidibe on the front cover.
A striking, yet close up photo of the 27 year-old uproots controversy and debate in the print media world. Many people noticed the fact that a fashion/beauty magazine, such as Elle, ran their issue with a plus size woman. Later, bloggers started noticing something else: the cover girl’s excessive skin lightening.
Minonline.com published a story on Sept. 21 about the cover retouching. This magazine issue came out with four covers with different celebrities on each of them: Sidibe, Megan Fox, Amanda Seyfried, and Lauren Conrad.
Writer Steve Smith discusses how Sidibe’s cover photo was “framed much tighter” than the other three, slimmer celebrities. Instead of running a full body photo—as Elle did for the other three girls—the magazine focused in on her face, which ironically, was retouched to a negative and great extent. Smith also wrote about how her skin was much lighter than it is in any other photo of the star. And it’s true.
Although society is starting to slowly accept that magazines and advertisements retouch people, the fact that Elle failed at editing her cover photo successfully, saddens me. Sidibe is a striking individual, but society does not view her features as what is deemed to be beautiful. While Elle was most likely trying to make a point by featuring her, they somewhat insulted her and went in the wrong direction. It’s too bad Elle couldn’t stick with Sidibe’s true beauty.
Yahoo! Shine, a website for advice and information offered from experts for women, confronted Elle about this hot topic. Elle responded with this:
“Nothing out of the ordinary was done. We have four separate covers this month and Gabby’s cover was not retouched any more or less than the others. We had 25 cover-worthy subjects in our portfolio and we chose Gabby because of who she is. We shot this as a story of exuberant young women changing the world. If you take a look at the portfolio, each of the women were shot in different ways and for different reasons.”
My favorite magazine is W and they experienced a mishap with their December 2009 cover girl, Demi Moore. They digitally removed her left hip. Oops. Even though magazines airbrush celebrities more and more, there should be a line to not cross when editing photos. When should photo editors stop editing? If photo editing hurts society and self-portraits, why do editors and magazines continue to do this?