Sunday, April 13, 2008
Now fashion mags make models 'fatter'
Fashion magazines are manipulating images of skinny models to make them look "fatter" than they really are.
The move is a response to critics who blame images of so-called "size zero" models for the rise in eating disorders in young girls.
The fashion industry has long been accused of making models and actresses look thinner and is now using the same techniques in reverse to deflect criticism
Belinda Coleman, of the retouching agency The Shoemakers Elves, said there was a trend towards presenting less "extreme" images of thinness and of enhancing figures. "Where models are looking particularly gaunt, magazines are saying, 'We can't have that - fill out their chests,'?" she said.
"It is now deemed just as negative to be too thin as too fat. Every¬one is scared of being highlighted as the magazine or label that promotes very thin girls, so they are being a lot more careful about the images they present."
Another agency, the iWanex Studio, boasts a portfolio of "before and after" images of celebrities that it has retouched for magazines. In one of the "after" photographs, the thighs of Cameron Diaz, the actress, have been visibly widened, her arms filled out and her stomach made smoother and rounder, with her prominent hip bones from the "before" photograph erased.
Nicky Eaton, the head of press and PR at Condé Nast, which publishes Vogue, GQ, and Glamour, also confirmed that images of models were enhanced to make them appear fuller-figured.
"There have been cases where models are booked way ahead of a shoot and then they turn up two months later looking less healthy and perhaps a bit underweight. We wouldn't be happy showing them that way, so it is then that we would need that person to look a little bit fuller."
But Susan Ringwood, the chief executive of the eating disorder charity Beat, condemned the practice. "Altering models' bodies to appear fuller-figured proves that the industry acknowledges there is a serious issue with projecting images of very thin models, but [it is] missing the point," she said. "They should be using naturally healthy models in the first instance, instead of having to make them look that way."
In 2003, Kate Winslet, who has defended fuller-figured women, appeared on the cover of GQ in a picture that had been altered without her knowledge to make her appear much slimmer.
The following year, Keira Knightley was shocked after appearing with an enhanced bust on posters for the film King Arthur. Last year, however, she dismissed reports that her image in adverts for Chanel's Coco Mademoiselle perfume had been enhanced, despite speculation that she was made to look curvier.
This month, the Periodical Publishers Association (PPA), which represents the magazine industry, appealed for the introduction of a voluntary code regulating the use of digital manipulation and is to hold discussions on the issue with magazine editors.