We can often recognize an overly Photoshopped picture when we see one. We've scrutinized plenty of magazine covers, editorials, and e-commerce shots, calling them out for altering a woman's image past recognition. While there's no doubt that Photoshop can mess with our minds and our body image, it's more constructive to talk about its cultural impact than to call out specific women. It's for this reason that we take issue with the Instagram account WePhotoshoppedWhat.
The premise of the account is very straightforward: There are images of celebrities and bloggers who, as the account points out with pink arrows, appear to have Photoshopped their ‘grams. The adjustments mostly seem to make the people in the photos look thinner, and the WePhotoshoppedWhat account also posts side-by-side comparison photos to drive that point home. The criticism isn't exactly constructive, but if you disregard the mean-girl tone, it's pretty eye-opening to see how commonplace Photoshop has become on our own feeds.
The idea of editing pictures for Instagram is far from a new or foreign concept. Most of us are well-versed in deleting red eyes, making our hair color look a bit more vibrant, and/or softening up our entire appearance with a filter. But, if upping the contrast is okay, is slimming an ankle fine, too? Why are Mayfair and Walden completely acceptable, but accentuating a posterior is harmful? Is it any more harmful than pointing out obvious evidence of Photoshopping?
The answers are not cut-and-dry. It's impossible to turn a blind eye to the fact that Photoshop practices are happening at nearly every publication — and when it contributes to an unhealthy and unattainable set of beauty standards, it's undeniably damaging, and should be called out. But we wonder if there's a more persuasive way to do it, and whether or not that involves using the hashtag "betches."