The independent student news site of San Marcos, California

The Cougar Chronicle

The independent student news site of San Marcos, California

The Cougar Chronicle

The independent student news site of San Marcos, California

The Cougar Chronicle

Reshaping Perception: How Vogue Image Creating is Controversial to Students

Lena Dunham’s Twitter allegedly following Jezebel’s offer for Vogue’s unretouched pictures of Dunham. Photo by Sarah Hughes

P1140193By Alex Maravillas
Fashion Columnist

Vogue’s Feb. issue will feature a retouched photo of Lena Dunham and some people feel the use of Photoshop on the actress is inappropriate.

In times where editing photos is practiced, we can reshape a person’s body through programs such as Photoshop. Because of the media’s infatuation with unattainable beauty standards, Photoshop has taken a primary role in the toolset of the modern day magazine editor. However, there are certain situations where these photos are criticized, such as how they affect the way that people perceive attractiveness in themselves and others.

A few CSUSM students weighed in about the issue of retouching on body images. The representation of women in the media is an issue that students immediately pointed out problems with.

“In our society, the representation of women is a complex and interesting issue,” CSUSM student, Melisa Velazquez, said. “Women for example are being objectified and judged by their physical appearance. Even through new diversified roles of women arise, images of [how] the media represent women have a strong influence.”

“In my opinion, the media produces an unachievable representation of women through means of perfection and a standard of idealized beauty that does more harm than good,” CSUSM student, Paul Rodriguez, said.

Vogue fashion magazine just released their February issue featuring actress Lena Dunham from the show “Girls.” Some people feel there is a paradox between the spirit of the HBO show and the modifications the magazine made to Dunham’s photos. The website Jezebel offered $10,000 for unretouched photos of Dunham after the Vogue shoot. The request was quickly answered.

Regarding the photos of Dunham, critics pointed out the obvious Photoshop retouches done to the actress’s body. According to Jezebel’s blog, she had the bags under her eyes retouched, her smile lines airbrushed, her jaw refined, among other changes. Jezebel also claims Dunham had numerous touch-ups, such as her neck thinned and brought in, her hips pulled in and a male model’s knee raised to be closer to her.

According to “Gender and Popular Culture” by Katie Milestone and Anneke Meyer, “Women in popular culture have always been closely associated with and scrutinized in terms of their physical appearance, for example the size and shape of their appearance or the condition of their skins.”

Some feel the need to be worried about the long-term effects of Photoshop’s prevalence in Western media, citing children and eating disorders as the reason for these concerns.

Consider the message of the popular Buzzfeed video, “Watch Photoshop Transform Your Favorite Celebrities Right Before Your Eyes.” According to the video, on a typical day 8 to 18 year olds engage in some form of media for an average of 7.5 hours a day. Of a survey of American elementary school girls who read magazines, 81 percent of ten-year-olds said that they are afraid of being fat. 69 percent said images influence their concept of the ideal body shape. 49 percent said the pictures make them want to lose weight and 1/3 of non-overweight girls reported dieting. 70 percent of people believed that advertisements and media should use more average sizes.

Lena Dunham’s controversy is just one small incident out of thousands of others. Student opinions seem to lean more towards the harmful effects of photoshop on body images.

The Cougar Chronicle will be conducting an anonymous survey on the subject of magazines and body image. To take it, go to It will be followed up on in a story later this semester.

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