Retouching is something that means something different to everyone. To some it belongs only to the hi-tech computers in faraway lands, but to others it is a safety net for fear of a terrible breakout or spinach in your teeth. (Not that I am eating spinach, but you get the idea)
However, for most people, retouching is apart of every day life for the celebrities that grace the covers of our magazines.
I know that the internet has taken over the media world as well as taking over everything else, but sometimes nothing feels as real as flicking through an actual magazine, rather than a digital one. The reason that we do this is because when we hold it in our hand, we expect it to be real. Even if we are holding a tabloid magazine in our hands and we don't expect all of the words to be true, we expect the people in it, to be just that, people.
I don't know if you have guessed it yet but people, humans, have flaws. Usually we have many of them. If it's nothing more than a breakout or even the awful tragedy that our skin doesn't glow with the sheen of polished marble, we are expected to live with it. Everyone is expected to live with it, but unfortunately, the powers of photoshop just can't resist.
People may see photoshop and retouching as something harmless that just comes with the business. But it doesn't have to be that way. Because photoshop isn't just boosting the self-esteem of the celebrity, it is crushing the self-esteem of everyone who sees that magazine. It makes people try to aim towards a perfection that doesn't exist.
Thankfully I am not alone on the issue as many celebrities complain about the use of retouching in magazines or magazine covers. Kate Winslet being one of the many celebrities to have done so.
In 2003 she was on the cover of GQ with some questionably thin pins and this of course aroused rather a lot of suspicion about the legitimacy of the cover.
Kate herself however later came out saying that "The retouching is excessive. I do not look like that and more importantly I don't desire to look like that." We were all pretty relieved, even tiny 4 year old me breathed a sigh of relief back then..
Keira Knightley is another celebrity who came out and complained when she had a dramatically larger chest in numerous photographs and said "those things certainly weren't mine".
These are the people who are known to be against retouching except I find that even these people only seem to come out about the retouching when it is commented on or when the before and after of the pictures are actually released.
So clearly we need people who will point blank refuse to all retouching. The retouchers themselves seem to be able to make the minor adjustments in the back room and it is only when they push it too far that we seem to discover the truth.
I am sure that we can all get over the fact that a blemish may be removed now and then but it would be better if we actually were told this. Even if there was just a symbol saying so, I think it would make our ideals about perfection a little clearer.
Let's all be honest, we can't have retouchers following us around in our everyday lives. So therefore we cannot even dream of aiming for the perfect physiques of these retouched celebs.
The thing is that it is not just retouching but it is the whole idea that people can make us believe that an amazing mascara can really make us look like Bambi, or that our hair can shimmer under the sunlight with a home-dye kit, or even that an anti-ageing moisturiser can make us look 20 years younger.
Many people laugh at the fact that in the corners of mascara ads there is tiny writing stating that false lashes or lash inserts make the fluttery Bambi in front of us, not the actual mascara itself.
The fact is that it isn't just retouching that affects our ideas of what is achievable but also the fact that a 16 year old girl could be the face advertising that anti-ageing moisturiser, and I know that I am only 15 but I haven't found the need for any miracle creams quite yet.
I am not saying that it is not okay to use beautiful people, that is expected and respected but it is important to use age and size commercially when advertising products.
So maybe it is not all about the retouching, but I had to start somewhere, and it made sense to begin at the surface of a much deeper problem. A problem that is rooted in the ideals of perfection for our modern day society.
Whether it is the idea that thin is perfect or the idea that the amazing sheen on the faces of celebrities is real and acceptable, it is a problem that needs to be solved.
I just need everyone to let go of their ideas of perfection and understand that nobody is perfect and our flaws are what make us human. I personally think that humanity is more important that that little boost of self-esteem that a celebrity might get every once in a while.
Are you with me?