The gorgeous stars of Riverdale, Lili Reinhart and Camila Mendes, were featured in Cosmopolitan’s February issue. They looked amazing, as usual.
Cosmopolitan Philippines shared the photos recently with one change – the girls had been photoshopped. So, Reinhart took to Instagram and blatantly pointed them out to the entire world.
She also reminded them in one classy and ruthless strike that the two were perfect and that they didn’t need to be altered.
This made my Women’s Day all the more memorable! But, jokes apart, I was genuinely surprised that Reinhart had stood up to Cosmopolitan, especially since she was going to get paid for this photoshoot. It’s like standing up to your boss when you know that he signs your salary cheques. It requires a lot of courage and just a bit of recklessness because you know that once you stand up, you will forever have to face the consequences from the boss and your colleagues. This scenario was 100 times more complicated than the boss analogy because not only did Reinhart and Mendes need to consider how this will impact their career but also how they will look in the eyes of the public, which includes other advertising companies etc. I want to really dissect how this will impact all the stakeholders in this situation to see who photoshopping benefits.
What I don’t understand is why beauty companies use photoshop in the first place. I mean, we all know that you do it, so it’s not like you are tricking the general public. The whole aim of photoshopping is to make someone look gorgeous and get rid of any blemishes and imperfections. However, the public knows that the photos on the magazine or photoshopped, and so everyone is aware that no one can possibly look like they do on magazine covers in real life. So, photoshopping defeats the whole purpose. Consequently, I find it completely atrocious that beauty businesses continue to invest vast amounts of money, time, and energy in making their models look incredibly fake. I agree that I’m assuming that most people know those beauty companies exploit photos with photoshop, but I don’t think this is a gross generalization because here are the following circumstances where the public has caught photoshop fails, which shows that they are aware of Photoshop and its effects. There are also PSA-esque commercials that attempt to make consumers aware of the extent of Photoshop used in editing and “enhancing” advertisements.
GlobalDemocracy.com created a video, illuminating the actual process of photoshopping a women’s image:
Buzzfeed shows people how photoshopping can affect the people in the photography:
We can see that people are aware of photoshop and it’s failures because the general public often catches people in the act.
Here is one from Kylie J’s feed. Fans speculated that the image was photoshopped based on the wall curves right around where her stomach bends in.
Then, there was the time when Vanity Fair screwed up horribly:
There is also a twitter account dedicated to catching normal people, as well:
All of these examples are only the tip of the iceberg. There are thousands of other videos, tweets, and Instagram comments that identify photoshop failures, which shows that people are aware of the use of Photoshop.
I’m also incredibly impressed by the fact that Reinhart stood up to Cosmopolitan Philippines and revealed the extent to which they photoshopped the images. Yes, this takes courage and I’m proud of her. But, a small part of me is suspicious of her motives. Since the past couple of years, many celebrities have shut down beauty companies for photoshopping their images and the public has gone gaga over their honesty and bravery, and (to play the devil’s advocate) it makes me wonder if she was doing it just to get the same response from the public. For instance, Zendaya featured in Modeliste’s November cover spread, and after finding out that they had “manipulated” the pictures, she took to Instagram to express her dismay:
View this post on Instagram
Had a new shoot come out today and was shocked when I found my 19 year old hips and torso quite manipulated. These are the things that make women self conscious, that create the unrealistic ideals of beauty that we have. Anyone who knows who I am knows I stand for honest and pure self love. So I took it upon myself to release the real pic (right side) and I love it😍😘 Thank you @modelistemagazine for pulling down the images and fixing this retouch issue.
(You can find out about more celebrities standing up against Photoshop here.)
I also find it quite interesting that the beauty companies don’t inform their models that their final photos will be photoshopped. This might seem trivial and insignificant, but if models are shooting for a beauty company, then don’t the business companies think it is their duty to warn models that in the final copy, their images might be altered to make sure that they don’t sue or complain? I just think it is important to delve deeper and evaluate the issue from different perspectives before dismissing Cosmopolitan as the “bad guy” and all the celebrities as the “good”.
It’s also fascinating that beauty companies essential body-shame their models when they choose to photoshop them. They are beauty companies, so it is understandable because their goal of selling beauty products is solely based on the fact that consumers aren’t happy with the way they look. So, to keep consumers coming after them, the beauty companies set unattainable beauty standards, and this perpetuates the cycle.
In conclusion, while I’m not sure about Cosmpolitan’s take on the situation, I believe that Reinhart made the right move. It’s important for celebrities to stand up for what they believe in, especially since they have the power to influence. This was a bold move for her, and I’m glad that she found the courage to make it because not only did she show women that they are perfect just the way they are, but also that they should stand up against bullies.
Two birds with one stone. On Women’s day. Unprecedented.