Good evening Ladies and Gentlemen, esteemed chair and judges. Tonight we are debating the motion that ‘This House would prohibit the media from using software to cosmetically improve an individuals appearance’. ( insert any speech division like I’m going to talk about these things, Georgie and Poppy are going to talk about this )
Assuming everyone in this room has some kind of contact with the media, whether it is online or in a news magazine. So ultimately we will have had contact with photo editing softwares in the media; and that doesn’t include the times we don’t actually notice it. Photoshop work can be so convincing that it’s really difficult to tell what’s real and what’s not .But there we already reach one of the points I would like to make, if we don’t notice it means we don’t know that it has been edited and we subconsciously put a false picture of someone in our memory which leads to us having a different idea of the “perfect” body image. If we were to define that false picture in the sense of the motion; it is not the kind of photo editing that makes pictures look unique through effects like double exposure, no, it is to alter a person’s general appearance or features such as skin complexion, age, body shape etc.
Body image is closely linked to self-esteem. Low self-esteem in adolescents can lead to eating disorders, substance use and even suicidal thoughts. Today approximately 91% of women are unhappy with their bodies and resort to dieting to achieve their ideal body shape. Unfortunately, only 5% of women naturally possess the body type often portrayed by the media through body altering softwares. This leads to increase to an increase of mental illnesses such as bulimia and anorexia, and especially with bulimia you don’t notice a person’s mental health as it isn’t shown in their physical appearance. But these unrealistic body images aren’t the only things that have been altered, it has come so far that people’s skin colour has been altered to an extend that they don’t look like their own ethnicity anymore which have caused various outrages in the media and social media platforms.
Photoshop on magazine covers does not only affect females it may just as easily affect males; in magazines like the GQ the picture of the ‘perfect’ man have changed the idea of many young boys about what that actually is. Now 16 % of high school boys have to fight with eatings disorders. Also for the men in countries like Brazil plastic surgeries are usually more centralised to the face, as Germanic features are idealised, while remaining tanned. Plastic surgery has become a real life Photoshop for the youth that has grown up in a world that allows them to believe there is only one way to be beautiful.
In recent years photoshop has become more and more natural to us. People use it in their social media posts etc. and we don’t want in any way make people feel self conscious about themselves , but we are actually talking here about the media. A form of educating yourself about what is happening with the celebrities that interest you and new scandals that seem to pop up every single day. But then fake images of people that are so obviously not ugly even without it and this often also happens with out their approval. So then they feel humiliated and insulted by the magazines as they purposely altered their appearance because they weren’t full filling their beauty standards.
Companies are feeding into the insecurities of adolescent children, and telling them that they should feel ashamed of the way they look because naturally they will never be as beautiful or handsome as the fabricated person on the cover of a magazine, or the almost animated creature selling some product. While the ability to correct photographic errors and remove flaws and blemishes is appreciated in many instances, the dramatic overuse in industries, such as modelling, advertising and fashion photography, has had an undeniably negative effect on modern society. As the use of Photoshop becomes more extreme, the desire to “be beautiful” becomes more extreme as well.