Say Cheese Are Photoshop Services Responsible for The Rise of Low Self Esteem in America and Beyond?
When the art and science of photography was first invented over a century ago, no one ever thought people would eventually be walking around with powerful, handheld computers complete with high powered digital cameras that are able to capture stunning and silly self portraits known as selfies. Huh…? What’s a computer? What’s a digital camera camera, and more importantly, what is a selfie and why do people take them? The inventors of photography and early photographers must be enjoying the turn photography has taken while they’re living it up in the afterlife!
It’s incredibly easy to see how far photography has come in terms of photo enhancement services such as Photoshop services, photo editing services, and other forms of photo correction services, but how much is too much and how far is too far?
Obviously, Photoshop services — or any kind of photo editing or enhancement service — did not exist back in the days of printed advertisements, such as during the infamous Golden Age of advertising. But airbrushing and other kinds of photo enhancement techniques did. These were used to make skin appear porcelain smooth, to make hair appear lustrous, thick, and shinier, and even to enhance the physique of both male and female models. And while it’s no secret that one of the key tenants of successful advertising is to make the consumer feel the slightest bit insecure in order to purchase a product or service, this level of insecurity was no where near what it is today thanks to Photoshop services.
Nowadays, Photoshop services are just a tool reserved for use by advertising and marketing professionals or professional creative gurus, it’s used by everyone, even selfie snappers! And as a result, this rampant use of Photoshop services has left Americans — and the rest of the world — feeling more insecure than ever before. Americans come into contact with thousands of advertisements each day featuring impossible and totally unrealistic standards of beauty, not to mention the near constant use of social media platforms which only serve to perpetuate this artificial beauty ideals.
Although people are painfully of how much Photoshop services are used in magazines, in Hollywood, in advertisements, and on social media, it does little in terms of assuaging people’s insecurities regarding their own bodies and self image. While the picture itself may be fake due to its Photoshop enhancements, the damage it can do to a person’s self esteem is very, very real.
Body dysmorphic disorder, often referred to as body dysmorphia disorder (BDD), is a form of obsessive compulsive disorder (mental illness) in which a person obsesses over a perceived flaw in their appearance. Symptoms often include depression, anxiety, irritability, avoiding social situations, and depending on the severity of the disorder, taking drastic measures in order to correct the perceived flaw. The only problem with this is that once the perceived flaw or flaws are corrected, new ones will only take it’s place.
Sufferers of BDD have been known to go to great lengths in order to correct their perceived flaws, including haphazard plastic surgery procedures. Everyone has read tabloid articles about celebrities flying to a foreign country in order to undergo a dangerous cosmetic surgical procedure that American surgeons refuse to perform, only for that surgery to go awry and put the patient’s life at stake. People without BDD may be puzzled as to why a person would do such a thing but for persons with BDD, putting their life on the line is a small price to pay in order to correct their perceived flaw.
Many people believe the over saturation of social media and advertisements featuring unrealistic beauty ideals is to blame for the sharp increase in cases of BDD and other forms of low self esteem. People who constantly view images of perfected bodies may begin to compare their own body and lifestyle to that of those featured on social media and on advertisements. They begin to wonder how they measure up or if they even do, all while knowing the image in front of them was entirely manufactured.