Teens – and sometimes already pre-teens – are exposed to important body changes and become increasingly aware of their appearance. Twisted media images of perfectbodies for both boys and girls can heavily influence their self-esteem. Being a photoshop artist myself, I know how much images are manipulated before being put out in the public eye! And for those who still doubt, all… and I mean all… photos in magazines are retouched to some extent.
Most people don’t realize how much is manipulated, so they start comparing themselves to unrealistic images and start feeling bad about themselves. This is especially dangerous at a time when self-esteem is tightly linked to self-image. However, once someone knows this, he/she can have a more critical eye on the images that are presented to them. This obviously won’t solve all self-esteem problems, but it’s a start!
With this in mind, I decided to do my bit and organized a “photo-shoot” birthday party for my daughter’s 13th birthday. Working with my talented friend and professional make-up artist Anne-France, we took the girls through the ropes of make-up, shooting with beauty lights and finally some light retouching in photoshop so that they can see the reality behind cover magazine imagery and (hopefully) kill – or start to damage – the myth of idealism. We also went through some magazines to point out the obvious and less obvious retouching.
The girls left with their favorite printed photo and to quote Emma “This was the best birthday party!”