Alice Shaw

Enhancement, Post Production

In News on July 24, 2010 at 8:13 pm

Photo:  Glen McCurtayne

I can’t help but wonder whether Sarah Murdoch regrets appearing on a Women’s Weekly cover without airbrushing, or whether she regrets her heavily airbrushed promotional images for Australia’s Next Top Model.  I suspect the former.

 Ms Murdoch appeared during a flurry of media exposure regarding the Body Image Advisory Council, of which she is a member, which was formed to help find a way to combat negative body image.  The Council has since produced a Code of Conduct which suggests, among other things, that magazines provide clear information regarding enhancements via airbrushing of the models which appear in their magazines.  It should be noted that this Code of Conduct is voluntary and therefore magazine editors can choose to expose whether or not enhancements have taken place.  Much the same as they had that choice before the Code of Conduct was introduced.

 Sarah Murdoch is one of those women who is blessed with natural beauty.  She was bestowed this gift and has made the best of it.  She looked beautiful on the Women’s Weekly magazine cover and did not need enhancing, in my opinion.  In her ANTM promotional photos, she looks breath taking, and slightly unreal.  Her face is completely smooth, not a line nor a blemish to be seen and she looks ravishing in a red gown, slim and perfect.  Which I think is the point.  She’s a model advertising a television show about becoming a model.  Her publicist has come out with a rather snooty statement about Ms Murdoch never having stated she would not be airbrushed again in the future.   To be honest, I can’t really blame her.  Looking gorgeous is what she does for a living.  She makes money from it.  The object of her job is to be so beautiful as to inspire others to seek to attain that beauty by the purchase of the products she advertises.  I’m not saying it’s right, I’m saying that it is her job.  The possible mistake that Ms Murdoch made, was to be a on a committee which is pushing for a more realistic portrayal of women in the media.  This is surely something she could never fully commit to.

 I recently purchased some well known fashion magazines whilst in the United Kingdom.  I noticed that a few of the advertisements have begun to acknowledge that the finished product is not quite what it looked like on the day.  For example, Eva Longoria appears in an ad for L’oreal Volume Million Lashes.  In very small writing at the bottom of the page it acknowledges that “Eva’s eyes styled with lash inserts and millionized with Volume Million Lashes”.  So basically, unless you use lash inserts no amount of “millionizing” is going to make your lashes look like Eva’s.  In Maybelline’s “the Falsies by Volum’  Express” advertisement, the very small writing states that the model’s look was “enhanced post production”.  It’s not much but it’s a start.  However, I would suggest that L’oreal needs to take a leaf out of it’s own book because in an ad for Collagen Micro-vibration eye, we see a heavily airbrushed Linda Evangelista without a line to be seen, and no statement about enhancement.  Although curiously the ad does state that the lineless and blemish free Ms Evangelista is 45!

 Perhaps a little less mud slinging at Ms Murdoch and a little more attention to those magazine editors who continue to endorse heavy airbrushing without acknowledgement, is in order.

  1. I agree with this post wholeheartedly and think the make up of that Advisory Committee is farcical and kind of pointless given that they haven’t really achieved anything apart from a voluntary code.

    It is the editors fault for allowing their mags to be filled with these images.

  2. Great opinion piece – I feel the following quote really resonates with me:
    “The possible mistake that Ms Murdoch made, was to be a on a committee which is pushing for a more realistic portrayal of women in the media. This is surely something she could never fully commit to.”

    This is what makes me feel so uncomfortable – it reeks of double standards.

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