This site will work and look better in a browser that supports web standards, but it is accessible to any browser or Internet device.

Whedonesque - a community weblog about Joss Whedon
"Just a thought. Poker -- not your game."
11943 members | you are not logged in | 16 April 2014












July 26 2010

Mrs Reynolds hailed as a role model for girls. Govt minister seeking health warning for airbrushed advertising images uses Christina Hendricks as a positive example. Another journalist objects. In fact it seems like the cat is well and truly among the pigeons

[ edited by ZodKneelsFirst on 2010-07-27 13:20 ]

[ edited by ZodKneelsFirst on 2010-07-27 14:30 ]

They need to look at the other side of the coin. Not everyone can be as beautiful or full figured as Christina. Just another case of govt putting their weight where it doesn't belong.

But I wouldn't mind seeing more Christina's in magazine shoots!
Agreed eddy. But its not just this article. Each time they parade Christina out as the poster child for "real" women, in the hundreds of similar articles, it seems they are just casting a different unrealistic stereotype. And they always talk about how she is the perfect model for how real women should look.

"The coalition government is to put the fashion industry under pressure to stop promoting unrealistic body images and clamp down on airbrushed photographs in magazines and adverts."

So Christina's is the "realistic" body image? (Welcome to Russ Meyer's ultimate fantasy.)
I agree that the current trend seems to be that "thin" is not at all naturally occurring - as offensive as assuming anyone over a size 4 is a lazy pig. ;) However, the idea that *photo-editing* should be stopped is I think worthwhile. So Christina Hendricks in ads or magazine spreads would always look as completely full-figured as she does in real life, and Kristin Bell would look as petite, etc etc. Details, wrong - base idea: totally right.
For a minute there I was going to be even more scandalized if the headline seriously linked to a story that upheld the FIREFLY character "Mrs. Reynolds/YoSaffBridge" as a role model, because that really would be disturbing. I'm not too upset about "healthy weight/no airbrushing."
Maeve, that's why I clicked on it, too. Put aside what the author wrote, the govt official is not saying that Christina should be the only role model or her figure should be the standard of what's healthy. But she finds Christina a good role model for young women who are inundated with images of thin women photoshopped to look even thinner.
Wow, you learn something new and weird every day. So there's a Minister of Equality? I find that such an odd concept. Does it have true relevance as a Ministerial position? Is it seen as a joke or is it a bone tossed out there for PR purposes?

I guess she wants a little warning label akin to the US surgeon general's warning on cigarette ads. (Do you have those or something similar in the UK?) That might be good for some giggles--especially if they were forced to specify exactly what had been altered and why: (Warning: These hips have been pared down to better fit the self-image of the advertiser and their agency. They are worried about competing with their respective peers for market share and the Miss CLIO crown and think that the model photographs too fat.)

I wonder how a "real" warning label (as opposed to my silliness) would change the viewers experience? It will probably have about as much of an effect as sumptuary laws ever did. I figure in twenty years or so, none of this will even be relevant though, since children will learn and understand the true potential powers and abuses of Photoshop (or its futuristic equivalent) in baby daycare.

However, this...

"Advertisers and magazine editors have a right to publish what they choose, but women and girls also have the right to be comfortable in their own bodies. At the moment, they are being denied that," she said.


...is a little...um, squicky. All my alarm bells go off when I see the viewing public being excused of the responsibility for their own lives. I'm not negating the power of subliminal messages but... "denied that," is over the top. I also don't think that changing the images is going to make any woman feel comfortable in her own body--there's a lot more to it than that. A major public official issuing a statement like that is...just wrong. But normal, I guess. So nice to know the world is still spinning.
Maeve, I sort of freaked out and then looked at the full article and laughed, for the same reasons.

At least the idea at the heart of it is good, even if it's not explained right.
BreathesStory:
Does it have true relevance as a Ministerial position? Is it seen as a joke or is it a bone tossed out there for PR purposes?


The Equalities Office is a smallish strategy group there to promote anti-discrimination legislation and make sure other Government departments consider these issues.

I'm sure some of our crustier right-wingers consider it a joke - and to keep this comment on topic, I bet Mal Reynolds would too - but others think that the idea of having a government minister whose sole job it is to promote equality for women, LGBT people, ethnic or religious minorities and disabled people is actually quite a good thing to have. :-)
>I agree that the current trend seems to be that "thin" is not at all naturally occurring - as offensive as assuming anyone over a size 4 is a lazy pig. ;) However, the idea that *photo-editing* should be stopped is I think worthwhile. So Christina Hendricks in ads or magazine spreads would always look as completely full-figured as she does in real life, and Kristin Bell would look as petite, etc etc. Details, wrong - base idea: totally right.

One problem - due to the nature of curved surface lens technology coupled with flat film/sensor capture surfaces
un-retouched photos never accurately reflect a person or object's proportions. In fact as film planes get smaller they tend to make people look fatter then they really are (the root cause of the skinny actor/model phenomenon - there is actually a reason for the saying that being on tv adds an extra ten pounds.) It goes without saying that there is far too much routine "photoshop-ing" going around these days but, without sufficient post-processing of some sort, it is impossible to accurately represent an object or person on any kind of film plane.


I'm sure some of our crustier right-wingers consider it a joke - and to keep this comment on topic, I bet Mal Reynolds would too - but others think that the idea of having a government minister whose sole job it is to promote equality for women, LGBT people, ethnic or religious minorities and disabled people is actually quite a good thing to have. :-)

It'd be a bit more comforting if said person(s) with government-funded microphones tended to show even a passing level of understanding on the topics apparently under their purview.

[ edited by brinderwalt on 2010-07-26 21:07 ]
... due to the nature of curved surface lens technology coupled with flat film/sensor capture surfaces
un-retouched photos never accurately reflect a person or object's proportions.


Yeah, this is true but a complete red herring. Just stretch the image to compensate, job done. That's not retouching in the sense most people mean it (i.e. to remove blemishes, reshape noses/hips/thighs/bums/etc.) and more importantly, it's done to better reflect what's actually there rather than to artificially "enhance" reality.

I guess she wants a little warning label akin to the US surgeon general's warning on cigarette ads. (Do you have those or something similar in the UK?)

Not really because virtually all tobacco advertising is illegal in the UK (no TV, no billboards, no newspapers/magazines except tobacco trade magazines, almost no sports sponsorship etc.). We do have government health warnings on cigarette packets though, like this (bit ambiguous, eh ;).

From the headline I assumed this was going to be more nanny state over-legislation of things for which people should take individual responsibility but it's apparently more along the lines of meeting with industry and discussing how to project reasonable images of women which seems like a pretty good idea to me. Probably ineffective but not a bad idea in principle.
Yeah, this is true but a complete red herring. Just stretch the image to compensate, job done. That's not retouching in the sense most people mean it (i.e. to remove blemishes, reshape noses/hips/thighs/bums/etc.) and more importantly, it's done to better reflect what's actually there rather than to artificially "enhance" reality.

I'm not talking about retouching in the sense that most people mean it. My point of reference is as an industry insider who specializes in working with the underlying technology of cameras and lighting equipment and dealing with their inherent artistic limitations.

What it comes down to is that there is no way to accurately represent a 3d object on a 2d plane (by definition, all forms of print media.) The problem is not that fashion photos tend to look unrealistic, it is that so many people (including a disturbing number in the industry itself) perceive them as attempts to accurately portray reality when they are - in fact - highly stylized, artistic representations and nothing more. In short, they should be educating the public about the nature of what it is they're looking at, not putting archaic limitations on the artistic community's ability to do their thing.


ETA: For example, "why the hair?" you may ask. Because Damian thinks it's cool in the photo - not because he's trying to get anyone to wear it in real life (although I'm sure he'd love it if someone did.) ;)

[ edited by brinderwalt on 2010-07-26 23:22 ]
What it comes down to is that there is no way to accurately represent a 3d object on a 2d plane (by definition, all forms of print media.)

Yeah, I got that, partly because you said it before and partly because i've seen both a map and a globe ;).

The problem is not that fashion photos tend to look unrealistic, it is that so many people (including a disturbing number in the industry itself) perceive them as attempts to accurately portray reality when they are - in fact - highly stylized, artistic representations and nothing more.

Second red herring. The problem, in fact, is that fashion photos often tend to be unrealistic while looking real - if all fashion photos coloured the subject purple then i'd have less of an issue with them (likewise, despite usually not finding them aesthetically appealing, I actually prefer photos that have very clearly been retouched and manipulated - that kind of "plastic skin" look - because then it's obvious to all "This is NOT how this man/woman actually looks, it's not reality"). And what does the "hair" photo have to do with manipulating images, was her hair actually a short ginger bob before it was retouched ?? Neither the article nor anyone here (AFAIK) is talking about limiting outlandish clothing or hair designs because they're "unrealistic". Weird hair doesn't lead to anorexia or other body image problems.

I do agree though that education about the myriad ways photos are routinely manipulated is a good thing and if every fashion magazine/billboard/retouched image came with a large disclaimer on the front that said something like "Images within have been heavily manipulated, please do not treat any as accurate depictions of reality" so that everyone knew they couldn't trust anything they saw inside, that they should treat them as fictions then (and only then) it'd be fine for the "artistic community" to manipulate photos to their heart's content (with the permission of the subject I guess). That seems to be exactly what the UK government intends in fact.

(no offence brinderwalt but sometimes I wonder if you aren't actually the most dedicated, subtle troll i've ever seen ;)
The minister in question, Lynne Featherstone, has written a follow-up blog clarifying her position on Christina Hendricks here.
Hmm, I don't see the "stick insect" comment making her many friends.
Only Saje could call someone a troll and make it sound endearing!
Well, inoffensive at least (hopefully ;).
(no offence brinderwalt but sometimes I wonder if you aren't actually the most dedicated, subtle troll i've ever seen ;)

Nonsense! :) I just believe in being thorough (probably has something to do with my parents' hippie political activist genes rising to the surface...)
I know where you're coming from, Saje (spycams are handy that way . . .), but it'd be nice if folks could refrain from calling others trolls - it's a little harsh, even if said tongue-in-cheek. Ta.
Fair enough SNT, as I say, no offence intended brinderwalt ;).
I know where you're coming from, Saje (spycams are handy that way . . .), but it'd be nice if folks could refrain from calling others trolls - it's a little harsh, even if said tongue-in-cheek. Ta.


Presumably unless they actually do hide under bridges and turn to stone at sunrise. Then surely it indicates acceptance?
Well, plus the all important "Billy Goats Gruff" criterion surely ?

(I mean, anyone can live under a bridge and turn to stone at sunrise but being outwitted by a goat is a rarer talent)

You need to log in to be able to post comments.
About membership.



joss speaks back home back home back home back home back home