Today, a page on Upworthy.com featuring scary statistics about American girls, disordered eating, the media, and body image has been making the Internet rounds–and for good reason. The facts, which are part of Miss Representation‘s Keep It Real campaign and in partnership with LoveSocial.org, SPARK, and I AM THAT GIRL, are reminders of why it’s essential to call out practices like the excessive use of Photoshop: because regardless of what critics say, consistently being exposed to images of unattainable “perfection” is bad for girls and women.
The 30-day Keep It Real challenge is pretty simple: use information (like the fact that 65% of American girls and women have reported disordered eating behavior) to prompt advertisers and media outlets to stop the use of Photoshop and other editing tools, and start portraying the female body as it is. Participants will Tweet out the facts (using the hashtag #KeepItReal), blog about the impact of photo retouching and the portrayal of women in the media, and then share images of the excessive and ridiculous measures that are taken to make women and girls more “fit for consumption.”
Often, when we on the site call out inaccurate and hurtful representations of women and the female body (particularly when it has to do with postpartum bodies, but basically all the time), we receive critical notes, asking us why we bother talking about celebrities and other frivolous matters. But let’s be honest–these numbers and behaviors don’t come from nowhere. Girls don’t just diet or starve themselves or feel horrible about themselves because that’s the way little girls are built, they do it because they’re so rarely given an opportunity to look at actual, healthy female bodies.
The idea that overly-Photoshopped, “perfect” girls and women in advertising, magazines, and on TV have no impact on the psyches of women of all ages is ridiculous. It’s time to get real by demanding that advertisers keep it real–or at least shaming them every time they don’t.
You can get involved with the Keep It Real campaign by checking out the Facebook event page, and following the #KeepItReal hashtag on Twitter.