Sunday, January 29, 2012

The Photoshop Effect

I felt it was somewhat important to post this here. Its a brief talk about the role of advertising and its effect on women. Not only to the point of giving us a complete unattainable ideal, but objectifying women's bodies in a way that can create a culture of violence against women.  Not directly, but in the same way any violence against peoples has happened throughout history. First you dehumanize, then its OK to commit such violence.

I think, among other things, this is one of the reasons so many of us sew.  We can look at clothing as things that cover our body, not things that we have to fit into.

I admit that I use photoshop to crop, play with light settings,  and remove the occasional zit, but not much beyond that.  Ladies such as Mrs. Bug have helped me feel braver about how I look and comfortable in my own skin.  If I can help pass that on to someone else then maybe the world will be a better place for it.  The most important thing is to be healthy.

**UPDATED**  This entire lecture is on youtube in two parts.  I want to point out that I cancelled our broadcast television BECAUSE of advertising and not because of the programming.

What about you dear readers? Do you still struggle with these body image? Or has sewing helped you feel more comfortable in your own skin?


  1. I have to say that while I don't sew, my wife and several of my daughters do, and I agree that women should look like women, warts, scars, bulges, curves, and all. Just as men should look like men, skinny, fat, flabby, scars, and all. I actually scare children when I have no shirt on, that's how many scars I have. I even have stretch marks, because I grew six inches in 3 months when I was 16 years old. People who live life, have defects, and scars. God bless you every one for living life and surviving life. Signed,
    Victor Winebrenner.

  2. I'd like to say I'm fairly comfortable in my skin, but then it's a fairly comfortable skin to be in. Although I'm not as skinny as a runway model, nor as shapely as your average actress, I'm close enough that it's not like looking at a completely different body type. And I've spent enough time in front of the camera (and playing with the images after) to know how much has to do with taking a bazillion shots, and then tweaking the good ones---and that's without even getting in to airbrushing stuff away.

    That being said, I think the biggest single thing for me was stumbling into bellydancing as a teenager. You don't get much more body-accepting than that, at least as I experienced the form, and I loved it. Sewing has not so much changed the way I think about my body, as given me a greater insight into its unique shape.

    1. Mrs. Isis, I have to say that I've used your posing as inspiration. That and done some digging on portrait posing.

  3. I have a completely new outlook on clothing since starting to sew - I think being able to create things in beautiful fabrics that fit AND flatter has had a double whammy effect of me being more comfy in the clothes I wear - because they ARE comfy.

    A bolt of fabric can't fit you badly or emphasize the bits you don't like. It CAN look at you with bedroom eyes and seduce you into a purchase, only to be turned into something wearable, practical AND flattering! Win Win!

    I also seem to become less and less vain as I get older too. I chalk that up to an increase in life experience and a decrease in care-factor for what others think of me.

    But I still can't stand people who look at their own appearance in the elevator mirror - whilst I'm standing next to them. I mean, come on!

  4. I get quite upset by advertisements that objectify and sexualize people to sell products. I have been known to yell at the TV. For some reason I thought that the US was particularly bad and that it would be better in France. It's not any better here (in France), although people don't like to believe me when I say that. When I have the TV on it's 90% of the time to watch a movie, so no ads!