We wanted to know how our female panel members felt about the use of airbrushing in the media and how they felt this then went on to affect the women of today.
The majority of the panel felt that the use of Photoshop and airbrushing in magazines and beauty campaigns set unrealistic expectations for women, with some of the panel feeling so strongly that they felt airbrushing should be banned. “I am 100% against airbrushing.” (Mary, Sheffield, 66)
There was a link mentioned by the panel between a society obsessed with airbrushing and people turning to plastic surgery in an attempt to live up to these airbrushed expectations. Young girls were seen as the most vulnerable, being seen as the most likely to turn to extreme lengths in order to try and achieve what our panel thought was an unattainable look. “It really doesn’t promote healthy body confidence.” (Emma-Louise, Spalding, 23) Members of the panel felt that airbrushing resulted in pressure being put on women to look a certain way, setting a bad example with unrealistic expectations.
Some of the panel felt that airbrushing is unfair because it miss- sells products as the airbrushed advertisement leads the consumer to think that they too can achieve these results when in fact the airbrushed result isn’t real. The product being sold is unlikely to ever achieve the airbrushed results.
A smaller proportion of the panel didn’t have as much of a problem with the idea of airbrushing. “I’ve just accepted that it happens…it can be good for people who want to hide scars or tattoos.” (Samantha, Southampton, 23) These panel members acknowledged that airbrushing could have a negative impact on a vulnerable social group like teenage girls. However as adults they felt that they understood that airbrushing wasn’t a real representation of women and therefore found that it didn’t affect them that much. “I’m under no allusion when I look at magazines the women that look so amazing are naturally that amazing.” (Jennifer, Swanscombe, 27)