July 18, 2007 6:32 AM

Dishonest, unrealistic, and apparently built to stay that way

PHOTOSHOP OF HORRORS: Here’s Our Winner! ‘Redbook’ Shatters Our ‘Faith’ In Well, Not Publishing, But Maybe God

It’s time for the big reveal for our unretouched cover-image contest, and, well, our winner is the July cover of Redbook, on which country singer Faith Hill (and, on a separate cover, her hubby Tim McGraw) appeared, well, as beautiful and accessible-seeming as usual. What’s uncanny about this cover is that when the image was passed our way, we had just been flipping through Redbook, reminding ourselves that we’d stop hating women’s magazines as soon as our lives became shitty enough to warrant reading Redbook and our husbands and immune systems suddenly replaced celebrities and consumerism on our personal Most Toxic lists, when we paused to think, “Wow, Faith Hill is really hot.” We’d had this thought before about Faith Hill, probably in the context of a Revlon display at the CVS or something, but reading this spread in the July Redbook we had one of those moments we often have with Katie Holmes wherein we were like, “Wow. She is just really really really pretty. Although we don’t much like her taste in men.” Anyway, after the jump, we present the before and after of Faith Hill, Redbook magazine, July 2007.

Normally, I wouldn’t give a rat’s @$$ about a woman’s magazine. If you’ve ever looked through one, you’ll understand why. Filled with largely meaningless and unrealistic articles (if you’re male), and consisting largely of glossy advertisements designed to convince women that they can be as beautiful as impossibly drop-dead-gorgeous, skeletal, airbrushed models, the point of the entire exercise is generally lost on me. Then again, I’m not exactly the target demographic, am I?

Some women enjoy this things in the way I enjoy my weekly Sports Illustrated. Nothing wrong with that, eh? So who am I to criticize another’s choice of reading material? Normally I wouldn’t, but this case is a shining example of the worst sort of excesses foisted upon women as the ideal of beauty…and it frankly makes me sick. How many young women end up fighting eating disorders because of this sort of intellectual and physiological dishonesty?

After the jump, check out the before-and-after on Faith Hill. I think you’ll agree with me that something is very definitely wrong here. In fact, play along with me, and see if you can’t spot all the alterations that were made to Hill’s features. I think you’ll agree that the message being sent here (outside of the sheer dishonesty) about feminine beauty is quite disturbing.

Here are the alterations I can see:

  1. The hair has been lightened
  2. The complexion has been softened, and the reddish skin tone has been given creamier texture, particularly in the face, given the impression of a smaller head that blends in more seamlessly with the rest of the features.
  3. The left clavicle has been removed…perhaps to make Hill look fuller and less defined?
  4. The curve of the back between the left shoulder and the neck has been flattened…perhaps to make Hill appear less muscular?
  5. The elbow is much thinner in the retouched picture, and the arm is also much thinner. The arm is almost bird-like, without even the barest hint of definition.
  6. The slight bulge between the left armpit and the top of the dress fabric has been removed.
  7. The “crow’s feet” around both eyes have been removed.
  8. The dimples and crease in the face have been minimized.
  9. The nose is much less pronounced.

The end result is a photograph of a woman who appears to very dainty, very feminine, very smoothly complected- and VERY UNREAL. It’s not like Faith Hill is not a phenomenally-attractive woman to begin with, but she is in her late 30s or early 40s, so she, like anyone who’s reached that age, is not “perfect”. Nevertheless, the airbrushed and photoshopped version of Hill is what graces the July cover of Redbook.

How many young women will look at that cover and think, “That’s what I want to be”?- never mind that the woman on the cover doesn’t actually exist in the form presented. The “new and improved” Faith Hill may be the personification of an outdated and impossible ideal of feminine beauty, but SHE DOESN’T ACTUALLY EXIST.

Of course, in their continuing mission to sell products being foisted upon women by the cosmetics industry, Redbook (which, by the way, is hardly the only offender) must perpetuate an ideal of beauty that is simply unrealistic and unattainable. And young women in this country will continue to suffer the consequences.

Yeah, it really IS all about the Benjamins, isn’t it?

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This page contains a single entry by Jack Cluth published on July 18, 2007 6:32 AM.

So guess who wears the pants in the Vitter family? was the previous entry in this blog.

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