So I was browsing through facebook and saw this photo of Leighton Meester from the 2012 MTV Movie Awards (left). I don’t usually pay attention to posts like this (celebrity red carpet shows and whatnot) but the inhuman proportions Ms. Meester’s body seemed to be exhibiting elicited a double-take, and therefore interest, from me.
I just couldn’t believe me eyes. I do not have an extensive and comprehensive knowledge of human anatomy but common sense told me that this was just impossible. No one can have a waist that tiny relative to the rest of their body without the aid of external implements. And since I had not heard that Ms. Meester had gotten into corsets or had a few ribs removed, I concluded that this photo could only have gone for a spin through the Wonderful World of Photoshop.
And I was right. I found the original photo of Ms. Meester from the said event (right) and I could not help but feel anger for those who thought it necessary to alter what was already a very flattering shot of Leighton Meester (and she is a beautiful lady) to make her into something that is utterly unattainable by any healthy, natural means. While I understand the merits of post-processing photos for aesthetic purposes, this photo just seemed irresponsible and totally unnecessary. Firstly, this is not an editorial spread or a photo meant to be taken in a generally artistic context. This is coverage of a red-carpet event, ergo, this leans more towards journalism and the accurate portrayal of the truth. That is what makes this photo dangerous. While “artistic photography” (or whatever you call it) can lay claim to some fictive element, this photo cannot. And people know it. The reception therefore is that this photo is the real deal, and ergo, that Ms. Meester really is an anatomical freak. And this reception is evident in the various comments people made on the photo. ”gorgeous”, “shit….sooo sexy”, and “ass ass ass ass ass ass ass ass ass ass ass ass ass ass” are some of the comments to this photo. Of course, there were others who saw through it and called the photo out as a fluke. But nonetheless, it is scary. It is scary that such a photo can be taken as the real thing and can be called out as the ideal form of the woman. And it wasn’t just males commenting on the idealism of this photoshopped image, this photo reached my newsfeed via a female acquaintance.
And that’s what makes me scared. It’s that idealization and expectation that all women, should we want to be affirmed by society for our looks, must attain something utterly unattainable. This is what society expects women to be like and it’s not healthy. Hundreds of young girls use facebook and look up to Ms. Leighton Meester. Imagine if they see this and do not yet have the discrepancy to tell that it is fake. How will they view themselves then? How will the look at their bodies? How will they look at the bodies of their peers? And that’s why I say it’s irresponsible. The people who have done this alteration have nothing on them. There is no consequence on them. They posted a photo and they’re done. But all the while young people everywhere are affected negatively by this photo and Ms. Leighton Meester has the knowledge that her body was used and altered to proliferate this unhealthy ideal.
And finally, just to put this all in perspective: this photo currently has 10,431 likes and 312 shares.
Is anyone else really fucking scared and/or disgusted by this?