I hope a boggle eats them for Halloween »« Delusional pseudoscientist thinks with his testicles

Comments

  1. says

    Okay. So the hyped-up babe doesn’t even exist. Nice. Just what we need: nonexistent models for young women to futilely aspire to.

  2. tuibguy says

    Am I alone in thinking that the model is more gorgeous than she is depicted in the final product?

  3. jste says

    Zeno, 2:

    Okay. So the hyped-up babe doesn’t even exist. Nice. Just what we need: nonexistent models for young women to futilely aspire to.

    Welcome to every fashion magazine for teenagers for the past 10 years.

    tuibgoy, 3:

    Am I alone in thinking that the model is more gorgeous than she is depicted in the final product?

    Not alone. She looked much more human before they let photoshop out of it’s box. Do people *actually* have obsessions with long necks like that?

  4. jste says

    Er, my apologies for that. There’s a reason someone invented the idea of copy and paste, I’m sure of it!

  5. Greta Christina says

    Wait a minute. Is this an ad for Adobe Photoshop? Are they presenting this as a good thing? “Our technology can make regular beautiful women look like plastic Barbie dolls, and create a standard of beauty that is quite literally impossible to achieve — in less than a minute!”

  6. Lofty says

    3D frint the final image in soft plastic and sell one to each dudebro, get them to shag it until their dicks drop off, real people can then get on with their lives without hindrance. I’m sure there’s a sexual market value for fuckable animatronics.

  7. ck says

    They turned a real person into a plastic person, but if you’re going to do that, why not go all out, and give her ridiculously large eyes, and completely silly body dimensions (instead of merely unusually large eyes and unlikely body dimensions)?

  8. ChasCPeterson says

    Am I alone in thinking that the model is more gorgeous than she is depicted in the final product?

    no, though I wouldn’t use the word ‘gorgeous’.

  9. says

    I’m afraid that photoshop has only automated practices that have existed since the beginning of photography. I bought a copy of The Perfect Portfolio published in 1984 to show my nephews the picture of a model with an art director’s instructions to the retouching tech: trim waste, enlarge breasts, smooth skin, etc.

    Portrait photographers from the 19th century used tiny brushes to get rid of blemishes and warts, leaving the faces with that washed out vacuous look we come to see as characteristic of photographs from that time.

    Photoshop has made it easy so any yabo can do it.

    And the uncanny valley has been making models look scary to me for quite some time already, thank you.

  10. Eric Allen says

    Every now and then, I hear someone lamenting the over-frequent use of photoshop, especially in fashion and “erotic” photography, as if it is a new phenomenon.

    I always figure the person has never seen the centerfolds from the earliest issues of Playboy. They were so blatantly and heavily manipulated, they look like paintings, not photographs. And that’s not to mention older retouched photographs, too. Or the clever photo-retouching job done following the 1906 San Francisco earthquake to hide the extent of the damage prior to the World’s Faire.

    In grad school, I took a class where we learned how to take good photographs of paleontological specimens for publication. The professor expressed bemusement at reviewers who would always demand an answer to the question “have these pictures been photoshoped?” as a strike against them, without understanding just what photoshop is and does. As if adjusting the contrast and sharpness on a black-and-white photograph to highlight a particular anatomical feature invalidated the entire photograph.

    (but that has nothing to do with the hypersexulization and unrealistic representation rife in glamor photography as evidenced by the video subject of this thread–which is ridiculous and need to change in society)

  11. ChasCPeterson says

    You know, in population genetics, there’s this parameter called “reproductive value”. R.A. Fisher coined the term for the age-specific future reproductive success of a female of any species, not (just) humans. I got to wondering whether this SMV bullshit might be a mutated bastard child-concept of that, so I went to ‘kipedia and found this. There’s only one source. Is this an actual thing in legitimate social psychology?

  12. says

    I’d love to see whether the wikipedia article accurately represents what’s in the paper, but they took my library access away 2 days ago *epic whine*

  13. brett says

    I think the model looks best with some make-up, but before the photoshop retouching. But that pretty much applies to everyone – how attractive your appearance is comes partially from what you have, partially from efforts you put into trying to look better, and partially from how you present yourself in terms of confidence and body language. Women, unfortunately, get the heftier burden of that because of sexism.

    Some of the photoshop touching up is pretty grotesque to watch. Partially the leg and neck lengthening, which just look really “ugh” when you see it happen. And what do they have against variations in a person’s skin tone? Not having them makes you look more doll-like than human.

  14. Alex says

    @Daz:

    And the very latest comments under the video:

    xHECKx

    I thought she looked more beautiful before pshop.

    Brian McLaughlin

    You must be an overweight female libtard.

    *sigh*

    I.. I don’t even…
    But I can’t help but feel a bit sorry for Brian. How horrible to be trapped in this screwed-up brain of his for life. Then, maybe one should feel more sorry for the other people in his life.

  15. says

    Much better at the beginning. Much better.

    But, as others have noted, it’s not new. 35 years ago, airbrush artists bragged about which centerfolds they had been responsible for.

  16. sonofrojblake says

    Am I alone in thinking that the model is more gorgeous than she is depicted in the final product?

    You’re not alone. But you are missing the point. She’s not there to look gorgeous. She’s there to sell a product.

    Forget for a moment this bogus “sexual market value” guff, and focus on actual market value, as in, the market value of a photograph. If the photographer could maximise the market value of their product by pointing, clicking, and sending the result straight to the magazine unretouched, they’d do that, every time. Photoshopping is quick and easy, but it’s not instant and it’s not free. The only reason it happens is because after a great deal of testing, magazines and advertisements have worked out what will cause people to part with their money most readily. And bleat as we may that “it’s FAKE!”, that’s demonstrably what people like, even and especially people who are perfectly well aware that it’s going on. Follow the money. Every now and then a fashion brand will make a fuss about using “real women” in its advertising. (Dove did so in the UK a while back.) As a gimmick, it works… for a while. But the fact seems to be that, in general and over the longer term, the thing that sells best is cartoon idealised images. The key is to ensure that we do all understand that’s what they are – cartoons.

  17. ludicrous says

    She’s available over at ‘blowup dollz are us’. The adjustable neck and leg option is not worth the extra cost imo.

  18. says

    Sadly I used to do this sort of thing with an airbrush (you know, using air—from a compressor!).

    I suspect it’s always been that way, now it’s just easier.
    Even before photography: I bet that for every Cromwellian “Warts and all” there have always been herds of “Can you make me look better?”s or “Can you enhance my busts?”s.

    Saw a great example of the latter not so long ago in posters for an Arthurian-ish film.

  19. CompulsoryAccount7746, Sky Captain says

    @jste #5:

    Do people *actually* have obsessions with long necks like that?

    Article: Wikipedia – Neck Ring
     
     
    XKCD had another idea for body modification…

    Thread: Forum chatter about the “Giraffes” comic, mentions Penny Arcade’s “Savannah Heat”.

  20. nuclearwheelchair says

    The photoshoppers have basically made her look like a slim, fresh-faced adolescent girl because that’s the most attractive. Think about it, would they need to shop this picture of 13yo Ryan Newman?

    http://img.ie/c3nn1.jpg

  21. sirbedevere says

    Good news: Photoshop hasn’t made it so easy “any yabo can do it”. I know because I teach Photoshop in college. <grin>
    Bad news: Photoshop has made it easy enough that too many yabos can do it. What’s more, they do do it and that’s because people pay them to do it. Which is because there’s a demand for it.

    The example above is far from the worst out there, though. Have a look, via the Wayback Machine at archive.org, of the notorious (and award-winning!) Becky Carter web site: https://web.archive.org/web/20050722002251/http://beckycarter.com/
    I show this to my students to put them off the idea of Photoshop glamour treatments. It’s actually pretty effective.

  22. nuclearwheelchair says

    Daz: “How do you know this (the emphasised part) to be true?”

    Haven’t you noticed that girls are at the most attractive in their adolescent years? Haven’t you noticed their cute, fresh faces, bright eyes, perky boobs, soft smooth skin and tight bodies?

    Are you honestly saying you haven’t noticed any of this?

  23. says

    create a standard of beauty that is quite literally impossible to achieve

    I’ve always been fascinated by this. It seems to me that what will eventually happen is that people will realize that every hollywoodized image is cleverly manipulated, and stop taking them seriously. I mean, are there really people who believe that such and such a car can do zero to whatever in the amount of time the manufacturer claims? Obviously, the manufacturer wouldn’t claim it if there weren’t a few suckers who were going to fall for it, but it seems like it ought to be pretty obvious that the marketing number is a lie – just like it ought to be pretty obvious that a slick, highly produced image does not represent how a real person looks. And, more to the point, why does someone look at one of those images and imagine that they might look like that – or why would they even want to? A look in the mirror ought to show how we look and what we can change is pretty minimal.

    Hurrell, the famous Hollywood portraitist, used to manipulate his 8×10 negatives by using fine lead pencil marks to alter the way it printed. And the clever use of light to shape and highlight also goes a long way to create a striking scene – Horst’s famous portrait of Marlene Dietrich gets its impact from the shadow-lines created on her cheekbones by tricky downward-angled lighting. It’s all manipulated. Manipulation is normal in images; wasn’t that why Vermeer’s paintings are so popular and Goya’s portraits so provocative (by rendering people as they really look)? Are there people who think that Yosemite looks like an Ansel Adams photo, too? Hint: it’s not black and white and small and two dimensional.

    I know I feel the way I do about this because I spend a lot of time creating and editing photos, but I’ve never been able to understand why anyone looks at a photo and assumes that they should look like the people in the photo. That’s really absurd, if you think about it for a second. The argument seems to be that people look at a beautiful artwork and feel bad about themselves because they don’t look like the person represented in the beautiful artwork. But do they really do that? The difference between those artifacts and potential realities is so large that it’d be as nonsensical as my being annoyed that I don’t look like the character I play in World of Warcraft (which would be pretty far out since I bear little resemblance to a 700-lb bull tauren) I suppose there must be mountains of evidence that this kind of distress actually occurs, but which way does the causality run? Does someone see a highly manipulated photo and then start suffering from body dysmorphia, or are they already primed to suffer from dysmorphia and the photo is simply a trigger that could just as easily be a Vermeer painting?

  24. CompulsoryAccount7746, Sky Captain says

    @PZ Myers #18:

    The neck thing? The leg stretching? I’m thinking hyperstimulus.

    Video: V.S. Ramachandran speculating about aesthetic universals, with examples of Hindu art
     
     
    * He mentions ‘hyperbole’ a 28:35

  25. sirbedevere says

    richardelguru #33: “should have come with a warning.”

    It puts college students off and you needed more warning?

    Seriously, it is a thoroughly creepy site. (It gets creepier the more you look at it: notice that she seems to have just one or two sets of eyes that she grafts onto every image?) It went off line pretty much as soon as the link started getting passed around the photography community 6 or so years ago. As overdone as the Photoshoppery is, the most disturbing thing to me is the application of these techniques to the child beauty contest kids on the site. Words fail me…

  26. birgerjohansson says

    We have found the protagonist robot from Charles Stross´ “Saturn’s Children”.
    Kryten looks more human.

  27. karmacat says

    It is a fake woman for fake manly men. any man who insists that he is manly is obviously overcompensating for shortcomings. The point that people forget is that a person’s personality and confidence can affect their attractiveness. The more you like a person, the more attractive that person becomes. Most men and women want someone real. the ones who are insecure about their own image tend to focus on more on appearance and youth than on personality. (yes, I am talking to you, “nuclear wheelchair.”)

  28. amenhotepstein says

    As far as I can tell, this shows no more than the power of good makeup, hairstyling and lighting. The professional photoshoot this is based off of ends at the 0:10 mark. There’s NO EVIDENCE that anything after that is any more then some techy guy on YouTube (Try10000time) playing with Photoshop.

    A Google image search with the retouched model’s photo doesn’t get any hits in fashion industry magazines, websites or videos. There’s no evidence that this is anything more than some guy showing what you CAN do with Photoshop.

    With everything that the fashion industry REALLY does to body-shame young women and screw with their self-image for profits, please focus your outrage on something that REALLY happens!

    Start with this: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3349041/

  29. leftwingfox says

    @Greta: It’s not an official ad, as far as I can tell.

    I’ll just continue to use Photoshop for it’s far more noble purpose:

    Painting furry porn.

  30. says

    nuclearwheelchair #34

    Haven’t you noticed that girls are at the most attractive in their adolescent years? Haven’t you noticed their cute, fresh faces, bright eyes, perky boobs, soft smooth skin and tight bodies?

    Are you honestly saying you haven’t noticed any of this?

    Yes I am saying I haven’t noticed any of this.

    I’ll ask again. How do you know this to be true?

  31. sonofrojblake says

    what will eventually happen is that people will realize that every hollywoodized image is cleverly manipulated, and stop taking them seriously

    It is my contention that this has already happened.

  32. Chie Satonaka says

    Sorry, just watched the video again and can’t believe I didn’t note the skin whitening. Because THAT’S obviously an evolutionarily hardwired beauty truth, right nuclearwheelchair?

  33. Sastra says

    I think the whole idea of a “sexual market value” forgets that the “market” is a big one. Even if they’re right about people preferring the heavily made-up, photoshopped images on a scale of “sexiness” that’s not necessarily what attracts one person to another. I read somewhere (can’t remember where) that a study suggested that the MOST important quality men looked for in women was the same quality that women looked for in men: does s/he look as if they’d enjoy my company as much as I’d enjoy theirs? Are they not only approachable, but do they seem as if they’re specifically hoping that you are? In real life, my guess is that this wins out for men over the perfect centerfolds models.

    Most people I think end up with someone who is more or less as ‘attractive’ as they are. And they’re fine with that.

    One of the most popular features in “women’s magazines” is the before-and-after makeover. And most every woman who has looked at some of these has probably thought at least once “she looked better before.” My own criteria as a female tends to run along the lines of whether or not she looks like someone I could conceivably be friends with. Which is similar to the criteria above.

  34. nuclearwheelchair says

    @Daz #45:

    Yes I am saying I haven’t noticed any of this.

    I’ll ask again. How do you know this to be true?

    Really? You haven’t noticed?

    I’ll tell you what, next time you go to the beach have a look at the women and see who’s the most attractive: The perky, young, fresh adolescent ones or the older dull-faced, saggy ones.

  35. Jackie teh kitteh cuddler says

    nuclearwheelchair,

    You find adolescent, rather than adult women attractive and spend alot of time ogling them?
    Yuck!
    The 13 yr old you mention? She’s a kid.
    I’m seriously wondering if you are legally required to stay away from schools.

  36. nuclearwheelchair says

    Daz #52:

    Although individual men may have personal preferences, judging by the popularity of the pert, young adolescent image in the sex industries it’s clear that that is where most men’s preferences lie. In this sense, adolescent girls are objectively the most attractive. It’s not complicated.

  37. lindsay says

    I was told by someone that works for a fashion magazine that up to ten hours can be spent Photoshopping just the model’s hair.

  38. says

    nuclearwheelchair #55

    Although individual men may have personal preferences, judging by the popularity of the pert, young adolescent image in the sex industries it’s clear that that is where most men’s preferences lie. In this sense, adolescent girls are objectively the most attractive. It’s not complicated.

    Can you link to studies of this, or do we just go by your personal taste in films you like to wank over?

  39. amenhotepstein says

    @ Kevin #53:

    No, I’m not saying that. Here’s what I actually said:

    With everything that the fashion industry REALLY does to body-shame young women and screw with their self-image for profits, please focus your outrage on something that REALLY happens!

    If you follow my link, you’ll see real scholarly evidence for the harm this is doing. All I’m against is manufacturing outrage against a faux-photoshop YouTube video while the REAL perpetrators get away scot-free

  40. nuclearwheelchair says

    Jackie #53:

    Look at it this way: Do you think you’re more attractive than her????

  41. Jackie teh kitteh cuddler says

    It is illegal to have adolescents in the sex industry. What sort of creepy kiddie porn are you watching?

    I don’t think you even know what “objectively” or “complicated” means.

    You’re truly a noxious little troll.

  42. awakeinmo says

    This makes me wonder what the models think of all this. Do they have reservations about putting such finished photos in their books? If a client sees the tweaked version, do they expect the model to look very much like that in person?

  43. says

    @amenhotepstein:

    The faux-Photoshop YouTube is indicative of the problem as a whole. Women and girls are given this view of an ideal, of a perfection to attain, and it’s fake and impossible. They damage themselves trying to be “attractive” while destroying everything that actually makes people attractive.

  44. Jackie teh kitteh cuddler says

    nuclearwheelchair #60,

    Eww. Am I more sexually attractive to a grown ass adult than a pretty child? Yes. Hands down. If you find yourself wanting to ogle kids, you need to get help. It isn’t normal or healthy and the only reason you are desperate for other men to agree with you is that you know your sick.

  45. Ogvorbis: Apologies Available for All! says

    nuclearwheelchair @55:

    Although individual men may have personal preferences, judging by the popularity of the pert, young adolescent image in the sex industries it’s clear that that is where most men’s preferences lie.

    So you prefer child pornography. Interesting.

    And really, really sick.

  46. nuclearwheelchair says

    Daz 57#:

    You don’t need a fucking scientific study to establish this, just take a look at what sells the most in the sex industries: Teens, Schoolgirls, Jailbait etc. Did you know that the most popular most requested stripper theme is the adolescent schoolgirl in which the stripper pretends to be about 14? I mean, it’s pretty clear what most men want, it can’t really be made any more obvious than that…

  47. Chie Satonaka says

    Did you know that the most popular most requested stripper theme is the adolescent schoolgirl in which the stripper pretends to be about 14? I mean, it’s pretty clear what most men want, it can’t really be made any more obvious than that…

    Appeal to nature fallacy. You’re ignoring the influence that culture has on sexual mores and desires and pretending it’s all “natural” and furthermore, you are pretending that because it is “natural” it must be “good” and justified.

  48. says

    You don’t need a fucking scientific study to establish this

    KERCHIIIIING!!!

    So you have no figures, just your own personal observation.

    just take a look at what sells the most in the sex industries: Teens, Schoolgirls, Jailbait etc.

    Jailbait? Really? What sites are you visiting, Pervy Boy? They need reporting to the proper authorites, as do you if you’re admitting to looking at such material. Oh, and you appear to have missed the quite popular legal category, “mature,” whilst admitting to your jailbait obsession.

    Your argument, basically, is “here’s what pervs look at, therefore all men look at it.”

    I’m putting an alert up for PZ regarding your admissions.

  49. nuclearwheelchair says

    Jackie #65:

    LOL you honestly think you’re more attractive that an adolescent girl with perky boobs, a fresh face and a tight, pristine body. And you claim I’m the one who needs help. FUCKING LOL.

  50. Ogvorbis: Apologies Available for All! says

    I mean, it’s pretty clear what most men want, it can’t really be made any more obvious than that…

    No, nuclearwheelchair, that shows, possibly, the preferences of a small and self-selected group of men. Again, where are your studies that back up this predilection for child pornography?

  51. a_ray_in_dilbert_space says

    nuclearwheelchair brings up a question I wonder about. Why do imbecilic trolls feel the need to laugh at their own trolling in their own frigging posts? Is it that they don’t think their trolling is obvious enough?

  52. Gregory Greenwood says

    nuclearwheelchair @ 55;

    Although individual men may have personal preferences, judging by the popularity of the pert, young adolescent image in the sex industries it’s clear that that is where most men’s preferences lie.

    Why do you assume that what you assert are common tropes within certain forms of pornographic material in any way reflect the broader sexual tastes of ‘most’ men? Still less that this is any basis on which to determine a supposedly ‘objective’ scale of attractiveness*? As Jackie teh kitteh cuddler observes @ 61, it is illegal to feature adolescents in the sex industry, so what you are describing seems to fall more into the purview of illegal and ethically repellant child pornography, rather than any kind of measure of a ‘mainstream’ feminine ideal. I find it unlikely that ‘most men’ are attracted to pre-pubescent children as you seem to be suggesting with your post @ 29.

    In this sense, adolescent girls are objectively the most attractive.

    Citation needed. And hold the creepiness.

    It’s not complicated.

    Given the fact that you are describing the fundamentally subjective value of attractiveness as if it can be quantified objectively**, then perhaps you are not in the best position to judge the complexity of the issue.

    ———————————————————————————————————————-

    * As an exmple, what about lesbian perspectives on the attractiveness of women? Do you determine that by supposed trends in pornography as well? Or don’t lesbian and bisexual women count when determining ‘objective’ attractiveness?

    ** That is afterall a culturally determined concept that has shows great variability between differing societies and over the passage of time, as can be seen from the rise of lead based pale makeup in the Victorian era that runs almost exactly opposite to modern tropes of an attractive complexion. Not to mention that individual judgement of ‘attractiveness’ clearly varies from person to person.

  53. sirbedevere says

    There are a couple of startling things about the Photoshopping phenomenon:

    How widespread it it (it’s pretty much universal in magazine covers, at least in the fashion world).

    How surprised my students are when they find out. Think about it – these college freshmen were born after Photoshop was invented. They’ve grown up with it all their lives and are at least interested enough in it to take a college course on Photoshop. Yet they’re astonished at what can be done and how universal it is. Most have no idea they’re being deceived the way they are.

    Last year Israel made it mandatory for publications to disclose when models have been digitally edited to appear thinner than they are. (http://news.cnet.com/8301-27083_3-57401835-247/no-more-photoshopping-models-without-disclosure-in-israel/) I believe France was considering a more general law about disclosing Photoshop manipulation. Don’t know if it’s been enacted yet.

    Go to YouTube, search on portrait retouching and watch a few videos.

  54. Jackie teh kitteh cuddler says

    It’s funny that people would even believe in one certain kind of attractiveness. Twice recently I’ve had a friend comment on all the good looking guys around us, only for me to answer, “Where?” Different things are attractive to different people. What catches one person’s interest may not even be noticeable to another.

  55. Ogvorbis: Apologies Available for All! says

    a_ray_in_dilbert_space @76:

    Why do imbecilic trolls feel the need to laugh at their own trolling in their own frigging posts?

    I suspect (and this is totally a personal observation) that they are much like the bullies of elementary and junior/senior high school who not only tormented people, said things that they knew would hurt people, but would also laugh their asses off when people either tried to counter their absurdities or took them seriously. I think people like nuclearwheelchair feel like superior life forms as they are able to get a reaction and get people to actually try to counter the bullshit rationally. Probably wrong, but it has that feel — a bully trying to bait ‘victims’ into reacting and then laughing when they do.

  56. Jackie teh kitteh cuddler says

    “Morans”
    LOL, indeed.
    BTW, the definition of moron is: a term for a person with the mental age of an 8-12 year old. That’s an interesting taught for a person who is attracted to pubescent juveniles.

  57. mnb0 says

    @3 Tuibguy: No, you’re not alone. The end product (what else should I call it?) is less human. Like GC @9 wrote: “plastic Barbie dolls”, which I associate with plastic sex.
    Brrr.

  58. says

    Christ, nuclearwheelchair, you are creepy. What next? Are you going to tell us that hairless pubes are teh sexxy?

    Nuclearwheelchair: Gone.

  59. monad says

    @41: of course since this will be a photograph, the only way personality can come across at all is by expression and posture, both of which are pretty blank.

    I wonder if this isn’t maybe part of the disconnect between what they are doing and what people are attracted to, though. That is to say this isn’t necessarily supposed to be attractive to the market in general, but that people who prefer women with human proportions and some level of mental activity aren’t necessarily the ones whose purchases will be swayed by a 2-D photo.

    Of course the negative consequences for women and society in general are as everyone’s described…just wondering how much they come from the market playing to an easily swayed audience, or how much they assume this is what everyone must surely want.

  60. a_ray_in_dilbert_space says

    Ogvorbis,
    And like most bullies, they are basically cowards who try to make themselves feel bigger.

  61. ChasCPeterson says

    I can’t help picturing nuclearwheelchair masturbating furiously while typing the words ‘pert’ and ‘perky’ over and over.

  62. left0ver1under says

    I was looking for one quote when I ran across another by the same person:

    “Changes made to please others are unrealistic, but more important, they’re unfair to you.”

    - Martina Navratilova

    I can’t find the other quote I was looking for. Navratilova said something like “The thing about sports versus modeling or movies is that you can’t fake it. You have to be able to do it.”

    It’s not just sports, it applies to relationships and attraction too. Fakery may impress, but reality means being with real people and regular body types. If you can’t be attracted to someone with a normal body, you’re going to be spending a lot of time alone…and probably with those photoshopped pictures as your only company.

  63. A. Noyd says

    Marcus Ranum (#37)

    I’ve never been able to understand why anyone looks at a photo and assumes that they should look like the people in the photo.

    Because, if they’re women, they’re constantly told they should!

    These images don’t exist in a vacuum, they exist in the context of a culture that does not value natural, realistic appearances in women and, at the same time, holds up appearance as one of the most important things about a woman. Consider also that there aren’t really any non-retouched, non-idealized images of women in the media. So it’s not like women are coming across these images here and there, like one might come across a particular style of MMO avatar (out of several in-game alternatives), but that we’re inundated, without exception, wherever we go and in whatever activities or interests we choose.

    How can that not affect our sense of how we should look?

  64. Jackie teh kitteh cuddler says

    Dammit, Chas.

    For some reason I immediately imagined that taking place in the lobby of the Overlook Hotel. Maybe because tomorrow is Halloween?
    Oh, my poor brain. Soooo wroooong.

  65. says

    I’m sure capitalists will say it’s what the market will bear. If people didn’t respond, purchase, based on this shit it wouldn’t be around. Yet, on a food level, love of sugar and fat-sugar combinations may have some salience when such things were rare, compounds the idea of ideal as attainable. In a virtual capitalistic world there are no boundaries–everyone can be the fat buddha and have it all without anything. What then when the electricity goes out? Oh yeah, nuclear power, made safe, like fracking. Odd that virtual satisfaction does work. Look I’m here talking to a damned screen instead of out there doing something because it’s better than the alternative, out there, or working. Making money by virtual reality, what used to be called idealism (world as idea). Kinesthetic satisfaction by typing instead of actually making something. An economy of virtual tactility. Who are we to talk. We fake pretty, unreal words and call them real worlds. Sorry, disgusted, yet strangely aroused and isn’t that how it works whether it’s philosophy or esthetics. An economy of virtual existence.

  66. Jackie teh kitteh cuddler says

    A. Noyd #91,

    Yes to everything you wrote.

    left0ver1under,

    Exactly. Meanwhile, do they think attraction for someone ends when his or her hair goes gray or falls out all together? Do they think that love and lust disappear when your lover gets a few new lines in their face or scars on their body? I’d hate to be so shallow. My husband and I are well aware of what the future holds for us and it isn’t all pretty. There will be disease, decrepitude and death, unless death comes first and cancels out the rest. His hand will be the one I hold when I go in for surgery in years to come and vice versa. Love and attraction exist in a real world, with real people, not on the glossy pages of a magazine. A friend and lover is not an object to wank to. MRAs seem to believe that women leave them looking for more money. I’d say it’s far more likely that they leave them because they are looking for real love and lasting pleasure with a person possessing some self-awareness and depth.

  67. digibud says

    Sirbedever is correct. I am a portrait photographer and do this kind of thing on a regular basis. People know their portrait can look better than they really do so we are regularly asked about “touch ups”, which means dropping 30lb and taking off 20 years. It’s part of the pricing for most portrait and wedding photographers. I’ve -never- had a client compare the photoshopped final to the original and choose to go with reality. Not once.

  68. says

    richardelguru

    Even before photography: I bet that for every Cromwellian “Warts and all” there have always been herds of “Can you make me look better?”s or “Can you enhance my busts?”s.

    Oh hell yes. That was pretty much the standard, which is why Cromwell’s ‘warts and all’ portrayal is considered notable.
    lindsay

    I was told by someone that works for a fashion magazine that up to ten hours can be spent Photoshopping just the model’s hair.

    Not surprising. Hair’s all kinds of hard to get right (i.e. make the manipulated image look like actual hair)

  69. Jackie teh kitteh cuddler says

    digibud,
    Isn’t that sad? I can’t imagine people not feeling presentable enough to be in their own wedding photos as they are.
    ..and who do they think they’re fooling? Everyone who attended the wedding knows you didn’t really look like that on your wedding day.

  70. says

    Because, if they’re women, they’re constantly told they should!

    Well, actually, everyone is constantly being “told” they should smoke, or drink, or conspicuously consume, or whatever. Are you saying there is some reason it works disproportionately well on women?

  71. brett says

    I can totally buy that young folks would, in the absence of knowledge that the models have been photo-shopped, simply take it as the standard of beauty that they are held to. They’re susceptible to that kind of stuff.

    I mean, just look at those stupid Axe Body Spray commercials where using it gets you the attention of sexy women. You think, “Oh come on, nobody is stupid enough to seriously think that the body spray is going to make you super-attractive”, yet apparently teenage boys do and lather themselves with it.

  72. Sproings says

    @ 98
    Marcus Ranum,
    It’s not just advertising that ‘tells’ women how they should look, though. It’s the people in their lives, too. Just check out how often there are advice column questions asking ‘how do I tell my aunt she needs to dye her hair?’ or ‘how do I tell my co-worker she needs to wear better make-up?’ I don’t have data, but it does seem disproportionately women who are approached this way.

  73. monad says

    @ Marcus Ranum #98:
    How about saying that it works differently when it’s the one company saying you should by their product, and everyone implicitly presenting some way you should be, even when it’s not something they sell?
    Pepsi and Budweiser don’t ask you to drink the same things, but both advertize similar ideas of what an attractive woman should look like.

  74. says

    No doubt nuclearpoweredwheechair is off whining someplace about mean ole PC PZ banning him.

    He claimed that the teenage girl look is the most popular one, but of course he meant a specific kind of look. I doubt he’d be interested in a girl if she didn’t have a certain body mass, or a minimum bust size, or a certain kind of facial features.

  75. Greta Christina says

    I’m afraid that photoshop has only automated practices that have existed since the beginning of photography

    sadunlap @ #14 (and others saying similar things): To a great extent that’s true. But there’s a difference of degree with these Photoshop techniques, and it’s not trivial. There’s a difference between airbrushing a photo to make a model’s skin look smoother, and radically distorting the entire structure of her body.

    I’ve always been fascinated by this. It seems to me that what will eventually happen is that people will realize that every hollywoodized image is cleverly manipulated, and stop taking them seriously. I mean, are there really people who believe that such and such a car can do zero to whatever in the amount of time the manufacturer claims?

    Marcus Ranum @ #37: Even if you know, intellectually, that the photos you see everywhere represent an idealized image of beauty that’s rigidly narrow at best and literally unattainable at worst… the images still have an emotional and psychological effect. Especially when, as A. Noyd said @ #91, the media is saturated with these images, and we’re constantly bombarded with them. It helps somewhat to be armed with this knowledge — that’s the reason people are talking about this stuff — but you can have the knowledge, and still be gripped with self-hatred when you look in the mirror, be filled with anxiety and self-doubt when you’re on a date, leave clothing stores in tears because nothing you try on makes you feel beautiful or even presentable. There are many women who won’t have sex in certain positions, because they’re afraid it’ll make them look fat or won’t show their body off to its best advantage. That kind of self-consciousness can be crippling.

    Well, actually, everyone is constantly being “told” they should smoke, or drink, or conspicuously consume, or whatever. Are you saying there is some reason it works disproportionately well on women?

    Marcus Ranum @ #98: And that’s messed up, too. It’s not good for anyone to be bombarded with a relentless campaign of unattainable ideals, with false promises about what you have to buy in order to reach them. It affects women, and men, and people who don’t identify on a gender binary, when it comes to gender roles: the idea that you’ll be more of a man if you smoke cigarettes, drink beer, drive trucks, own lots of consumer electronics, etc., is no fun either. And it affects all people when it comes to ideals of life generally. But right now, we’re talking about this one.

  76. A. Noyd says

    Marcus Ranum (#98)

    Are you saying there is some reason it works disproportionately well on women?

    I’m saying the messages about living up to an unattainable ideal are, for women, disproportionately loud, widespread, reinforced and singular. Also, while men are to a large extent idealized in the media, they’re idealized as subjects. Men are doers-of-things who can pick different ways to be idealized: smart, funny, handsome, athletic, analytical, skilled at any number of activities, etc. Women, on the other hand, are idealized as objects. We have to be attractive, no matter what, because we’re for looking at. Whatever else we can do takes second place to that.

    So yeah, “it” works disproportionately well on women because “it” is different for women than it is for men.

  77. Jackie teh kitteh cuddler says

    Marcus,
    If you missed that society tells women they must be beautiful to have any value at all and that the standard of beauty they must attain is impossible then maybe it’s because you aren’t the one those messages are aimed at. Remember, they can’t sell you something to fix you if you don’t believe you are broken. It isn’t that women are more susceptible to advertising it is that we are constantly advertised to and the message we are being sent from the cradle onward is that we are not OK. In particular, we need to do something about our imperfect appearance if we’re ever to be appreciated by other humans at all. If you have kids of different genders you will notice that people will compliment your daughter by telling her she is pretty. Boys are not only not told they are “pretty”, their looks are seldom commented on at all. He will be told he is smart, strong or polite. Telling a little boy he is “pretty” is considered an insult. Already he’s getting the message that he does things. She is getting the message that she is something to look at. Boys get chemistry sets. Girls get cosmetic sets. Boys dress-up clothes are super heroes and cowboys. Girls are princesses and fairies whose main job seems to be being pretty. The double standard is easy to see. We are trained that the best thing to be is the fairest of them all. It’s in beauty pageants, on our TVs and in every fairy tale. The prince get’s to be charming. The princess? She’s pretty. If she’s pretty enough, some charming prince will do great acts of daring to rescue her. Otherwise, I guess she’s an ugly stepsister or a wicked hag. Women have insecurity about their looks trained into them. That insecurity feeds the diet and cosmetic industries. I find it baffling that you haven’t noticed it by now.

  78. Esteleth, statistically significant to p ≤ 0.001 says

    Media (writ large) can have a powerful effect on people’s perceptions.

    Let’s take porn as an example.

    Generally speaking (there are, of course, exceptions), female porn actors tend to be young, with large breasts and with hairless pubic areas. Male porn actors tend to have a large penis-to-body-mass ratio. Porn performances generally are male-gaze centric and feature angles and techniques that make filming easy.

    In today’s “can’t tell kids the truth about sex, except that it is icky and gross and nasty so you gotta save it for the person you love the most” world, where to young people lean about sex? Frequently, porn.

    Unless they have parents or peers who make a deliberate effort to teach them different messages, young people look at porn as typical. They look at porn as an instruction guide to sex. This is both good and bad, but I cannot tell you how many times I’ve heard people (usually women) laughing or cringing about something their partner did in bed that they (usually he) saw in porn and thought (wrongly) would be neat to try. The rise of the hairless pubis in adult women who do not work in porn has been accredited to the influence of porn. As has the rise in the practice of anal by male/female couples.

    If porn can have that sort of influence on what people do in bed, do you really think that photoshopping of model’s images doesn’t have a massive effect on what women – and pubescent girls, who are being buffeted by all manner of pressures already – think is “normal”? What they “should” look like? What is achievable?

  79. sirbedevere says

    Greta Christina #104 is absolutely correct: Photoshop and computing power together have fundamentally changed what can be done to photographs. And whereas there was only one George Hurrell (and perhaps a handful of others with similar skills) we now have thousands of people with the necessary skills and widespread availability of the hardware/software required to do it. And enormous pressure from both employers/editors and customers/consumers to perform this kind of image manipulation.

    The people who ask to have their own portraits don’t think of it in terms of distorting reality, they just want their portraits to look like what the perceive as the current standard. And what creates the idea of this standard representation goes way beyond advertising.

    Here’s a mind-bender (to me, anyway): One of the participants in a photo workshop I was teaching told me she had recently attended a Photoshop workshop taught by one of the image treatment experts (what is the correct job title for this work?) who works for Victoria’s Secret. Everything in their catalog is fake. No surprise, right? The models are photographed wearing only white garments, for the most part. The color is Photoshopped in later because the photos are taken before the colors to be marketed are decided upon. A little surprising but not shocking. This is what floored me: According to her, there are only 6 (six) bellybuttons in the entire Victoria’s Secret catalogue. They have a stock collection of six bellybuttons, one of which is Photoshopped into every final shot. (I would have liked to ask if that’s 6 bellybutton photos or 6 bellybuttons, each photographed from different angles.) If you frequent Photoshop Disasters you’ll find disasters from several sources (not Victoria’s Secret that I’ve noticed yet) of hilarious model shots in which the bellybutton has been removed. Now you know how it happened: the artist just forgot to add the replacement after removing the real bellybutton.

    How messed up is it that they (well, we, as a society) obsess to this extent?

  80. Trebuchet says

    Oh, I see the troll is back as a sock! (Currently at 104, I expect it’ll be gone soon.)

    Meanwhile, probably as a result of this post, I’m getting ads on FTB for Photoshop and similar products!

  81. Trebuchet says

    Dang, that should have been at 109, not 104. Sorry, Greta. Loving the cat pix by the way.

  82. says

    I wonder what PZ would say about these two graphs about women’s sexual value?

    Here’s what I say: only fuckwitted misogynist losers could even conceive of the idea of charting the fictitious concept of “women’s sexual value” onto a graph.

  83. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    I suppose he’d dismiss them as evopsych junk but I’ll try to explain.

    Your explanation is evo-psych evidenceless presuppositions, and is therefore dismissed without evidence. You want your OPINION validated, try real research found at http://scholar.google.com

  84. says

    Are you saying there is some reason it works disproportionately well on women?

    Why are you parroting the very common misunderstanding/deliberate lie of misogynists, Marcus? Every time we point out that X is aimed disproportionately at women and it affects us, their disingenuous response is, “You think women are WEAK?? You’re saying women can’t HANDLE X????”

    You should ask yourself why you were sounding like a misogynist for a minute there.

  85. chigau (違う) says

    atomiczimmerframe
    If you knew anything about the girls of St. Trinian’s, you’d be fleeing in terror.
    They would tear you to bloody gobbets.

  86. says

    Marcus Ranum
    Because it’s a brilliant and fitting video
    Ask among your female friends how many of them have been asked if they are sick when actually they weren’t wearing make-up.
    Yes, that’s right. The way we look just naturally is often cause for people being all worried about as because we’re looking sick…

  87. Jackie teh kitteh cuddler says

    atomicpedopuppet,

    I love it when you dimwits think you’re gonna teach PZ a thing or two about evolution. It’s almost as funny as when you give him relationship “advice”.

  88. theoreticalgrrrl says

    @timgueguen

    Nuclearwheelchair kept using words like “fresh” and “pristine.” I think the idea that sexual experience makes women dirty and “used” has a lot to do with the attraction some men have to adolescent/pubescent girls. I remember seeing an episode of “To Catch A Predator” where one of the men, when confronted by the newsman asking why he would come to the home of a 14 year old to have sex, the man said “I’ve heard it’s the cleanest sex you can have.”

    I have very big eyes and I’m kind of a baby-faced, so I get confused for being much younger all the time. The guys who hit on me because they think I’m a teenager are the absolutely the creepiest.

  89. Jackie teh kitteh cuddler says

    theoreticalgrrrl,

    Nuclearwheelchair kept using words like “fresh” and “pristine.” I think the idea that sexual experience makes women dirty and “used” has a lot to do with the attraction some men have to adolescent/pubescent girls.

    I agree. Taken a step further is that fascinating place where MRA misogyny meets with MRA misandry. Think about what makes those women “dirty”. It’s sexual contact with men. The more men, the more she likes it and the more often, the more dirty this mindset decides women are. The virgin is pristine and pure until she’s ruined (an actual term that has been applied to sexually active women) by what exactly? By touching and being intimate with a man. How fucked up and self hating is that?
    Bleh.

  90. Lofty says

    Jackie @ 97

    Isn’t that sad? I can’t imagine people not feeling presentable enough to be in their own wedding photos as they are.
    ..and who do they think they’re fooling? Everyone who attended the wedding knows you didn’t really look like that on your wedding day.

    I doubt that many people accurately remember the actual wedding participants for long. Pictures are what they look at to reinforce/modify their memories. Albums of photos are collected to show how a wedding “really was”. With the advent of smartphones I suspect that the best selling app will be an auto photoshop for all your friends so you don’t have too look in their wrinkled faces. JPG files already average out colours to remove small blemishes.
    “With this thank you note I am sending a picture of what I would like to be remembered like. Please modify your memories accordingly. Thanks for coming!”

  91. Jackie teh kitteh cuddler says

    “With this thank you note I am sending a picture of what I would like to be remembered like. Please modify your memories accordingly. Thanks for coming!”

    Considering how often weddings have open bars and DJ’s, maybe everyone should send out those cards. ;)

  92. says

    I agree. Taken a step further is that fascinating place where MRA misogyny meets with MRA misandry. Think about what makes those women “dirty”. It’s sexual contact with men. The more men, the more she likes it and the more often, the more dirty this mindset decides women are. The virgin is pristine and pure until she’s ruined (an actual term that has been applied to sexually active women) by what exactly? By touching and being intimate with a man. How fucked up and self hating is that?

    It’s because they had to share with another penis and don’t claim full ownership

  93. says

    It also means that any act of sex for them is inherently aggressive and sadistic because they are ‘ruining’ the woman. Sex for PUA and MRA isn’t just a thing to be had, it is an attack. The pump and dump mentaltity they promote. Sluts are to be hated and rejected as garbage, and their goal is to turn women into sluts.

  94. says

    Picking through the ash and dust as the stupidity of the sexual market chat moves on to photoshop but..evo psych smash.

    For a start, the stuff about a woman’s fertility plopping at 30 is based on information collected from over 300 years ago in pre Revolutionary France.

    This is when poorer women were often too hungry to have such things as babies and menstrual cycles and aren’t really troubling the conception surveys much.
    But richer ones, with the better nutrition and the whet nurses, basically ended up playing Russian Roulette with fatal gynaecological complications. Easier to get pregnant, easier to die from it in a time before surgery, painkillers or even plumbing. Dying young happened a lot, but with pregnancy, risk stacked on top of risk until dying young from attempting to provide someone to inherit the manor was quite painfully normal, see all the goddamn “Evil Stepmothers” for more information.
    The women over 30 are missing from the survey because they’ve mostly already died a’childbed, not the fuck-damn stupid wrong evo-psych reasons about peak fertility.

    (However, I suppose the costly, silent and highly stylised portraits of these women who died delivering heirs before they could become “ugly”, old and demanding of better, definitely feed into this idealised photoshop mess.)

    Then there’s the stuff about gestation being limited not so much by pelvises or baby skulls but by the mother’s own metabolism. 9 months is the limit because the body simply cannot support the effort for any longer than that. This might be why the well fed mothers of 18th century France kept dying in labour, system overload and all.
    But anyway, teenager’s bodies are all over place. Their metabolism’s already busy keeping up with the growth spurts, finding new and exciting places to lay down fat deposits and so forth. They’re a long way off the stable ideal and if you’re trying to gestate something in one, it’d be like trying to build a house on an active fault line.

    So bad luck atomiczimmerframe, your chances of reproduction from that strategy…really not so good. Plus your sensitive nads being hung on the outside and a tendency to fall asleep after ejaculating into, in your case, moody teenagers and cranky, hungry women with depleted fat deposits who still know how to work the pointy rocks and think you’re kinda despicable… dude, you will fail at reproduction on so many counts.

    Back to Atheism…it’s fun how all the old painted naked, sorry “nude” women in galleries are fertility goddesses or women er…”touched” by gods. Fleshy some may be but they’re still depicting entirely fictional women who’ve never, ever existed.

  95. feministdalek says

    Hmm. I got married not so many years ago; now I’m wondering if our photographer touched up some of our photos in the “remove blemishes/soften complexion” sort of way. Many have filters, but that’s in addition to a separate raw file. I’ll have to check that out.

    I don’t know too many digital photographers who don’t use some sort of photo manipulation, but I’m wondering what’s considered SOP for wedding and event photography these days.

  96. Lofty says

    The trouble with people like atomicfizzer is that they’ve never had sex as a shared experience, they don’t want a sex act to feel different to a hand job over a porno pic except that they get to degrade their victims and have to do less work themselves. I can see a SMV for vacuum cleaners marketed for single MRAs with special rubber attachments, with extra programming to fetch a beer after climax.
    Real sex isn’t an eyes-only experience, its a full bodied experience. If you can’t involve everything from your toesies to your eyebrows you’re not trying hard enough.

  97. ChasCPeterson says

    grahamjones @#102:

    Jane Austen is going to appear on English banknotes. With big eyes.

    actually, the eyes on the banknote portrait are proportionally considerably smaller than in the orignal sister-Cassandra sketch.
    (yes, I measured. ImageJ ftw!)

  98. quartercalling says

    I know everyone has been responding pretty well to these (this?) dudes who thinks teenagers are just naturally more attractive than older women, but I had to put in my two cents as well.

    It’s just that – I WAS a teenaged girl at one time in my life, and at that time in my life, I was also surrounded by OTHER teenage girls. If you think that this image of “cute, fresh faces, bright eyes, perky boobs, soft smooth skin and tight bodies” really belongs to actual adolescent girls, you’re sadly mistaken. Most teenage girls you come across are going to be barely developed, pimple-faced, and skittish. Sorry to break it to you, guys, but the adolescent image that you’re describing is the one fed to you by the media, which in actuality features GROWN WOMEN in their twenties and thirties.

    Face it, the only thing that’s “adolescent” about that image is the schoolgirl outfit she’s wearing. You’re actually attracted to full grown women. Imagine that.

  99. ulgaa says

    Some years back my kid’s school picture packet started to come with an option to have blemishes removed.

  100. jste says

    feministdalek

    Hmm. I got married not so many years ago; now I’m wondering if our photographer touched up some of our photos in the “remove blemishes/soften complexion” sort of way. Many have filters, but that’s in addition to a separate raw file. I’ll have to check that out.

    My wedding last year, our photographer included touch-ups for our 5 favourite photos, and the rest just lighting/contrast balance. This was all made clear to us up front and was laid out in the contract.

    (We had a fairly tight budget though, so I’m not sure what more expensive photographers offer re: photo editing. The other photographers in our price range didn’t offer any such services, or would refuse to give us our photos on disc without handing over more money than we were prepared to.)

  101. Juliana Ewing says

    I have to say, I don’t think ALL photo retouching is horrible. It makes sense to me that an otherwise awesome photo that happens to show the person with a zit on their chin should have the zit removed. After all, that’s not an important part of who the person is or how they ordinarily look. Plus, people look at photographs differently than they look at the moving, speaking person. When I’m looking at a teenager, I don’t spend a lot of time noticing their acne, because it’s expected and common. But if I have a picture of my kid on the wall as a representation of what they looked like at fifteen, I’d prefer it didn’t show that one time they had an extra huge zit, any more than that one time they had a bandaged eye.

  102. sirbedevere says

    ulgaa #132:

    That’s one of the areas where, as a photographer, I don’t mind Photoshop touch-up. Blemishes are, by definition, transitory and if the subject feels better with them removed from the final image I think it’s fine.

  103. says

    Amy Cocks @ 126:

    Back to Atheism…it’s fun how all the old painted naked, sorry “nude” women in galleries are fertility goddesses or women er…”touched” by gods. Fleshy some may be but they’re still depicting entirely fictional women who’ve never, ever existed.

    That’s not true. Artists of old used models (and in the case of many paintings, the model[s] are known), and many artists who do nudes now use models – I do.

    Ing @ 127:

    WTF is with the scare quotes around “nude”?

    Nude is used as a fine arts term, as opposed to naked, but the scare quotes weren’t necessary.

  104. says

    @Caine

    Nude ==unclothed
    naked==exposed

    Any voluntary state would be nude an accidental or embarassing one naked

    Neeked is nude but up to something

  105. Forbidden Snowflake says

    The virgin is pristine and pure until she’s ruined (an actual term that has been applied to sexually active women) by what exactly?

    Oh hey, is it time to link Hardy’s The Ruined Maid, the awesome poem mocking purity culture? I believe it is.

  106. says

    If you missed that society tells women they must be beautiful to have any value at all and that the standard of beauty they must attain is impossible then maybe it’s because you aren’t the one those messages are aimed at.

    Yes, that’s why I asked. I’ve always wondered about it – I seem (to myself) to be relatively immune to advertising, and I don’t know why. I do not understand why it works at all, and I interpret claims that someone can’t help but fall for advertising to be denying them agency. Yet, I know that advertising works – or, at least the professional liars in the advertising industry say that it does. I don’t buy the claim that women are more susceptible to peer pressure and marketing than men, and – yes – I’ll buy the argument that there is more marketing aimed at women (maybe) but there’s also a lot aimed at men and it doesn’t appear to work as catastrophically on them. I don’t expect I can sort this out because not only am I pretty oblivious to marketing, I shelter myself from a lot of popular culture because I don’t like marketing and eliminate it from my inputs when I’m able to, to further reinforce my obliviousness.

    I don’t find the idea that women are more susceptible to marketing to be appealing, so it must be that they are targeted more effectively and pervasively. I’m not I buy that, though – there’s a great deal of success marketing, violentization/rape culture/female objectification, and marketing for conspicuous consumption aimed at young males. Is it that misogyny and rape culture are the male counterpart/equivalent of female self-image dissatisfaction that is being pushed by popular marketing?

  107. says

    Sorry to break it to you, guys, but the adolescent image that you’re describing is the one fed to you by the media, which in actuality features GROWN WOMEN in their twenties and thirties.

    You’re right, and that’s fascinating. Wouldn’t that be saying that the “sexual currency” (or whatever) of the early/mid-20-something actors and actresses is higher, then, than that of a teenager? I’ve always wondered about this, myself, why it is that media portrays high school students using actors/actresses that have been out of high school for a decade. Is it simply a matter that high-school age actors are harder to get into the work-force (under 18 gets parents involved in legal contracts, pulling them out of school is bad, etc) there are notable exceptions (e.g. Natalie Portman was 13 when she starred in The Professional, portraying a 12-year-old) hmmm… as I type this I’m looking at the ages of various actors and actresses in Twilight, Harry Potter, and the age offset actually isn’t that large. That’s just randomly pulling recent popular shows out of a hat and I’ve probably got some bias there because I am pretty out of touch with popular culture. Can you point to any statistics about the average actual age of actors and actresses versus their portrayed age?

  108. says

    Why are you parroting the very common misunderstanding/deliberate lie of misogynists, Marcus? Every time we point out that X is aimed disproportionately at women and it affects us, their disingenuous response is, “You think women are WEAK?? You’re saying women can’t HANDLE X????”

    Ouch! I see your point.

    Although “You think women are WEAK??” is not at all what I said; I’d appreciate it if you wouldn’t put words in my mouth and then kick my ass for them. Given that we are all advertised to, pervasively, it seems that the argument is that it’s more than just advertising – which I certainly can believe. So there’s advertising and there’s tons of other social pressure. If that’s the case, then perhaps the photoshopping of images hasn’t got as much impact after all?

    I am not at all trying to defend advertising! I am in complete agreement with Feynman that it’s one of the few inherently immoral professions (because it relies on presenting something as being better or more desirable than the advertiser knows it to actually be). I do not understand the mechanism of social/peer pressure (Is that the correct term for what’s going on here?) and how it works to make people unhappy with themselves. That has clearly been a long-term staple of marketing, though, going back to Bernays’ making false associations in marketing victims’ minds between “freedom” and smoking cigarettes – which worked disproportionately on women because the marketing agencies aim was specifically to get women hooked on smoking, too, to enlarge the market. I guess that’s the explanation: that each campaign is targeted at specific issues and thus different campaigns work disproportionately. So men are encouraged to buy beer, while women are encouraged to worry about their skin because they’ve been sold dissatisfaction with themselves.

    Again, I am absolutely not defending marketing, photoshopping images into surreal distortions of human images (I don’t even want to say “idealized” because that agrees that there is an external absolute “ideal” that marketing people somehow tap into) or targeting customers with social pressure to make them uncomfortable with themselves in order to sell them something. It is exactly because of these things (plus the pervasive insulting stupidity of advertising) that makes me very heavily filter my inputs. I would go further and not buy products from companies that advertise, except that I’d be pretty much forced to opt out of modern civilization.

  109. says

    And whereas there was only one George Hurrell (and perhaps a handful of others with similar skills) we now have thousands of people with the necessary skills and widespread availability of the hardware/software required to do it.

    Hurrell’s images got very widely promoted by the hollywood media machine – it was a focused and pervasive promotion, too: you’d see that super retouched photo of Ava Gardner or Clark Gable all over movie theatres, whereas now there are zillions of photoshoppers photoshopping virtually everything, it’s probably lost in the noise – which is going to tend to make the highly altered image more “normal” – at least Hurrell. Horst, Penn, Bernado, et al., produced images that were so far outside of the normal fare that they were obviously “glamour” photography, and hence the name.

    Everything in their catalog is fake. No surprise, right?

    Right. The story about the belly buttons is most likely true to a certain degree; some of the images are virtually composites. I used to photograph one model whose skin was regularly used as (basically, a texture-map) replacement skin texture for make-up ads. It’s amazing to me that anyone can look at one of those make-up ads and actually think that’s skin and not a procedural texture out of a rendering engine. The “truth in advertising” laws utterly fall down on make-up marketing; those photos are not even photos anymore – they’re special effects out of Maya and Zbrush.

  110. says

    Some light reading on aged actors playing teenagers.

    Thanks! Those are good examples, though “really old actors who played teenagers” kind of gives away the idea that it’s been heavily cherry-picked. What I was wondering was if there was something more along the lines of “the average age of actors portraying teen-agers is 10 years more than the represented age” I’d find that fairly believable, I just wonder if anyone’s actually done a survey. (Self-reported ages in hollywood are probably none to reliable, come to think of it)

  111. Lofty says

    “Thirty-five is a very attractive age. London society is full of women of the very highest birth who have, of their own free choice, remained thirty-five for years.”
    ― Oscar Wilde, The Importance of Being Earnest

  112. chigau (違う) says

    theoreticalgrrrl #147
    OK
    That needed a warning.
    I’m not sure what kind of warning but because of my barking laughter, the cat has fled and the SO actually woke up.

  113. scripturient says

    I’m new here, but I’ve been reading the odd article in my spare time. I suppose what attracts me is the thoughtfulness of both the poster and (most) commenters. I’m relatively young, so humour me.

    The Nuclear Wheelchair person was saying how teens are more attractive relative to ‘saggy’ old people. No comment. But all else held equal, don’t most people tend to find attributes associated with youngness more attractive – smooth skin, ‘perkiness’ and all that? No citations. The best I can think of is animal documentaries (sorry).

    I’m not saying that’s the most important thing if you were looking for a long term partner, but just on an instinctive level wouldn’t you respond to that?

    Genuinely curious here. I’m in an age set where my peers have the physical attributes of youngness.

  114. scimaths says

    Marcus # 140

    I’ll buy the argument that there is more marketing aimed at women (maybe) but there’s also a lot aimed at men and it doesn’t appear to work as catastrophically on them.

    So the fact that men are taught that they are a superior form of life entitled to women’s bodies, time and ego-stroking attention whenever, wherever has little to no effect on them (clearly the catastrophic effect this has on women doesn’t count) ?

    Do social messages influence men, or are they just innately misogynistic shits who just don’t require pressure to act like that. Or maybe it’s their innate misogyny that drives the social messages. What do you think ?

  115. says

    Marcus
    Did you care to watch the video me and theoreticalgrrrrl linked?
    Because it’s in essence what’s aimed at men and women. Men are reinforced in being better, superior while women are reinforced in being defective, inferior. There’s another brilliant series on youtube about advertising aimed at women. It’s hilarious and makes you want to puke at the same time.

  116. says

    Waking up to Halloween and my daughter hand sewing a costume I realized I missed the obvious. Humans have a long history of altering themselves to look differently–far more than the Photoshop changes in this video. Whether ancient sculptures of people with grossly enlarged sex organs, marble statues of unreal proportions, or paintings of people who couldn’t possibly exist.

    Clothes themselves hide the body so thoroughly it’s near impossible to know what lies beneath. Shoes to make you taller, flats to make you shorter, high heels to make your calves look big, corsets and now body shapers to control the midsection, bra’s to hide nipples and create so-called pleasing shapes, shoulder pads to make you look big, hosery to tint your skin, tanning, and skin bronzing to also hide your skin.

    Men shave their beards, and control their head hair. Women shave their legs, their pubes, their underarms, nipple hair and create hair fashions that rival the jazziest doo’s of animals like peacocks. We make our teeth perfect. We control posture and walking style to be pleasing. Women use breast implants and suck out fat that is unsightly or uncurve curved noses. Men use all manner of things to make their cocks bigger or look bigger. Indeed the body is physically treated as a blank canvas. The vast majority of women dye their hair and use some sort of make up.

    Body odor is abhorred, sweat is prevented, and perfumes applied so deep and different no one has a clue how they or others smell. We hate farting, burping, and oily skin. We are desperate to get rid of blemishes whether pimples, moles, spaces between teeth, or crooked smile. We hide erections and menstruation with neurotic passion. We wipe ourselves so thoroughly after defecation one could never know that humans actually do defecate. We are grossed out beyond extreme when we pee on ourself. We make sure all of our food is wiped of our bodies.

    We use cleansers to mask house smells, clothes smells, car smells, carpet smells, and use synthetic fragrances that cannot even be found in nature.

    We even insist on perfect vision so we can be sure to see each other with an acuity they demonstrates how close we live to each other, our things, and how irrelevant distant viewing is, emphasizing visual hegemony.

    Working out is focused to specific body areas to make them look ideal–for men big upper body and now for both perfect ab’s. The worship of skinny, then big, then muscular in a smorgasbord of historical fashion.

    Tattoos, body piercing, jewelry and in the past body bones, scarification, ear disks, and so many other changes you have to wonder if people like their body at all or if it really is just a canvas for expression without limit.

    Within this context, Photoshopping seems horrific but mundane. I miss real people on all levels.

    Frankly I would blame most of this to a religious hatred of the body made near universal by Abrahamic religions–so much so it is normative to entire populations. It’s no longer art but aversion, it’s no longer ideal but embodiment, it’s no longer social but competition excused as egalitarian, a so called uniform of uniformity. It’s the emphasis on the soul, the person inside (beauty is skin deep but ugly goes to the bone), and a sensory hegemonic pornography of the body.

  117. A. Noyd says

    Marcus Ranum (#140)

    I’ll buy the argument that there is more marketing aimed at women (maybe) but there’s also a lot aimed at men and it doesn’t appear to work as catastrophically on them.

    Why do you keep missing the point about how the messages in advertising are reinforced by the rest of society? That’s important. See Giliell’s post at #118 about women being asked if they’re sick when not wearing makeup. Or Jackie’s post at #106 about little girls being told they’re pretty while boys are told they’re smart, etc. And surely you’ve heard of women getting fired for refusing to wear makeup?

    Or how about the point about the lack of alternative images of women in the media besides the unattainable, narrow, appearance-based ideals? Men are offered way more variety in terms of what they’re told they should live up to.

    (#142)

    I guess that’s the explanation: that each campaign is targeted at specific issues and thus different campaigns work disproportionately. So men are encouraged to buy beer, while women are encouraged to worry about their skin because they’ve been sold dissatisfaction with themselves.

    Yes, the issues that women face are how we have to fix our bodies and appearances to match an ideal. Men really only face this where it comes to hair (baldness, greyness, stubble) and, to some extent, weight. But those aren’t reinforced by the rest of society as aggressively and thoroughly as they are for women. Even if advertisements claim beer, cars and body spray will make men more attractive, they don’t claim to correct deficiencies in the men’s bodies. The products will fix other people’s perceptions, not fix the men themselves. Women are expected to fix ourselves—to change ourselves to match what people want to perceive. And we’re lied to constantly that this is possible.

  118. says

    makes me wonder what you mean by this,

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5OhbLDFeE4w&feature=player_embedded

    and this,

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q17-Q4LF8XM&list=UUPm2LBzD1z2hqQE9hQwjRIA&feature=player_embedded

    anticipated response,

    “Oh, I was only joking/making a point/being ironic/blah blah blahdy fucking dah”

    Which of course sounds like, “my best friends are black/gay!”

    hypocritical child. Mama didn’t give you enough tit? WTF is wrong with you?

    ~Jeffrey Lee Robinson

  119. says

    I find it odd, perverse, that it has to be demonstrated that women have been more oppressed by social coercion than men. I can’t think of any society in written or oral history where men have had it worse than women. When it even gets a bit closer it’s because the men are off to war, Iroquois, or living separately, Sparta.

  120. Algernon says

    I don’t know, but amid all the concern about reproductive fitness aging has taught me a few things: It is not so bad to be older or alone.

    The horror, it turns out, is less painful than the wheel.

  121. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    Monitor Note

    Alert already sent on Jeffrey Robinson.

  122. daniellavine says

    stricpturient@150:

    But all else held equal, don’t most people tend to find attributes associated with youngness more attractive – smooth skin, ‘perkiness’ and all that?

    Maybe, but:
    1) those attributes are in some cases only mistakenly associated with youth. There are plenty of women in their 40′s who are more perky than women I went to high school with. And the girls I went to high school with didn’t, on average, have super-smooth skin — many of them had acne because they were teenagers.
    2) While smooth skin and “perkiness” may be, in some sense, valued, there is some question of their value relative to other characteristics including intelligence and sense of humor. I’d guess that for most guys smoothness of skin and perkiness are valued but not particularly valuable.

  123. Arete says

    A. Noyd

    Or how about the point about the lack of alternative images of women in the media besides the unattainable, narrow, appearance-based ideals? Men are offered way more variety in terms of what they’re told they should live up to.

    That’s a big one, I think. Media representations show the astounding variety of options for women, nowadays. They can be beautiful, sexy scientists, or beautiful, sexy doctors, or beautiful, sexy lawyers, or beautiful, sexy shop keepers, or beautiful, sexy journalists, or beautiful, sexy crime fighters, or beautiful, sexy wives of schlubby middle aged men. But of course, they are only about maybe a quarter of the population, and are almost always about the same height and weight. Unless they are the hilariously pathetic best friend, who might be slightly shorter and slightly heavier.

  124. Jackie teh kitteh cuddler says

    I’m sure that we’ve all seen female politicians looks given alot more attention than the appearance of their male counterparts. I can’t believe there are even people who doubt that women are given entirely different and more stringent messages about themselves than men. I’m reminded of the scene in Search for Signs of Intelligent Life in the Universe where Lily Tomlin first pantomimes a woman getting ready for work and then a man getting ready for work. The result is predictable. She has to put in 3X the effort to look presentable.

  125. knowknot says

    - OK. I’m over 50. I have a libido. Always have had. It has been stated that I could do with less. I can, with all honesty, say that I have NEVER found “under age” girls sexually attractive. Attractive, yes. Becoming sexual, in terms of themselves, yes. But I can’t remember ever having any kind of repressed desire to have anything to do with them. (Um. Except when I was underage myself. Which is a different story.) And, bluntly, I have never confused any part of a depilated woman with that of a “young girl.” The stuff belongs to who it belongs to. Nor have I ever had any preferences in this area (no pun).
    - And I simply can’t understand where this thing that some men pretty obviously have comes from. I kinda wish I did, first, just because human, and second, because now that I have daughters it’s an even more present enemy than it once was.
    - I have trouble imagining myself to be a freak with regard to any of this. And what I understand even less is how men put up with hearing even vague “woo hoo” references to this sort of thing without stating some sort of concern.
    - So if someone sensible gets this, or if I missed someone blatantly getting this in the threadwash, please point it out. I’m not showing off here, I am actually curious, and the most obvious answers don’t make a dent in that.
    - And yes, I found the model in the clip CONSIDERABLY more attractive before treatment, both asthetically and sexually. Given the presence of a real interaction she looks like she might actually be present and active. As in, a person. And I can say without hesitation that I would have no desire to have anything to do with the “finished product” unless I were by some bizarre turn of events that there was a fully formed person trapped in there, and even then I’d be tempted to ask her if she might posssibly be more comfortable if she, or someone, were to wash her face. If she wanted to.
    - And I really do think Photoshop is the best videogame ever, hands down. But I find it to be sexually inept.

  126. knowknot says

    andohmygodijustsawthephotonuclearwheelchairlinkedasadesireablefemaleandiwantthehumanracetodiejusttopreventthisfromeverhappeningagain

  127. sonofrojblake says

    I would have no desire to have anything to do with the “finished product”

    The “finished product” is a photograph. I wouldn’t want to have a beer with the Venus de Milo, either.