I received this question in my formspring.me box:
Have you seen the release of the unretouched photos of Brittany Spears for the new Candies ads? (http://www.dailymail.co.uk/tvshowbiz/article-1265676/Britney-Spears-releases-airbrushed-images-digitally-altered-versions.html). What do you think of them?
This is the 4/14/2010 Daily Mail Reporter article she is referring to:
“Britney Spears bravely agrees to release un-airbrushed images of herself next to the digitally-altered versions
“Celebrities, and the industry around them, are often accused of producing images that affect young people’s body image.
“Which is why it’s so refreshing to see one of the world’s most famous pop stars allowing all of their imperfections to be highlighted.
“Britney Spears has allowed the pre-airbrushed images from a shoot she took part in for fashion firm Candie’s to be used ALONGSIDE the digitally-altered ones, so people can see the difference.
“In the first shot, she is seen facing the camera with her arms behind her back. Imperfections that can be clearly seen in the un-airbrushed shot include blemishes on her calf, her larger thighs and, if you look really closely, you can see her feet have dry skin on them.
“The airbrushed pictures, however, tell a different story with a slimmed-down waist and flawless, skinny legs.
“Meanwhile, in the second picture, she is seen from the back – in the un-airbrushed shot she has areas of cellulite on the back of her thighs, a tattoo on her lower back (sometimes called a ‘tramp stamp’) is clearly visible and her backside is a little out of shape.
“However, in the altered photo all of these imperfections have been wiped out – and she appears to have a pert rear, unrealistically smooth skin, slimmer legs and the tattoo has vanished.
“A source told the Daily Mirror newspaper: ‘Britney is proud of her body – imperfections and all.’
“Of the experience, the singer told press: ‘I had so much fun shooting the Candies for Kohl’s campaign. My favorite set-up was against the gigantic wall of pink cotton candy.’
“And she added: ‘I got to wear the cutest clothes and they are perfect for summer!'”
So…here’s my 2cents since you asked…
I think it’s pretty obvious from Britney’s history that she is not particularly savvy when it comes to press and PR…and thus, it is most certainly stretching the truth to write that she “made the extraordinary move in order to highlight the pressure exerted on women to look perfect.” I’m willing to bet that it wasn’t her idea in the first place, and she likely did not care one way or the other, as Britney Spears has never seemed overly concerned with women’s issues in the first place. (Unlike Jessica Simpson, for example.)
Excessive Photoshopping and “realism” in magazines and advertising is currently a hot debate topic…perhaps in part kicked off by that unretouched photo of Lizzie Miller in Glamour Magazine last September (photo above)…and it’s patently obvious that Candie’s wanted to be a part of it. (Don’t get me started on why they decided to use Britney Spears as poster girl for the Candie’s brand in the first place…I find it a strange and almost PR-blind decision, but whathaveyou.) It’s sort of winceworthy that they chose to highlight Britney’s imperfections in releasing these photos…we’ve all seen the numerous tabloid photos of her over the years and so the public (I believe) is generally aware that Ms. Spears looks quite different in reality than when she is plastered with makeup, posed, and Photoshopped in a Candie’s ad or on her own album covers. (Had this been pulled with someone like, say, Victoria Beckham, I think there would be much more of an “ohmygosh!” reaction. Come on – we all know Britney has cellulite and acne and less-than-doll-like thighs. The jig is up, Candie’s, in case you didn’t realize.) Plus the company is only drawing attention to how much they have Photoshopped and digitally manipulated her in this ad (and therefore, we can assume, in all her ads for them up to now) so I’m not sure this is casting them in a good light by them saying “Look at our spokeswoman, Britney!! Isn’t she such a dog in real life?? But she’s proud of it, so yay!” Eye-roll-worthy…to me, it’s just someone else manipulating Britney’s image to get something out of it.
I think she looks great in the BEFORE photos (especially as a woman who’s had kids and is entering her 30’s)…though to be perfectly and utterly honest, what I expect when I open a magazine is something more like the AFTER photos, which (though not reality for all intents and purposes) display a visually appealing perfection, and offer no extraneous flaws that could detract from the brand message. (Except for Ms. Spears and her history, but we’ll leave that for another day.:-)
the Photoshopping vs. what is real? debate rages on (with Jessica Simpson appearing without makeup on the cover of the latest issue of Marie Claire, for instance)…Health Magazine decided on this for their cover for the April 2010 issue:
I didn’t…I was like, “I think I’ve seen her somewhere before..gosh she kinda looks like…no, wait, this lady looks much older…who is this??”
And I’ve seen two of her movies, too. Does this look like the Zooey Deschanel you know? (You know, the cute one, lately from the covers of Lucky Magazine and those sweet and sort of innocent-looking Cotton ads.)
I think you can tell that they definitely laid off the Photoshopping for this cover…and as a result I couldn’t recognize her. Or maybe I just haven’t seen her smiling enough. Or maybe her hair/makeup looks very unlike her. Or maybe I’m just an idiot.
Zooey fans, weigh in! Oh, and Britney fans too – and anyone who wants to talk about Photoshopping people for magazine ads/covers…would love to hear your input too!
Thanks for your thought-provoking question!