Hollywood is one of the worlds most influential industries, transforming the way society views themselves. Perfection is based on the Hollywood ideal and they will go to all lengths to achieve it, especially through their most influential individuals, celebrities.
Photoshop has become the leading program in image distortion. There is now a need to create perfection amongst those that society idolize. Below is an image of Madonna, the artist is in her late 50’s, ultimately she cannot stop the aging process, however photoshop can, clearly airbrushing her face to produce a flawless complexion, marketing it as the miracles of plastic surgery and botox, both successful industries within Hollywood.
By Hollywood doing this they create this idea, that perfection can be established through these procedures, clearly marketing a false misrepresentation, leading to an array of social and ethical concerns. Julie Mehta explores these notions in her journal article “Pretty Unreal”.
Mehta begins with her own personal account of how she see’s women portrayed in magazines “A rock star sprawls across a CD cover, a belly-button ring decorating her toned stomach. And then there’s you. You pass a mirror and glance at your image. What do you see? Maybe there’s a zit on your forehead.” while recognising the detrimental effect it leaves on the average women, “What’s a person to think? Perfect images of perfect celebrities are everywhere. It’s enough to make anyone feel insecure or envious.”
Mehta reinforces her ideas through a variety of evidence, including authors, photographers, magazines and those most affected, the youth, reinforcing her ideas and notions. “I think the media has a big impact,” 16-year-old Erika, of Scottsdale, Ariz., told Current Health. “It sets the standard-says thin is in.” Although her work does lack reference from cited pieces, the quotes she has incorporated are effective, recognising the negative impact photoshop has created, but without substantial evidence from those seen as experts in the field the authenticity is jeopardised.
Although Mehta’s piece has some slight grammatical errors like ‘thick’ instead of ‘think’ she asks a variety of questions to her audience which she then goes onto answer, such as, “what, exactly, is perfection?”. This a necessity because she is involving the audience, allowing them to establish their own idea of perfection, before stating her’s with reference from individuals including author Jessica Weiner who is an ambassador of self-empowerment. This is definitely an effective way to create audience engagement within her piece.
Mehta also undertakes her own primary research which allows her to reiterate her own opinions. Interviewing a variety teenagers on body image and how they deal with the daily pressures. In particular there is a quote from a young man who states “I’m not fat, but I’m not skinny either,” said 13-year-old Jordan, a seventh grader from Baton Rouge, La. “I think I have big thighs, and when I wear shorts they stick out. A lot of kids tease me, but I try not to care so much.” This is a pivotal finding from Mehta’s research because young men are often overlooked when it comes to body image, but are targeted just as hard by Hollywood’s unrealistic ideals, which Mehta explores in-depth within her piece.
Overall Mehta’s piece is based on her on primary research gathered from young students. She does mention brief statistics on body dysmorphic disorder (BDD), the disorder affects “one in every 50 people” but she does not cite where that information comes from, affecting its credibility. Mehta’s piece is a great place to start in forming background information on how Hollywood’s unrealistic image is affecting today’s youth, but without reference to credible sources, such as doctors on the topic, it can only form a basis towards research on the topic.