Body Image

Why I’m Thankful For All These Photoshop “Fails”

aerie real

It seems like you can’t go a few days lately without hearing about a new Photoshop “Fail” in the media.

The Limited, Target, and Old Navy are among recent retailers that must really be working their graphic designers overtime, because holy moly- some of these snafus are just downright painful! And speaking as a graphic designer- they almost seem more an instance of poor editing skills or oversight rather than a deliberate attempt to skim women’s bodies.


Because jagged armpits and rectangular crotchal regions are ALL THE RAGE.

That being said, I don’t have to tell you that there are TONS of examples of deliberate and unnecessary body skimming happening in the media.

But you know, the more I see these photoshop fails being passed around on social media, I start seeing a trend of women getting fed up. They’re saying, “Why is this even necessary?!” and “We should all accept ourselves as we are!”

And I love it.

So I have to say, honestly- I am glad big companies keep messing up their Photoshop in ads because it opens people’s eyes up to it to the point where everyone is just freakin’ sick and tired of being told how they “should” and “shouldn’t” look and everyone can just get over wanting a thigh gap or toothpick arms or whatever, instead of blindly just accepting it.

Think about it.

If none of these “fails” ever happened- women would collectively continue to compare themselves without realizing how stupid it really all is.

You always see things like, “Celebrities without Photoshop!” but one may never realize that even “normal” catalog models get the same treatment. In actuality, pretty much every single ad including a person whether it’s online, in print, or anywhere else is “photoshopped” to a certain extent.

But even though people know this and always have, there’s something about seeing so many mistakes made all at once that further drives the point of how excessive and unnecessary it really is.

While I understand the need for photoshop for things like simple lighting/color correction, white balance, and retouching things like scars, acne, etc. when necessary, most go much farther.

And I’m SO tired of it. I’m sure YOU’RE tired of it. We’re ALL TIRED OF IT. Everyone compares themselves to perfect, expertly photoshopped images and Instagram filtered self portraits so often, it seems many don’t have a clue what reality even is anymore, and that’s just sad.

Hopefully soon we can all realize that photoshopping women’s bodies into a more ideal shape is unrealistic, damaging, and harmful. And the more companies screw up, the more it benefits us because we become more aware.

I do have to mention something that I think is adding to our collective impatience with being manipulated in the media, and that is the fact that some people are actually taking a stand against it for the first time! I’m sure most of you may already know about Aerie’s #Aeriereal campaign which is so awesome it makes me downright ecstatic something like this even exists. It’s a major label committing to not using photoshop in any of their ads, and featuring models that aren’t only represented in waif-like form.



I know it doesn’t seem like much, but trust me- it’s a definite HUGE step in the right direction, and with the massive positive support they have received- I can only imagine other brands will follow suit!

So thank you to all of the “Photoshop Fails.” Thank you for letting us know that we don’t need to cut out chunks of our bodies to be beautiful because we can see how ridiculous it is when it actually happens. Thank you for letting us realize that there was nothing “wrong” with us and our bodies in the first place.

Because nobody is perfect. And even if they were? It would be SO boring! Perfect is unnatural. An android is perfect. A mannequin is perfect. But it has no soul. It has no life. Embrace what makes you a living, breathing, human with mistakes and imperfections because that is what is truly endearing, not perfection!

So keep on makin’ those Photoshop fails, retail companies. We’ll just laugh and realize how silly we all were for ever comparing ourselves to faux reality. And maybe in the future you will realize that it’s not even necessary, and your poor graphic designers won’t have to spend countless hours creating thigh gaps and can focus on more important things, yes?

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  • Reply sdorsay (itrainthereforeieat) March 21, 2014 at 2:09 pm

    The rectangular crotch made me burst out laughing (in that “oh my God, what have they done” kind of way) — it’s so far beyond ridiculous! I agree with you though, as horrible as these images are, and as frustrating as air brushing is as a whole, there have been some steps in the right direction lately, and over-the-top things like this just make us pay attention even more.

    • Reply janinecdemichele March 21, 2014 at 4:51 pm

      Yep! It’s all about increasing awareness. The more we can be aware, the more we can get annoyed by it and be inspired to put a stop to it!

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