Here in the fashionable offices of The Curmudgeon, the ladies are tres chic and the men dress sharp, everyone except me of course. I’m more of a worn bluejeans and sweatshirt guy, more ratty than natty. Lots of magazines devoted to attire come in the mail, and these contain lots and lots of advertisements. In fact, it’s fairly obvious that these periodicals are little more than vehicles for pushing the latest products and clothing designer crap down our throats. But they push something else down our throats too, namely, an impossible image of women. Thin as breath with rice paper skin.
The debate has raged for years over this promotion of the “ideal” woman and its negative impact on young girls, and has been cited as major contributer to rampant anorexia and worse. The advertisers, seemingly realizing their culpability, promise to stop glorifying the woman as waif. “We’ll never do it again,” they cry, but they are lying. They don’t change a thing, and in recent years the new controversy of photoshopping their ads to make the women appear even thinner, less wrinkly, and less…hungry?…has joined the fray.
Enter Ralph Lauren. A Lauren advertisement (see above) was recently posted on the sites Photoshop Disasters, and Boing Boing, who added the caption, “Dude, her head’s bigger than her pelvis.” Ralphie didn’t like this blatant criticism and filed a DMCA (Digital Millennium Copyright Act) against the two sites, claiming their use was copyright infringement and fell outside of “Fair use” laws.
Photoshop Disasters caved (spineless) and removed the image, but Boing Boing did not, and it’s well-worth reprinting their response:
“Copyright law doesn’t give you the right to threaten your critics for pointing out the problems with your offerings. You should know better. And every time you threaten to sue us over
stuff like this, we will:
- a) Reproduce the original criticism, making damned sure that all our readers get a good, long look at it, and;
- b) Publish your spurious legal threat along with copious mockery, so that it becomes highly ranked in search engines where other people you threaten can find it and take heart; and
- c)Offer nourishing soup and sandwiches to your models.”
Take that, Ralphie boy. You gotta love those guys. The controversy isn’t exclusive to the U.S. In Britain parliament recently proposed outlawing retouched advertising aimed at teens. Seems there was an uproar of an ad with legendary 59 year old skinny chick Twiggy, where she appeared with her wrinkles magically erased.
One thing I’ll say about photoshopped images is at least models can fake it and don’t actually have to have their lower ribs removed like women reportedly did in the 19th century (except that they didn’t. According to Snopes, the myth was likely started by Florence Ziegfeld to promote actress Anna Held, and subsequently was attached to any famous woman who was very thin. In the Victorian era, even the simplest of surgeries, not to mention anesthesia, was a complicated matter and many died.)
Anyway, the featured model’s waist is smaller than her head. I hope she doesn’t get pregnant. Where would she put the baby?
So I say to all you young women who are starving yourselves to achieve this sick (and unattractive) ideal, go eat a couple of hamburgers for crissake.
Now, who wants ice cream?