Airbrushing In Catalogs

Airbrushing In Catalogs

Airbrushing is best thought of as an artistic technique that relies on a special tool called an airbrush. This airbrush is utilized to spray different forms of media like dyes, paints or inks; this compressed air tool uses a procedure that is referred to as nebulization. Nebulization is the conversion of any sample that is vaporized into some atomic components. While airbrushing in and of itself is not objectionable, its effects—intentional or not—have caused harmful effects with regards to the body image of teen girls and young women. As a result, this has pressured teen girls and young women to develop eating disorders because of their psychological belief of not looking as attractive as the airbrushed models on covers of various media. As a result, the root of the problem can be traced back to the media for its overuse of airbrushing to sell magazines and the like.

Supplies for Airbrushing (PDF)

What is Airbrushing?

Details of Airbrushing (PDF)

A Career in Airbrushing (PDF)

Airbrushing alone is not a problem because it is merely an artistic technique that is used to touch up media images. The problem from airbrushing stems from the media’s constant overuse of it, especially on the images of famous women such as actresses, singers and models. The effect on society at large, especially with regards to teen girls and young women, has been devastating. The use of intense airbrushing and a lot of photoshopping techniques have combined to create a reality whereby there is an excess of absolutely unrealistic body images. The use of airbrushing can be seen in practically every magazine on the newsstand, where cover images of women are airbrushed in such a way to make them look ultra-skinny.

A Discussion on the Effects of Airbrushing

Body Image and the Media

Argument Against Airbrushing

Link Between Eating Disorders and Media Images

This practice of making the women on covers of magazines look ultra-skinny has given rise to the so-called “Barbie Image,” which is characterized by extremely unrealistic proportions of the female body. The “Barbie Image” is a reference to the long-favored toy doll of many young girls, itself an object that features unrealistic body proportions. The “Barbie Image” generally consists of an ultra-skinny waistline, a big bust size, and long legs. As a result of this “Barbie Image,” some teen girls and young women have gotten eating disorders.

Effects of Barbie on the US

Barbie and Body Image

Barbie and Satire

News on Banning Airbrushing

Unattainable Beauty of Barbie (PDF)

Two of the most common kinds of eating disorders for females are bulimia and anorexia. Bulimia, more properly bulimia nervosa, is an eating disorder that is also classified as a psychiatric disorder. It is marked by binge eating and then subsequent vomiting or exercise in an effort to rid the body of the consumed calories. Anorexia, or anorexia nervosa, is also an eating disorder that is a mental disorder, too. It is characterized by a rejection of maintaining a body weight that is healthy and a chronic fear of adding weight to one’s frame. Some side effects of both include drastic weight loss, depression, purging, rituals like not eating around other people, joints that are swollen and abdominal distension.

Bulimia Defined (PDF)

Bulimia: Eating Disorder

Anorexia Defined (PDF)

Anorexia Explained

There is a way that eating disorders that stem from the media can be avoided or at least reduced. The airbrushing and the photoshopping of images may be cut out. Weight requirements for models, which some companies and clients insist on, can also be banned through the intervention of some heavy piece of legislation that is sure to solve the problem. One country, the UK, is already pursuing this effort. It is attempting to lower the instances of eating disorders among females by banning any ads by L’Oreal that feature airbrushing.

News on Banning Airbrushing

Actress on Airbrushing

Article on Banning Airbrushing

Article on Criticism of Magazines and Airbrushing

Additional Resources