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Photoshop: Creating an Image of Unachievable Perfection

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Photoshop. A word that pretty much every human being has heard of. It is used by more than 10 million people worldwide. Yes, Photoshop can be used for good like to fix lighting, crop something out, even to add a funny background, but what happens when it begins to do more harm than it does good? It has been shown that images that have been altered or enhanced has caused harm amongst our society leading to mental health disorders like depression, or even worse, anorexia.

Models are pretty much a real-life version of Barbie. Unfortunately, even though they are already in perfect shape, Photoshop artists slim them down even more until the alterations become very unrealistic. Their faces are enhanced, their curves are made prominent, their wrinkles smoothed out and their tan made is made darker. How would you feel if this was happening to you every day? With the influence of photoshopped images, teens are becoming more and more self-conscious about their body, which as a result can lead to severe anxiety, depression and can cause them to have more suicidal thoughts than the average teen that doesn’t have poor body image. Sadly, when teens reach out for help with their body dissatisfaction, they are instead given treatment that is aimed at mood disorders, anxiety disorders and posttraumatic stress disorder. Shy about their bodies they may not speak up and unfortunately often remain uncured.

When I was younger, I use to flick through my mum’s fashion magazines and I would see the perfect sized models that are on their way to look like a Barbie. Back then I would think: ‘I want to be like that when I’m older’. Now if I see an image in a magazine, I think to myself: ‘How have I been influenced by something like this from such a young age’.

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The media around us is also a leading cause of poor body image in teens. Statistics show that on average a child or teen watches up to 5 h of television per day and spends an average of 6 to 7 h viewing various media combined. This is up to 7 hours of being exposed to altered women and men that show children and teens that it is possible to look unrealistically thin or muscular when in actually reality it is not. While obviously nobody looks ‘perfect’ in real life, there is an impact on adolescent girls to look more and more like them. Studies show that after viewing thin bodies and altered images body image was more negative.

Poor body image can lead to eating disorders. The general body image is getting thinner and thinner day by day and then the added Photoshop effect can cause some of the bodies to be very disproportionate. Their body type is what most would call anorexic. In the pursuit to look like models or to be the next ‘cover girl’, most starve themselves and refuse to eat all day. The negative image of their bodies can lead people to tremendously change their diets which can have severe effects on their mental and physical health.

A 22-year-old girl died from suicide. Trying to achieve the ideal ‘Barbie’ look, she went on a diet consisting of only apples and tomatoes. This obviously took a toll not only on her physical health but on her mental health as well and because of the pressure to be perfect from the media, she chose to end her life.

Every pore, blemish and imperfection are what make us unique. We should be proud of our flaws and show them, not feel that we have to cover them up with Photoshop. Our society is becoming more and more surrounded by digitally enhanced images so next time you are scrolling through your Instagram take a moment to ask yourself, is what I’m seeing genuine?

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Photoshop: Creating an Image of Unachievable Perfection. (2022, August 25). Edubirdie. Retrieved September 22, 2023, from
“Photoshop: Creating an Image of Unachievable Perfection.” Edubirdie, 25 Aug. 2022,
Photoshop: Creating an Image of Unachievable Perfection. [online]. Available at: <> [Accessed 22 Sept. 2023].
Photoshop: Creating an Image of Unachievable Perfection [Internet]. Edubirdie. 2022 Aug 25 [cited 2023 Sept 22]. Available from:
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