The mass media is filled with photoshopped and airbrushed images, but it isn't often that the subjects object to the alterations; that changed yesterday, Aug. 27, when Australian model, Meaghan Kausman deplored the recent attempt to drastically retouch her image. The picture in question was a photo-shoot done with a swimwear company, Fella Swim, in which the company reduced the size 8 model to a size 4 in post-production.
Kausman had originally set up the shoot with her photographer, Pip Summerville, via Instagram and Fella Swim got involved by sending swimwear for Kausman to don specifically for the shoot. Fella Swim was permitted to use the photos for publicity, but Kausman and Summerville had the rights to the photos. Despite that fact, Fella Swim chose to deliberately and significantly retouch the pictures, reducing Kausman's natural form.
When Kausman saw the retouched picture in comparison to the pre-production photo she had, she was appalled and posted both pictures on Instagram with the following caption:
My body is a size 8, not a size 4. That's my body! I refuse to stand by and allow ANY company or person to perpetuate the belief that 'thinner is better'. All women are beautiful, and we come in different shapes and sizes! This industry is crazy!!!! It is NOT OKAY to alter a woman's body to make it look thinner. EVER!
Following this post, Fella Swim did retract the photograph and issue an apology, but Kausman was rightly not satisfied with that, since the damage had already been done. More importantly, however, Kausman also saw this as an opportunity to encourage discussion about photoshopping and emphasize that it is not acceptable.
Kausman is also, interestingly enough, the daughter of a body image expert, Dr. Rick Kausman, who instilled positive body image in her from a very young age. She credits her father with enabling her to grow up in an positive environment where she could be body confident and she wants other children to understand that the images they see in the media do not reflect reality. Dr. Kausman was understandably supportive of his daughter's stand against the retouching and posted the original and photoshopped pictures on Facebook, stating that he was a "proud dad".
The most rewarding part of this experience, however, is that more people are coming out in support of Kausman's statements, agreeing that photoshopping is unacceptable and unnecessary. Kausman recognizes this increasing trend stating:
Society unfortunately perpetuates the belief that 'thinner is better', but that's not true! And things are changing - it is absolutely incredible to see how many like-minded people are out there ready to fight for what they believe in. A change is definitely coming, and I am honoured to be a part of the revolution.
It is promising that people are no longer willing to accept altered and airbrushed images at face value, and that the subjects of these photos are also demanding that their natural form is preserved. Hopefully this trend will continue so that a more body-positive environment and society can emerge.