“If athletes cannot use steroids, is it fair for models to use Photoshop?
The answer to the question “If athletes cannot use steroids, is it fair for models to use Photoshop?” has to be looked at in context. Can the computer software Photoshop be considered performance enhancing? The very reason that drugs are banned in athletics is the fact that they give athletes an unfair advantage over their competitors over and above any training or original talent they have.
The same could be said for photoshop being used by models. It does give an unfair advantage as it removes any genetic blemishes or flaws that the industry may deem to be detrimental to the overall look of the model. In the case of drug use, it is the athlete that has to consciously choose to administer the dose to themselves. It is a rare athlete that is doped unknowingly. On the part of the models though, the photoshop enhancement could be done entirely without their knowing.
There are instances where photoshop has been used very obviously to ‘correct’ something that is considered out of place. A prime example being a Victoria’s Secret model named Karolina Kurkova. A NYDN article from 2008 purported to have solved the mystery of her disappearing belly button. She had undergone surgery as a child and as a consequence did not have a conventional belly button. On the catwalk you could see this, in magazines you could not. Global retailer H&M were exposed in a Jezebel article in 2011 for plans to photoshop real models heads onto virtual bodies. Surely this was performance enhancing to the extreme?
The argument remains though, photoshop is software. It’s not altering biology. I believe steroids and software are not the same thing.
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