December 6, 2011

Shame on you, H&M.

The Digital Body.

It has happened. The apocalypse. A retailer has finally owned up to using computer generated bodies in their advertising and online website.

Yesterday, H&M came out saying that they use a digitally-created body in their ads because they have created:

“a body that can display clothes made for humans better than humans can”.

Come again? Last time I checked clothes were supposed to be worn on humans? Why would we want to look at a picture of clothing on a flesh colored robot? I suspected a rat when I wrote a post a couple months ago about the H&M ads, specifically referring to one on TV where I thought the model looked like a robot. Turns out I was right!  It allows for a sigh of relief that such a large retailer is speaking-up, but I still wish that these ads came with disclaimers. Otherwise we still run the risk of too many people thinking that what they see is real.

Photoshopping has been in the news a lot more lately. There is an increasing call for retailers, photographers and magazines to be honest about how much work goes into their work behind the scenes. I would love to someday see a major magazine where no airbrushing or body alternations were used.  Hello Shape, Glamour, Vogue?

This discussion runs into a discussion last week about the Victoria’s Secret fashion show and my point-of -view that the company was promoting an unrealistic ideal that is harmful to the self-esteem of many women out there. This post generated some discussion about what the fashion industry is responsible for in what they depict to society. I wasn’t condemning the bodies of these models, as they may be naturally that skinny, but rather the promotion of this as the norm. Whether they signed up for it or not the responsible thing for Victoria’s Secret and other companies is to deal with this reality and move away from promoting clothing moving down a runway or in print ads. Of course many of them shirk this responsibly, something that in my mind is unethical and a violation of the yama, Satya, or truthfulness.

This is the reality of the world we live in. Everything is connected and it is irresponsible to live in a false and isolated microcosm. The fashion industry, celebrities, and the media are looked up to and are used as a guide for many on how to live life, a guide that is being used more and more and we further disconnect ourselves from our own realities and instead rely on what is external. For many years I fell into this trap and everyday I still hear it all around me.  The discussions I hear among the children that I tutor break my heart at times; the belief that a 120-pound woman is too heavy or the idea that fat is actually a bad word.

What can be done to help this epidemic? What responsibility do you believe the industry has to us?

Some food for thought….

Photo Credits: thegreatfitnessexperiment.com, www.psdisasters.com, photoshopdisasters.com, forums.thefashionspot.com


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