Retouching real life

(800)Lillies-storyAfter discovering her yearbook photo had been heavily retouched, high school student Zoe Royer from Kansas City, Mo. expressed her outrage on Reddit.

St. Theresa’s Academy, an all-girls private school in Kansas City that Royer attends, reissued students photos for their ID cards and yearbook after the winter break.

Some of the girls discovered they looked drastically different from their original photos, which had been taken in September.

The photography company had retouched the pictures, but the editing went far beyond glowing filters and blemish removal.

In the photos posted online, Royer’s face looks noticeably smoother and thinner in the “after” shot.

There also appears to be lip colouring, eyebrow shaping, and the addition of tanned skin.

This is what Royer had to say about the changes:

“I have a round face that I have grown to love and now I get my photo back with a different face.

“The new photo no longer even looks like me but rather a prettier twin sister.”

In her post, Royer said that she spoke with her principal and was allowed to use the original photo on her ID.

She said the school did not realize the photography company had edited the photos.

Hopefully that’s true, but it doesn’t make this practice any more acceptable.

It was unclear why St. Theresa’s Academy reissued student ID cards in January, or what the agreement for retouching the photos was.

When it comes to school pictures, most companies offer “basic retouching” at an extra cost, which has been available for a few years.

The main issue with the extent of editing in these photos is that high school is about preparing for the future, not teaching girls to criticize their looks.

On the Internet, many people commented that they had no problem with “slightly enhanced” yearbook photos, but this case was taken too far.

“If it’s a filter or some editing, whatever. But we are told to love ourselves the way we are, and they actually changed her face.

She was beautiful before they edited the photo,” said one Reddit user, tealismyname.

Why are girls being told these beauty standards are important to their education experience?

High school is a challenging, often uncomfortable experience for many, and teens worry enough about trying to fit in already.

Seven out of 10 girls have low self-esteem before they are in high school, according to Dove’s 2012 Campaign for Real Beauty, and it’s no mystery why.

We are surrounded by photoshopped, unrealistic examples of “beautiful” everywhere.

Models appearing in advertisements spend hours on hair and makeup, can afford to keep their waists thin with expensive diets and personal trainers, and have expert photoshoppers to do the rest.

These images send a strong message to young women about what they “should” look like, but only a small number of girls will ever fall into that category.

Recently, the women’s lingerie company Aerie chose to counter unrealistic photoshopping by using untouched photos of women in their ad campaigns.

It was a small step towards realistic representation of women in the media.

Beauty is about diversity. All body types, hair textures, skin tones, and personal styles should be celebrated.

Retouching high school yearbooks sends the negative message that these young women need to wear more makeup, tan more, eat less, and have their hair done perfectly to be acceptable.

It’s unfair and unrealistic to see these beauty standards being forced upon high school students.

These young women are about to begin their adult lives; they should feel as if they can accomplish anything and celebrate their own unique beauty.

Being the prettiest will not get someone into college, it will not start a small business, and it will not make them a better person.

What will accomplish those things are hard work, confidence, and believing that value comes from the inner self, not physical appearance.

Whether they are just starting kindergarten or about to graduate, that is what young women need to see represented in their yearbooks.

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