Tuesday, 4 August 2009

In which Sarah talks of air-brushing and dinosaurs

Posted by Tania Kindersley.

Forgive feckless lack of blogging lately. I have forty-seven excuses, including guests, men in skirts (always a doozy), deadlines, the cricket, excessively long and diverting conversations with my mother, and a faint sense of malaise possibly due to the lack of discernible summer. But the fact is in the end you are a man or a mouse and there is no excuse.

To make up for my own lamentable lack of content, I direct you to Sarah's coruscating diatribe on the air-brushing issue. As you may imagine, she is quite grumpy.


In the meantime, I send you apologies and shall be back very soon.

Oh, and if you want to see some truly inspiring woman, have a look at this feisty refusenik and her supporters in Sudan.


  1. Having worked in magazines I have seen the magic of retouching. I've seen women go from tired and wrinkled to fresh-faced and youthful with a few clicks of a mouse. It really is amazing. But what is remarkable is how savvy people are these days. Years ago people didn't know about retouching. They thought stars and models were wrinkle and spot free with perfect stomachs, lean hips and thighs and glowing skin. I think whenever a star looks good on a cover they, ironically, now have to defend themselves to prove what WASN'T retouched because everyone out there is a naysayer. I've seen many stars up close. They are caked with make-up, have had surgeries and are corseted to the nines. However, there are a few beauties out there who are naturally spectacular and for them, this retouching scandal is a shame because they don't get props for looking damned good. I agree, Kate Moss does have a damaged portrait in a closet (and in many tabloid photos it has been revealed) but when we see her grace Vogue, she looks as she did when she was in her heyday. But, we want to see the smoke and mirrors with Kate because she's still an icon. This is the same thing with many of our stars. In the 20's clouding, white lights and smoke was used to make celebs look spectacular and flawless too. I think this is just part of their magnitude of celebrity--their PR---and we love it and mock it---but at least now we are sharp to it. I think fewer and fewer of us are conned by what we see on magazine covers anymore. I take it with a grain of salt and be the best ME I can be...and that is what we have to instill in the next generation because retouching is only going to get more advanced.


  2. What I find most irritating about the whole air-brushing issue is the hypocritical dichotomy of the press and - by extension (?)- ourselves. By that I mean that you can be airbrushed to the nines and look fabulous in any magazine, but then various 'celeb' magazines (which we avidly buy) and the Daily Mail then choose to feature image after image of perfectly normal 'saggy knees', 'hideous' middle-aged spread, comment after comment on celebrity women's (and men's to an extent, it has to be said) perfectly normal ageing bodies, as if the airbrushing is - or rather should be - the reality - and the images of them relaxing on holiday or going out for dinner are shameful, should be hidden away - too gross for reality.

    It's a completely skewed version of reality - IT IS NOT REAL PEOPLE - yet these false images are pushed in our face constantly and we wonder why our 6 year olds are so body-conscious.

    And - as an almost aside - why, in nearly every interview with a female actress/singer/whatever in Sunday Times Style magazine (for eg, but I'm sure this is more wide-spread), why, why, why are they always described as 'tiny'. And I don't think they mean short (unless literally everyone famous in America is under 5ft). I now automatically skim to the 3rd or so paragraph for the inevitable physical description of the clearest skin, tiny, fragile body wrapped in a chunky cardigan looking waif-like... God it's boring, but it's again a visual profile that is now part and parcel of any feature or itnerview about a woman, again reinforcing that tiny = successful. Oh, and of course, the inevitable chunky cardigan.... Rant over.


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