Real vs Reel: Will Beyoncé’s un-touched photos change your opinion of her?

Published: February 24, 2015

The recent un-retouched photo leaks from Beyoncé’s L’Oreal advertisement showed her skin to be not so perfect, dewy, even and glowing. PHOTO: THE BEYONCE WORLD

Cindy Crawford’s, not so easy on the eyes, un-retouched images from the Marie Claire shoot went viral and created quite a stir on social media.

While rumours stated that the un-retouched images were deliberately released to celebrate ‘truth’ and ‘beauty’ – the magazine clarified that the images were un-retouched leaked copies of the December 2013 cover shoot. They were, somehow, leaked and made their way to social media. The images, no matter how realistic they are, are not a pleasant sight. Crawford has been modelling for three decades now and stands as an epitome of age defying beauty for most women. The images proved that even super models are prone to the ‘wreckage’ of age. The thighs, as we had always believed, were not steel like, the skin was sagging and more like moon-crater, just like a typical 47-year-old mother of teens. We find these images unpleasant because we are not aesthetically trained to see the real human body on screen and such ‘accidents’ come as a shock to us.

Now the leaks are important in many ways. First, it’s a breach of privacy. The career of a super model, whether young or waning, depends immensely on her name brand and body image. The body image takes unbelievable effort to create but it is accomplished with the sidekick of technology. It’s a career based on a fickle and fragile sense of beauty. The leak is no less than a betrayal to her as a person and as a model. The sentiments were echoed in her husband, Rande Gerber’s post right amid the debate, which showed her in her untarnished persona resting by the pool side. There are some illusions which we do not want to forgo.

But there were certainly some positive aspects to it. We are used to a certain idea of beauty, a beauty which remains unaffected by the wear and tear of time and other physiological changes, an idea too perfect to achieve as there is no such thing as perfection. When women see a 47-year-old Crawford with the skin of a 30-year-old, they are somehow deluded into believing that ever existing beauty and youth is possible. Then comes in consumerism taking advantage of this illusion and selling us all those magic potions. We will never age, never will our skin sag, we would always look young and age will just be another number. These airbrushed photographs make us hate our own bodies as we succumb to time and age.

The demon of Photoshop and airbrush is not limited to ageing celebrities but affects other physical ‘shortcomings’ too. The recent un-retouched photo leaks from Beyoncé’s L’Oreal advertisement showed her skin to be not so perfect, dewy, even or glowing. Her fans (known as beehives) were outraged as this could certainly not be the Bee they love.

She has previously been accused of photoshopping her photos for creating a false ‘thigh gap’. Being a celebrity is a huge responsibility with the pressure to always look glamorous and their best but the illusion of beauty they create is tinting the idea of beauty, reality and womanhood for their million fans.

Some celebrities, however, take a stand and give a realistic idea of beauty to their impressionable fans. Lorde was vastly commended for her tweet where she exposed photoshop by sharing her un-retouched photo and saying:

She also tweeted her picture with acne cream on, making her fans realise that she is like them.

Keira Knightley also shared with her fans her un-treated picture from King Arthur where her bust was considerably improved for the poster photo.

Photo: Huffington Post

The torment is not limited to just women as men too become victims. Justin Bieber’s recent Calvin Klein advertisement was also enhanced for certain effects and the leak gave online trolls laughing material for days.

It is crucial for celebrities to come forward and give their fans a real idea of beauty. It will be a social service in the real sense of the word. The fans will also start being easy on their bodies and start loving themselves realistically.

Fatima Majeed

Fatima Majeed

An avid reader, freelance writer and home-maker.

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.