Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Don't Ask; Apologize.

To ask permission for something you know you oughtn't be doing will get you an immediate 'no.'
However, if you just go ahead and do it without asking, you can always apologize.  As though you didn't entirely mean it.

Like when Miss C asks if she can pour a glass of milk onto the floor "just to see how fast it will flow."  Versus doing it, looking surprised and saying, "Sorry!  It was an accident."
Then getting irate with me, because that was her glass of milk, and here I am judging her intent.

She may have a strong career in advertising ahead of her.

Ralph Lauren last year apologized for this digitally altered photo which ran in Australia:
Ralph Lauren ad

And then this one in Japan:

The Ralph Lauren ad featuring Filippa Hamilton-Palmstierna, as posted on Photoshop Disasters and BoingBoing.

Well, they sort of apologized, but mostly they focused on feeling indignant that someone had reprinted their copyrighted photo.  Because that was the important thing, not truth in advertising.
Their milk.  
And they just wanted so see how small it could get.

But you need not be Ralph Lauren to give this a try.
You could be Ann Taylor, which issued this statement when called out for such tactics:
We agree, we may have been overzealous on some retouching but going forward we’ll make sure to feature more real, beautiful images.
We want to support and celebrate the natural beauty of women, and we apologize if in the process of retouching that was lost.
Be sure to lookout for better photos on our site in the future!
Overzealous!  Like, can't you just picture a room of them working away on this picture.  But they've had too much coffee!  And they're so excited!  And they just got carried away!  With shaving entire limbs off of their models!

anntaylor_tops_e.jpg anntaylor_bottoms_e.jpg

Also, notice they don't say, "It won't happen again."
Miss C, as she mopped up milk from the floor, said, "It came out faster than I thought."
But she never said, "Whew, that was a mistake.  You won't find me dumping milk on our floor again!"

No, Ann Taylor wants to "feature more real beautiful images."
However, if they non-feature non-real images, just know that it was an overcaffeinated excited and honest mistake. 


  1. They look freakish. Even a 7-year-old with rockin' abs could tell that was photoshopped.

  2. Avalon's WillowAugust 11, 2010 at 5:30 PM


    I just want to say that while it would seem sensible that such distortions are easily recognized; the one thing surfing Photoshop Disasters taught me, is how easily I'd begun treating distorted images as normal - no longer even thinking about body proportion and extension etc.

    If something's put in front of you enough times and no one actively talks about, or points out the distortion, in my case at least, it sinks in as being what's 'normal'. And even though 'everyone' knows models are much thinner and taller/longer than average women, the distortion becomes what's measured against 'normal average women'.

    It's the same thing about media representations of minorities, of motherhood, fatherhood, femininity, masculinity etc... And heaven help those individuals who don't have memory/experience with different images before these current ones became 'the norm'.

  3. I totally agree, Avalon's Willow. I just came across the Jezebel article about this The before and afters make it look so obvious, but really, you'd probably skim over those photos without thinking about it much, if it hadn't been pointed out. And I know this is not the point, but the Ann Taylor website is for BUYING CLOTHES. How are you supposed to select clothes if you can't see how they fit? Well, maybe it is on point, because when you get that tank that had the sides shaved off on the website, you will think there is something wrong with your body because it doesn't fit like it is 'meant to'.

    It makes me think of this

  4. Martha--one would hope!

    Avalon's Willow--good point re: treating distorted images as "normal." I think even as we talk about these things, we've still become desensitized to viewing them.

    craftastrophies--love that link. I'm going to add in Lady Liberty when we need a good laugh. Thanks for including those.

  5. @ Avalon's Willow. Right on. My comment was a bit flippant for such a serious subject. I think that the distortions of the female body in fashion magazines is an outrage. It is also extremely unethical even though it has become a standard practice, doesn't make it right.