The unbearable whiteness of Beyonce
So I was looking at these pictures of Beyonce, the one on the left from a public appearance, and the other from a L’Oreal ad, and something just didn’t seem right.
She looks…different somehow in the photo at right, though I can’t place what it is. Has she lost a little weight, perhaps? Maybe she’s using a different color of lipstick? Oh wait, I got it, someone Photoshopped the hell out of her face.
It’s pretty remarkable that a tool that’s supposedly used to improve photographs could take one of the most attractive women in the world and make her look like a drag queen, a drag queen who couldn’t make up his mind if he wanted to impersonate Tyra Banks or Jessica Simpson, so he went with a creepy version of both. Honestly, does Beyonce need “improvement”? Is she really too black for Middle America? I mean, we’re not talking Grace Jones here. Naturally L’Oreal flat out denies that any deblackifying took place, and even other folks in the blogosphere, perhaps in hopeful denial that we’re in an era where no matter how attractive you are, there’s always room for “improvement” somewhere, are defending the ad, alternately claiming that Beyonce’s skin has the amazing ability to change shades at will, or that the lighting at the photography shoot was responsible. Considering it made her hair and eye color lighter too, that’s some powerful lighting. If you were to let lighting like that around me you’d be able to see my internal organs.
As is usually the case, Photoshop, once a very powerful and useful photo editing tool, is now being used to bring more evil into the world, by allowing people like Perez Hilton to draw spurting penises on pictures of people like Kirsten Dunst, and magazines like Glamour and Cosmopolitan to force impossible, damn near inhuman beauty standards on even their celebrity cover models. Probably the most famous of these is Redbook taking a photograph of country singer Faith Hill and removing the wrinkles around her eyes, reshaping her shoulders, slimming down her already thin arms, airbrushing out her collarbone, changing her hair color and removing about a quarter inch of back fat. The eerie end result was Hill resembling the character she played in the remake of The Stepford Wives. However, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention Glamour making curvaceous Ugly Betty star America Ferrara look like a human bobble head doll, Elizabeth Arden making Catherine Zeta Jones completely unrecognizable, Disney giving Miley Cyrus freakish Osmond Family teeth, W making Kate Hudson look like some kind of transvestite alien, and Out making Madonna..well, I can’t really explain what they did to her, or why, just that she resembles a praying mantis.
I’m not really sure who any of the art directors of these publications, cosmetics companies or studios think they’re kidding when they insist that extreme measures aren’t taken to doctor photographs of celebrities, or worse, that it was a trick of the light or makeup that gives them that escaped from Dr. Frankenstein’s laboratory appearance. Right, makeup. Hopefully whatever makeup they’re using is applied with a doctor present, because apparently it can change the bone structure of the entire face, and that’s probably rather painful. The question I keep coming back to is why? Does Catherine Zeta Jones really need any help to look better for a camera? What sort of jealous, hatchet-faced gorgon must be working behind the scenes to make that decision? I understand the notion of celebrities as being part of some fantasy world to ordinary people, where no one ever gets a zit or has arms any bigger around than a broomstick, but come on, if things keep going the way they are Vogue is going to start substituting its models with anime characters and RealDolls. Whose fantasy is this? And how can we stop them?
Before anyone points out that this is merely just an illustration of impossible beauty standards that men place on women, you should probably know that male celebrities aren’t exempt from having their faces sandblasted and resculpted into something not quite human for ads and photospreads either. Take a look at this Lancome ad that turns devastatingly handsome Clive Owen into some sort of creature made from Silly Putty (and inexplicably makes his nose look like a penis), and an HBO promo that makes 53 year-old Dana Carvey look like a 35 year-old lesbian.
NOTE: much of the material of this link-heavy post comes courtesy of the hilarious Photoshop Disasters. I don’t normally like doing posts that consist mostly of links, but I was feeling lazy. Feel free to Photoshop a post with actual content here if you like.