by Jedidah Taylor, Managing Editor

As a journalist, Photoshop is a staple.  Cropping, brightening, and everything else that needs a little “touching-up” can transform a photo to a master piece. As a teenage girl, a little foundation can help me achieve an airbrushed effect on days I want to feel did-up. Photoshop can be an amazing tool, but when does a line between a tool and crutch become drawn? The ability to be able to edit your appearance on demand through virtual or physical means effects our sense of perception versus reality.

Two cases of a blurred reality come to mind. The first is that of Kim Kardashian. The reality TV star featured personal none touched-up images on her show Keeping up with the Kardashians. Later, she posted pictures from the same shoot that clearly undergone photoshopping. Her neck was elongated, her butt was enlarged, and her waist was clenched. The public argued that, yes, Kim Kardashian does do commercial shoots where photoshopping is acceptable to get that professional-glamorous appeal, but when it came to something she advertised as a personal shoot to keep in her own home it was obscene. My thoughts stand that as a public figure, Kardashian should demonstrate a higher respect for self appearance; this has nothing to do with what she had on or didn’t have have on for-that-matter, but more so that in a “personal shoot” she will reflect on years from now and see an image that is not a true representation of who she once was. That doesn’t just apply to images of people, but also buildings, landmarks, and art –highly edited photography leave no reminiscence for historical revenue. On the contrary, the public’s argument on a figurehead likr Kardashian is void because her whole “look” and fame is built off materialism and superficial appearances.

The second matter at hand is a tutorial video that went viral on Instagram. A women demonstrated how makeup could be used to give the illusion of abdominal muscles or muscle definition lines when wearing a crop top. Makeup to enhance your features for a desired occasion, fine. Makeup to create features that can be created through repetitive hard work, problem. Not only does the abuse of makeup in this manner take away from the determination, hard work, and discipline of those who’ve spent countless hours to obtain their physical goals, but it also distorts the self standard of beauty and appreciation. Doing acts as the one demonstrated in the video is like telling yourself “This is what I need to look like.”

By continuing to manipulate our appearance on large scales, and fearing or shaming the presentation of our untouched image (virtual or physical) we will create a norm where our possible self is superior than our actual self. By idealizing a perception of the perfect image instead of glorifying the bodies we are actually in, we will lose the sensation of beauty. Remember, the beauty of being a human is that anything that is perceivable is achievable; the beauty of reality is that we create our own realities, so why use graphics and effects to make-up perceptions when we have the power to manifest our realities. Utilize love, passion, determination, discipline, and many other tools that are at your fingertips!