‘Let’s rid York of airbrushed images’

Airbrushed images, like this one at Sports Direct in York, put pressure on young people. Photographs: York Campaign For Body Confidence
Airbrushed images, like this one at Sports Direct in York, put pressure on young people. Photographs: York Campaign For Body Confidence
Manipulated photographs of stick-thin models are plastered across the city, damaging the self-esteem of young people. It’s time this changed, say Megan Guest, Molly Horner, Lucy Freer and Alison Coates


Body confidence is an issue that affects thousands of girls every day. They look in the mirror and think that their appearance is not good enough.

Our generation is particularly affected by a lack of body confidence because the modern media and fashion industries now try to impose on us the “perfect” way that women and girls should look. Their airbrushed images of thin women prevent girls feeling confident about their body and being who they really are.

This use of unnaturally thin models to advertise every sort of product – from sportswear to furniture – undermines girls’ confidence about the way they look. But it’s not only girls being pressured to look a certain way, many boys are too. The photos of products that boys want to buy are nearly always advertised by muscular, six-pack men, another ridiculous and unhealthy perspective.

That is why we started the York Campaign For Body Confidence. This is an issue affecting us and many teenagers around the world.

Every day we are exposed to manipulated images of women around York, as you see in the photos we have taken. These images make us think that this is the only version of a healthy body that we should aspire to. Clearly it’s not. To achieve that skinny body, models go on extremely unhealthy diets.

The campaign goes national: Molly and Alison prepare to go on Woman's Hour on BBC Radio 4. See below for a link to the interview
The campaign goes national: Molly and Alison prepare to go on Woman’s Hour on BBC Radio 4. See below for a link to the interview

One of the main reasons we started this campaign is because we four, Megan Guest, Molly Horner, Lucy Freer and Alison Coates, were walking around town and saw airbrushed photos in nearly all the shops. You can tell they have been altered by how the skin is one natural, perfect colour all the way through, and how you can’t find any wrinkles under or around the eyes, which most people have from an early age.

We want more girls to challenge these fake pictures and the prejudices they feed. It’s not fair or right to pressure girls (especially at a vulnerable age) to look a certain way and change how we look.

We are trying to get shops in York to take down pictures of airbrushed and size zero models advertising their products and replace them with pictures up of real customers for a week to promote body confidence!

Support our campaign and check out our blog, Twitter and Facebook page. Every view really matters.

 

We took these images in York

 

york-body-image-zara

This picture was taken in Zara. To get like this, lots of fakery was probably applied to the image and the model might well have felt pressured into unhealthy antics to make her look like the “perfect” woman. So even models are being pressurised to look thin.

 

york-body-image-sports-direct-2

This picture is another example of how size zero models are advertising our clothes. To get this body as a model, most of them have to go through lots of ridiculous and unhealthy antics like making yourself sick to lose weight. We took this one at Sports Direct.

 

york-body-image-debenhams

We took this picture in Debenhams. You can see from the fact there are no blemishes or even one tiny spot that this picture might be airbrushed. Another clue is the way the lighting falls on her face perfectly.

 

york-body-image-river-island

This picture was taken in River Island and you can see his skin is one perfect white colour all the way through his cheek, suggesting that it might have been airbrushed. Also the red background brings out his “perfectly shaded” skin to make the customers believe that it’s not been faked.

 

york-body-image-new-look

We took this picture at New Look as another example of an airbrushed model. People don’t look like that. It’s not fair to put pictures of pretty, airbrushed girls on shop windows. What is wrong with the shop’s normal customers?

 

york-body-image-republic

See how this boy’s skin is perfectly toned all the way through – under his eyes, across his cheek and around the mouth? He has no wrinkles or spots like real people. This picture is very likely to have been airbrushed. We took this at Republic.