By Brandis Ohlsson
Anyone interested in celebrity or fashion has probably heard of the E! Network’s show, Fashion Police. And if you’ve heard of Fashion Police, you’ve probably heard that the network has decided to freeze the show for the foreseeable future due to a number of cast members jumping ship. And you’ve probably heard that cast members started jumping ship after contributor Giuliana Rancic said of Disney star Zendaya Coleman “I feel like she smells like patchouli oil … or maybe weed.”- in response to Zendaya’s wearing dreadlocks on the red carpet.
I was discussing this with a friend last week. I told him I thought it was great that the network was standing up to bullying. “Is it bullying?” he asked. “Can you really bully someone who puts themselves in the spotlight? Someone who asks for celebrity? I always considered bullying to be when the strong are picking on the weak. Can the weak bully the strong?” He had a point.
@wephotoshoppedwhat is an anonymous Instagram account that’s made headlines in recent weeks for it’s possible bullying of fashion bloggers. The account posts photos of bloggers (and some celebrities) and points out areas of the photos posted that have clearly been digitally altered with pink arrows. “My trademark pink arrows are never meant to point out someone’s ‘flaws,’” the anonymous user wrote on one of their posted images, “but rather to draw attention to the obvious Photoshopping.”
There are too many angles on this to make it cut and dry, bullying or no bullying, but my gut says this is not bullying. How many magazine covers have sites like thefashionspot.com or the Cut Blog, posted as “Photoshop Fails?” They are guised as empowerment pieces, declaring to the magazines that the models and celebrities on the covers are beautiful as is and don’t need to be photoshopped. Many go as far as to say that the photoshopping is dangerous to young girls, and lend to unhealthy body images.
All valid opinions. I wonder though, how is this not considered bullying, but @wephotoshoppedwhat is? In fact, I would even go a step further and say that fashion bloggers editing photos of themselves is more harmful than photoshopped photos of celebrities and models in magazines are.
When Madonna shows up on a magazine cover at 56 years old looking 25, we all know it’s been photoshopped, we’re expecting it. When a girl posts a photo of herself on social media, we’re not expecting that it has been digitally altered. In fact, it surprises me to think that so many people are editing their “candid” photos of themselves.
Where @wephotoshoppedwhat loses my support is the fact that whomever the mystery poster is, they’re staying mum and keeping it anonymous, not even responding to media requests for comments in response to the negative press they’ve been receiving. If they are in fact taking a stand against photoshopping, then they should have nothing to be ashamed of- show your face and shout your name from the rooftops girl (or boy!)- you’re standing up for something and this day in age, that’s a rare and pridworthy trait to have.
Being anonymous make your motives questionable. Cyber bullies and internet trolls rarely unveil their real life identities either, and there’s a reason for that.