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Photoshop fail(s us)

Well, the snow has finally reached Sweden and I don’t mind. True, it’d been better if it had settled earlier, as a Swede with partial blood from more southern parts of Europe I was screaming and pulling my hair out as it just got darker and darker with nothing bright to settle my eyes on. But it’s still dark, and the snow still brightens things up, so… yaay! What didn’t please my eyes was today’s surprise as I opened the mail, and the new Beyoncé album had arrived.

Yes, I have my skeletons that I listen to. Christina Aguilera, old Spice Girls songs, Lady Gaga, even the occasional Katy Perry because I dig the esthetics in some of her videos. And Beyoncé. I really started listening in 2011, as “Who run the world” was released and there was a different light on her. Not the usual, people pleasing, but someone who acknowledged reality and wanted to flip it a bit. Sorta like me. Well. Apart from selling platinum and being world famous of course 😉 And I was so stoked when she finally “came out” as a feminist in 2013. So this surprise album for the fans was almost a must have, especially with all the visuals, the videos, she released with it. Ooooh, exciting. I had already heard some of “Pretty Hurts”. Great song. Great message. Great video.

And a lot of the album lived up to my expectations. There are some songs on there that will surely become feminist manifestos. Well done. Then a lot of sex songs… well… OK… far be it from me to shame a woman for her sexuality, that’s also very anti-feminist. As I’ve already mentioned, it’s not a matter of sexuality being bad and anti-feminist, I just wish the men would be naked and even it out. I promise there’d be few complaints…

Then there’s “Drunk in Love”, already blogged about by another girl getting the point across well. It wasn’t very stellar to have a half-naked Beyoncé in the video and a fully dressed Jay-Z. Sooo, Jay-Z, you’re so much a man that you can have sex through your clothes? Impressive! And mid-rap as they describe being drunk and getting naughty in their stable relationship (again, this isn’t the bad thing) Jay-Z goes “I’m Ike Turner, eat the cake, Anna-Mae, eat the cake, Anna-Mae” and this one I go fast forward on. If you’ve seen the film “What’s love got to do with it” you know the very disturbing scene he’s referencing, where Ike shoves a cake into Tina Turner’s mouth when she doesn’t want to eat it. A slap in the face (pardon the pun coz it ain’t funny) to any man or woman experiencing domestic abuse. So, naaaah, not well thought out from either party, not from Jay-Z and not from his wife keeping it and proudly lip-synching to it.

But yeah, overall a good and interesting album! What hurt my eyes so much today was the total photoshop fail in the sleeve. I’m surprised Beyoncé didn’t rectify it, she certainly knows how to work her curves and they are her trademark. Honestly, she must’ve been in a hurry, because it is… insane!! This is a skinny woman with a beautiful body. Even looking at the pap pics (which I avoid with great enthusiasm) you can see that the videos and makeup haven’t put on a lot of effects, she’s really almost a statue with those features of hers. But she has an ass. A buttox. Two bum cheeks. A derriere if you will. And not only has photoshop totally erased it, slimmed her legs and elongated them like no tomorrow, it looks like the legs just go right up into her spine. She looks deformed.

And it gets me thinking. I’ve seen this a lot lately. Joanna Garcia, a beautiful girl who just had a baby and also has a rocking body with curves, plays Ariel in Once upon a Time. There her curves are celebrated, but in the promo-pics they are nowhere to be found. Just a slimmed down mermaid with no face lines whatsoever. She looks horrible. It’s like we can’t have any form of beauty in front of us but Photoshop beauty anymore. Like our eyes would hurt if we saw these beatiful people like they really are. Gone are the days when photoshop was used for some airbrushing, blemishes, maybe just a little colour and contrast change here and there and some slight shape changes to fit the cover/project/photo idea. Behold the era of the Photoshop human. Existing only digitally yet we encounter him/her everyday and think they are real. All of them. It’s true. They did a survey where over 70% actually thought celebrity and model bodies looked like they do in the magazine. We think the human exists. Instead it’s just some lame-oh fear of the very real variation of us people and our different body types and skin types. It’s a digital and automatic act, like a sickness on it’s own, not only damaging the real beauty of the object (that’s just what they are at that point) but the perception we all have.

There is a hash tag called #photoshopfail but I would like to propose an addition to it. Make #photoshopfailsus a thing because that’s just what it does in cases like this. It fails us all. It failed Beyonce and her beauty and it failed us who can only see this “perfected” version of her for this album, forever and ever and ever. It fails everyone who can’t tell the difference between a photoshopped body and a normal one. It fails those of us who can, too, because it is too widespread and f*cks with our heads anyway. We can’t ever really escape it with 1000 commercial inprints a day. Everything we know gets distorted and even looking at the “real deal” and comparing we start to wonder if the “real” isn’t a bit odd. We can try to resist, but media really needs to try and change what they’re feeding us with too. Sitting there and starving from avoiding the feed, one can’t really help absorbing a few of the “treats” thrown out there. So lets make it a thing, please. Photoshopfailsus. Sure does.

20140110-232223.jpg Joanna-as-Ariel-fanart-once-upon-a-time-35468950-500-716


About lillabohmen

Swedish lovechild of Kate Bush, Tori Amos and PJ Harvey. 2 albums and 2 EP:s, all available at Spotify, Itunes, and physically. A blog about music, being a female musician in a male dominated business and the occasional feminist/veggie rant. Check out my homepage: for news, bits and bobs and bio, and buy-o of my music. Never lose that creative spark!

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