Mightier Than The Pen

Making The World A Bitter Place

Teen Vogue Vows to Use Only Digitally Manipulated Images of Models

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New York (AP) – In response to Seventeen Magazine’s newly announced policy of refraining from the use of digitally manipulated photos, its rival Teen Vogue has adopted the opposite policy: it will only publish images of models after they have undergone digital enhancement of some kind.

Seventeen publicized its policy after a campaign by a Maine teenager prompted them to make their image policy more transparent. The campaign focused on extracting  commitment from the magazine to provide a more realistic portrayal of its teen modelsand Seventeen responded. Teen Vogue, however, intends to pursue digital alteration of models’ images as far as is profitable, according to a statement by Condé Nast, Teen Vogue’s parent company.

“Our competitors are welcome to try scoring a few short-lived brownie points with do-gooders,” the statement read, in part. “Teen Vogue, however, will continue to give its readers what they want: images of impossibly perfect teen models guaranteed to harm adolescent girls’ self-esteem.”

Teen Vogue Editor-in-Chief Amy Astley, before (top) and after (above) her portrait was digitally manipulated using Adobe Photoshop.

The statement continued: “Our advertisers – the real source of our revenue – have a stake in keeping our readers dependent on their products and services, and that can only be served by perpetuating our readers’ sense of inadequacy.”

Teen Vogue Editor-in-Chief Amy Astley addressed reporters today at a press conference, and pointed to the increasing sophistication with which teen girls can be manipulated into buying cosmetics, hair care products, push-up bras, and even investing in plastic surgery. “It would be an irresponsible use of our shareholders’ resources to waste all that potential revenue,” Astley noted. “Our first responsibility is to our parent company; the paying customer can go to Hell.”

Teen Vogue‘s move comes amid a rising tide of popular sentiment opposed to the use of digitally altered images in fashion magazine, and not only in the U.S. An Israeli law, the first of its kind, was passed in May, outlawing the publication of manipulated fashion photography created in the country.

“They’re obviously betting on the sentiment becoming no more than a fad,” said fashion magazine industry analyst Slim Stiles. “What’s different about Teen Vogue‘s announcement isn’t its existence – everyone does it – but its stated commitment to old-school, P.T. Barnum marketing.” Late nineteenth-century entertainment magnate Barnum was famous for his cynical exploitation of American entertainment clientele.

Stiles voiced cautious optimism over Teen Vogue‘s strategy, noting a precedent: Hollywood has not suffered significantly despite nearly a century of promoting impossibly svelte and attractive women as role models for American women to emulate. “You might quibble and say that teen magazines aren’t trying to fill the same niche – that they’re not selling a fantasy as entertainment. That’s only half-true: they’re selling fantasy, alright, but presenting it as attainable reality.”

The Teen Vogue press statement also included an announcement that Condé Nast had acquired a 20% stake in Butler, Riess & Co., a firm that handles advertising for therapists and psychiatrists who focus on clients with body-image issues.

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Written by Thag

July 4, 2012 at 9:05 pm

3 Responses

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  1. If a picture is worth a thousand words, how much is a digitally altered picture worth?

    Lorna's Voice

    July 5, 2012 at 9:45 pm


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