Look but don’t touch

Alesha Dixon is a fashion model for some of the biggest magazines aimed at young women on the UK high street.

Alarmed at how often her own image appears in print heavily Photoshopped to give her impossibly “perfect” skin and a dangerously thin, impossibly idealised body shape, she sets out in this BBC Three documentary to convince leading fashion brands to run a front cover of her untouched – and stumbles upon a surprising degree of resistance.

Alesha also talks to a young woman from England who at just 18 years old was given breast implant surgery as a birthday gift “to look more like Victoria Beckham”, despite the strong disapproval of her boyfriend and the obvious signs of an eating disorder evident in her painfully skinny shoulders and chest.

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Myself and Lucy watched this program together and agreed that it was sickening that the pressure on young girls to look a certain way comes from other women, so it’s clear that this is where any education campaign to reverse this frightening trend must begin.

I also feel that lads mags like FHM and Nuts could do a lot to help, since they vary rarely change the body shape of the models in their publications, knowing their audience prefer women to look healthy and shapely.

No-one is suggesting that Photoshop shouldn’t be used to clean up the details which the camera lens reveals that the human eye does not. The camera, in other words, does lie – and Photoshop is a big help in correcting artwork which requires a certain look and feel.

There is, however, an ocean of difference between making editorial decisions based upon style and design and allowing an industry to wilfully and consistently ignore the damage being done to people’s lives, as a consequence of the fashion industry ignoring what the girls as young as 8, in this program, are saying about their own negative self body image, which is entirely derived from the idealised celebrity culture, which is being pushed upon them from birth.


3 comments on “Look but don’t touch

  1. Wow, that was a great video. Alesha Dixon reminded me a little of Tyra Banks. I guess I make my own protests against the fashion industry by simply NOT buying the magazines, but even still, the waif culture still bombards me because I am surrounded by people in highschool and work who do read the mags and feel compulsed to do whatever they can to fit the beautiful image.

    I think the overriding theme was the thought that people have ‘faults’ at all. Alesha comments mid-program, while visiting the Victorian Museum, that there are parts of her she dislikes and are flawed. The woman she was interviewing responds, “Why are they flaws? Why aren’t they just the parts that make you so amazingly unique?”

    I feel I should go out and buy more Dove products. Money talks, and if people want to make a difference in the industry, that’s the strongest way to show it. Whatever my usual bargains are, I
    I’ll pay the extra money and support Dove, who supports the images of real, untouched women.

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