We live in a world where the line between fact and fallacy is a murky blur. Technology has made it possible for others to deceive us in a hundred, perhaps a thousand new and creative ways. I suppose those of us who have been around for more than a few years aren’t surprised, and hopefully aren’t mislead quite as often as the younger generation. However, I think it is important that we watch out for each other and alert our family and friends to the potential pitfalls out there in the world.
One of the deceptions that I personally find alarming is the advertising aimed at girls and young women. Most of it revolves entirely around fashion, makeup, and dieting. Most of it implies that there is a product, program, diet, design that will help them achieve perfection. However, most of the “perfection” they display is the result of clever tricks and outright deception.
I recently saw a mascara ad in a magazine that attracted more than my usual quick glance because the actress portrayed looks so symmetrically perfect, and I know from watching her most of her life that she isn’t. So either her bone structure has dramatically changed or someone knows a whole lot more about Photoshop than I do!! But what really surprised me was the almost unreadable type at the bottom of the ad that reads: Lash inserts were applied to add lash count prior to adding ____”. Wait a minute…the mascara claims to add volume to your lashes, but they actually achieve that by adding lash insets????? Do young women know that? Or do they just put on more and more of the product while wondering why their lashes don’t look as full as the models?
That ad is just a tiny example of the possible deceptions in printed advertising where faces and figures can be dramatically altered by computer experts. Very little of what we see on our television screens is even close to reality. If you don’t watch it with the absolute certainty that some or all of it has been enhanced, altered, or edited then you are naïve at best. Anything we see or read online must be suspect until we verify it through several sources. And even people we see face to face are often a product of hair coloring, makeup, clever costuming or even plastic surgery.
There is nothing inherently wrong with any of this…unless the reader/viewer is young enough or gullible enough to believe they can achieve the same results through legitimate means. And that is my fear in regard to girls and young women. I don’t want them to see all these perfect, plastic models and movie stars and believe that they can look like that if they just buy all the products and try really, really hard. It’s bad enough to give them the impression that they need to…I’ll whine about that another day. But let’s at least warn them that what they see is seldom real.
BTW- My photos today of two juvenile scissortail flycatchers are very real- grainy and a little dark. Taken through a dirty window (washing it this morning!) just before sunset. But I was absolutely thrilled to have two of them so close to the house for so long. There has been an adult flitting around for days, but it seldom lands for more than a few seconds.