Carina has been typing on the internets before there was a www in front of everything. This is why she’s cranky and wants to know when you’ll get off her lawn. She resides in a hopelessly outdated home in the Mountain West with a mathematician and three children hell-bent on destruction. Her laundry is not done, but her Twitter is totally up to date. Carina does not have a Tumblr, because get serious.

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H&M Using Fake Models

Some pretty crazy news surfaced last week about H&M’s policy of using the same digitally altered model’s body over and over. Apparently, H&M has been just changing the head of the model and altering the color of the digitally rendered body to make a composite person to model clothes. Those models?

You can tell if you’re looking closely at the picture: the body is impossibly proportioned, strangely glowing, and perfectly angular. The heads look a little weird and not quite right.

Are you as disgusted by all of this as I am? I’m wondering if a serious discussion with our children about the issue of out-of-control photo retouching and unattainable beauty standards will now have to be part of modern parenting. I feel like I have a responsibility to show my kids before and after photographs so that they understand that these images are not real, they are cartoons.

How can I raise a daughter to value herself when she’s confronted with these images (even if they are fake models, the human eye has a hard time of explaining to the brain that it’s not real)?

How do I raise my sons to understand that real women are imperfect when they’re being programmed to expect unrealistic standards of beauty? If all your sons see are sprayed and airbrushed images, will it ultimately mean real women will be found lacking?

I’m deeply uncomfortable with these fake digital bodies. And you?



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Comments (12)

  1. D 05/28/2012 at 9:52 am

    I actually don’t look too different from these models. This isn’t bragging, I’m serious. Their body types look like a “healthy” thin (I am no doctor, though). As an artist, I don’t feel like the proportions are too far off. Sure, they look a little Photoshopped, but Photoshop makes things look clean, we are less distracted by personal details. We are shopping, shouldn’t be looking at models. I remain firm on this–people think too much on models. They are clothes hangers. Stop comparing so much. I used to do this and I realized that some people have bigger boobies, some are going to be skinnier. But less model personality means less to look at, we look at the clothes. I would like to see more variety in shapes in a randomizer, but that would complicate things for a programmer. Hopefully someday we will see more of that. I’m sorry if the fake models are upsetting to anyone, but I think it is a good idea. But maybe as a model myself, I should be the more upset one!!

  2. alissa 01/09/2012 at 9:22 pm

    deeply uncomfortable. and the sad/scary part is that it’s not just little girls that are affected. i (36 yr old female) feel the effects in my own ability to self love. and men feel the effects of such a lie. at what point will we say “enough”? how bad will it have to get?

    on a shallow note, h&m has such great stuff. now what can i do to appease my ethical shopping conscience?!?!

  3. TLC 01/04/2012 at 1:07 pm

    I don’t get what the big deal is. It’s online shopping, you try different items on together to make outfits on the bodies. Could you imagine how horrid that would look if they used real live models? She would have to attempt to get the same exact pose in the same exact camera angle every single time so the clothes would layer properly and look right.
    I don’t know if you know how hard that actually is.
    It’s not like they use fake women in their actual ads,
    these are like paper dolls. It’s a toy.
    Teach your children the difference between fantasy and reality. And first of all teach them to be healthy.
    There is nothing beautiful about being unhealthy.
    And I know some beautiful curvy healthy women as well as some awkwardly thin yet beautiful and still healthy women.
    Just like barbie, she’s a doll, that’s it. Leave her and her size alone. Your child needs to learn to want to be a healthy unique individual instead of a look alike paper cut out.

    • alicia 01/18/2012 at 12:27 pm

      Of course you don’t get what the big deal is. You glorify the pageant industry on your TV show.

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  5. Natasha 12/16/2011 at 12:56 pm

    My son, 12, has a huge crush on Liz Lemon, which I hope bodes well for his taste (smart and funny). I also hope that having strong women in his real world life minimizes the impact of glossy, unrealistic images. He recently commented that a woman in a perfume ad seemed odd. She held her full lips parted in a way meant to be sexy, but he was concerned there might be a reason she couldn’t close her mouth.

  6. Melody Newey 12/16/2011 at 6:34 am

    I like how your posts are often compelling and thought-provoking. And I can’t seem to respond without pulling out a soap box. . . Yes, this is The Golden Age of untruth. We are a bless-ed generation, indeed. When my kids were around nine or ten years old I started saying things like, “What group of people do you think this advertisement is trying to appeal to? And what is the real message here?” Your kids will be fine, thanks to you and others like you.

    Plus – if we, as women, love and honor our bodies as they are – our daughters and sons will see and hear far more powerful messages at home about what is desirable than anything the media can communicate.

  7. Alison Kallstrom 12/15/2011 at 11:04 pm

    Wow – this is so disturbing. Why do we do this in our society? Why can’t anything be real anymore?

  8. BreAnne 12/15/2011 at 3:00 pm

    You have found the only reason I know of to hate H&M, but it’s a good one

  9. Erica Fehrman 12/15/2011 at 12:15 pm

    I think this should sort of advertising behavior should be considered false advertising and be susceptible to ad pulls and fines.

  10. Wendy G. 12/15/2011 at 11:59 am

    This is ridiculous. For a brand that is so influential to the teenage and young adult audience, it is totally inappropriate. Who the hell is running their marketing and advertising? If they were doing proper testing they’d get slaughtered. This is the kind of shit that makes me never want to shop at these stores again. It doesn’t help that their quality is terrible.

  11. Kalli 12/15/2011 at 9:24 am

    Nope, because they look just like mine. Take that H&M.