Look Who’s Talking!

The Mamas weigh in on the subject of airbrushing school photos and and garner a “Best opinion” on the topic. See what The Week has to say …



Is it overkill to airbrush school photos?

Parents are increasingly asking school-portrait services to digitally revamp their grade-school kids’ appearances. Where will it stop?


Best Opinion: Mamas on Call, Indiana Daily Stud

Photo retouching, once confined to fashion magazines, is becoming routine in a far less glamorous domain — the “wholesome” school portrait. Photography companies around the country offer the service to parents who want to erase scars, acne, and braces, or pop a missing tooth back into a first grader’s mouth. Technology has made it easy and cheap to remove eyeglass glare ($6) and whiten teeth ($10 to $20), but some parents are going further and having their kids’ hair digitally re-cut. Is electronically airbrushing classroom photos taking the quest for perfection a ent, Jezebelstep too far?

This is scary, and unhealthy: Those little childhood imperfections, from missing teeth to stubborn cowlicks, are what make “those goofy class pictures” so “fresh, real, and adorable,” says Ellen Schrier at Mamas on Call. Airbrushing them is part of a broader and “misguided” effort to make kids “perfect.” So don’t do it — it only sends “kids the message that they arenot good enough.”
“How do you spell ‘perfect’?”

Nice photos might be good for young egos: Retouching school photos might boost a kid’s self-esteem, says Tyler Chernesky at the Indiana Daily Student. “At an age when individuals are incredibly sensitive about their appearance,” it might be worth a few extra bucks to get rid of unwanted blemishes. Yes, we all “need to know and love who we are, but we don’t have to stare at it every time we open the photo album.”

It is time to draw the line: Retouching school photos has been going on for decades, says Lauri Apple at Jezebel. But it’s not just high-school seniors any more — “this new wave of services amounts to micro-managing the faces of people whose self-esteem and self-identity are still developing.” And it’s clearly getting out of hand: “One can just imagine requests for… fixes ‘so he doesn’t look so much like his dad.'” Let’s hope the publicity will lead to “some sort of standards or limitations….”
“Retouching school pix — a crazy, growing industry”
“Would someone please airbrush me?”

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Ellen and Rachel are two old friends and “expert” mamas—one a pediatrician and one a family therapist—with fifty years of parenting experience between them.

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One response to “Look Who’s Talking!”

  1. Dr Efrat Schorr

    The message to all people needs to be: what is inside of us is much more important than what others see on the outside!
    As parents, we need to make sure that our kids get that message from us. As parents we need to make sure that our own behavior communicates that message too!
    Lets face it, there is not that much to be done about our appearance – its how we are made. Who we are inside is what we CAN control: how much we learn, how much we care about and take the time to help others, how nice we are to other people.
    Especially for our daughters – we need to scream the message that appearance is not the main aspect of a person’s value.
    Dr Efrat Schorr

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