Ralph Lauren's photoshop flop
by Jordan Kisner
Well, Polo Ralph Lauren has finally dared to go where no clothing company has gone before: they crossed the photoshop line between eerie perfection and the horrifyingly uncanny. In a recent campaign for their Blue Label, their photo of model Filippa Hamilton was photoshopped so carelessly that Hamilton, who is quite thin but absolutely proportionate, appears to be the victim of some cruel stretching machine. It would appear as though everything from her ribcage downward belongs to a thinner, shorter woman. As one reader on Jezebel pointed out, her pelvis is smaller than her head.
Polo Ralph Lauren, no doubt hoping to avoid a reputation as a company that creates an unhealthy body standard for women, issued this apology: "For over 42 years we have built a brand based on quality and integrity. After further investigation, we have learned that we are responsible for the poor imaging and retouching that resulted in a very distorted image of a woman's body. We have addressed the problem and going forward will take every precaution to ensure that the caliber of our artwork represents our brand appropriately."
While one might give Ralph Lauren a modicum of credit for going through the motions of an apology, this statement is pretty pathetic. Let's not forget that every image Ralph Lauren produces has been "distorted"-- this distortion was simply more obvious. Instead of addressing the way this image loudly calls attention to the ethical complications and social irresponsibility of creating and endorsing an standard of beauty that requires that every (already beautiful) face and body must be altered, they chose instead to plug the "quality and integrity" of their brand. Instead of assuring their customers that they respect and admire the female form and will ensure no further distortions of it, they tell us that they'll take precautions to "ensure that the caliber of our artwork represents our brand appropriately."
Does anyone hear a real apology in there?
As consumers, we should demand more from companies like Polo Ralph Lauren-- a more ethical approach to the representation of the female body, and, if nothing else, a more serious regard for the feelings and intellect of their consumer.