Shocking Video Reveals Photoshop Trickery

Just how crazy-unrealistic can photo retouching be? Crazy enough to make a perfectly attractive normal-looking woman into an unrecognizable, mannequin-like version of herself. And while that may not be an entirely new concept, there’s a striking example of the practice currently making its way around social media, wowing all who see it.

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The 36-second clip — which is an edited version of a video created by Global Democracy that first appeared on YouTube well over a year ago — has inexplicably resurfaced with a vengeance this week. In it, we see an unknown woman with a blond bob, red bikini, and creamy-pale skin become transformed into a wide-eyed, long-haired, heavily made-up Barbie who winds up much taller and thinner than she first looked.

Thanks to the magic of time-lapse video, we see the transformation happen right before our eyes, first with some serious help from makeup and hair stylists. Then comes the intense Photoshop session, which lengthens the woman’s neck, trims her stomach, thins her thighs, widens her eyes, lifts her breasts, lengthens her legs, shrinks her behind, and adds a dewy, golden glow to every inch of her skin.

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The footage seems to have gotten everyone’s attention because of how it so perfectly epitomizes everything that’s upsetting about digitally altered images. We’ve seen evidence of it way too many times — when Melissa McCarthy was made to look skinnier in her poster for “The Heat,” recently, and when a slew of other celebs, including Sarah Jessica Parker, Beyoncé, and Lady Gaga, have been airbrushed into skeletal, alien-like creatures in various campaigns and on various magazine covers.

Altering images has become an industry standard, but it has slowly been igniting some backlash. Last year, a group of teen activists led a campaign to get Teen Vogue and Seventeen to ban the use of Photoshop. And then, earlier this year, the U.K. department store Debenhams vowed to cut back on the practice of digitally altering photos as a way of “encouraging positive body image.” It was a great, much-needed kick-start to what will hopefully be the beginning of the end of airbrushing (yeah, right).

"It tends to create an unrealistic view of what people should look like and what people do look like," Sarah Maria, body-image expert and author of "Love Your Body, Love Your Life,” explained to Yahoo Shine during the whole McCarthy-poster brouhaha. "It certainly has a negative effect on women, mostly because they then pressure themselves to live up to an unrealistic standard."

At least in this video, we can see the altering for what it is. Which is kind of a nice relief.

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