I was struck by a response to my post about aging and the Cover Girl model. The writer suggested that the image had been Photoshopped. That seems very likely. Much has been written recently about how the widespread photoshopped images of women throughout the media have convinced ordinary women that there is something ugly about them. While that is disturbing, at least many of us have become aware of that practice.
More upsetting, however, is the kind of photo manipulation now prevalent in many arenas. Most recently the National Archives of the United States mounted an exhibit about women’s suffrage. In the first image they displayed they had altered the image to remove, among others, mentions of Trump, the word vagina and the word pussy. They defended this travesty with the excuse that they wanted to be nonpolitical and not offend children. How can an exhibit about women’s suffrage be nonpolitical? And what American child over the age of 6 hasn’t heard the words vagina and pussy?
Fortunately a sharp eyed reporter noticed something odd about the image and confronted the National Archives. After the lame excuses, they took the photo down and replaced it with the original unaltered picture. But if a place created to store an archive of American history feels free to manipulate images, there is no stopping others with more nefarious intents.
Sadly most adults past middle age had no training in manipulated photos. In fact, if we wanted to change a photo we had to use a pair of scissors. I have seen photo albums with holes where the face of a disgraced person once appeared. Now the person can be deftly removed from the photo as if he had never been there. But someone can easily be swayed by the “evidence” presented.
The media will be filled with manipulated images in the months leading to the national election here. May we be alert and not fall victim to the trap of “seeing is believing.”