Photographer Rania Matar created a project called “A girl and her room” where she photographed girls and young women in their bedrooms. It sounded like a really interesting project to me, so I clicked the link.
A couple of the rooms really struck me:
These girls have surrounded themselves with images that are impossible to achieve and, in some cases, highly sexualized. Thanks to photoshop, The MODELS in these photographs don’t even look like the photos in real life.
Is it any surprise that girls would put so much emphasis on this when they live in such a thin-centric society? When the First Lady of the United States is at school shaming their fat classmates as a constant reminder of what will happen if they don’t fit the very small “proper” height/weight ratio as defined by the sixty B…B…B… Billion dollar a year diet industry? Even if they weren’t hung intentionally as inspiration, what does it do to a girl to be surrounded by unattainable images in the room that is her sanctuary?
When I was a kid I had Rudyard Kiplings “If” on my ceiling (yes, I was a weird little kid) and 16 years later I can still recite the whole poem and it jumps into my head in lots of situations. Will these images sink in like that for these girls?
What can we do?
There have been some efforts to put warnings on photoshopped pictures and I think it might be a good idea. Even if they are aware that they are photoshopped, does it really sink in for these girls or does the diet industry’s message that if you just have enough discipline you can have any sized body win out? What does it do to them subconsciously? It seems that at least they would have to see the label every time they look at the picture – that would be a start.
It’s just a suggestion but it’s time to do something because we can do better for our girls.