Monthly Archives: March 2012

Photoshop: Leave My Thighs Alone!

By Samantha White

It’s an uphill battle that we will fight for years to come, and isn’t even close to being won. It was mostly fought by women at first, but now men are jumping on the bandwagon as well. Moms. Models. Celebrities. People everywhere are starting to come out of the wood works to fight:

PHOTOSHOP.

It’s lovely to think that some of Hollywood’s biggest stars want us to see what they actually look like, rather than the photo editor’s Photoshop skills. Kate Winslet has been known to object retouching. Jamie Lee Curtis has even posed in her underwear sans makeup and photo manipulations!

A little eye whitening and skin brightening never hurt anybody, but I’ve seen magazine covers where the Hollywood starlet isn’t even recognizable as herself. Cinching waists down by inches and lengthening legs and arms happens all too often and is giving young women the wrong idea about body image, if you ask me. As if it’s not already difficult enough to be a young girl in today’s society, the women they see plastered all over magazines and advertisements have unreal proportions.

Faith Hill Photoshop

Faith Hill's Redbook cover and original image

Some people have even gone so far as to propose restrictions or a ban on Photoshop usage. The American Medical Association is reportedly urging advertisers to reduce the amount of photo editing to models in ads, as well as to choose “healthier” looking models. They have expressed fears about “portraying models with body types only attainable with the help of photo editing software.” Well put, AMA.

I don’t necessarily think that a ban on Photoshop is likely, so I think we need to change our perspectives on it. Instead of reading these magazines and buying these products, why don’t we teach our young girls that it’s far more important to be healthy than it is to look like these modified versions of women? We need to make sure that they are aware of how phony these photos are so they understand that it’s normal to have thighs that touch and average length legs. We need to make sure to protect their personal body image and remind them what “normal” is.

Here’s a link of funny Photoshop flubs to take your mind off of the above frustrations!

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My name is Jeanne C. and I’m a smartphone addict

By Jeanne Corrigan

I forgot my cell phone charger when I was out on the road a few weeks ago, and I was struck by how much the idea of being without my phone bothered me. The phone has pretty much become an appendage, something I have with me at all times, especially when I’m traveling. I have an iPhone, and I love it. It’s a never ending pipeline of information, the ability to know things (and I like to know things). I joke that if I could have a superpower, it would be omniscience and my iPhone gets me pretty close – when I don’t know something, the iPhone usually does. It’s magical.
But it’s possible that, for me (and evidently for many other people), my phone has become too important. According to a recent survey in the UK by SecurEnvoy, two-thirds of that population suffers from nomophobia, or no mobile-phone phobia. Seriously. They’re calling it an addiction. And – more good news – women tend to be affected more than men.

In my case, I wonder what being so attached to my phone communicates to my 6-year-old son. I want him to feel listened to, that I’m present and available to him when we’re together (as much as I can being a working single mom). I wonder what he’s seeing when I check my phone, when I’m interacting with the world outside our little circle. He can’t see what I’m doing, but he must sometimes conclude that it has priority over him. The phone is literally in between him and me. What’s that about?

So, this addiction thing has been on my mind, and I’ve started an experiment that I call “wireless on the weekend.” I turn off my phone or leave it at home for a good chunk of either Saturday or Sunday. I’m only a few weeks into it, but I’m telling you, it makes a difference. There is a feeling of greater substance as I go about my day, as though I’m standing more solidly on the planet. The next step is to commit to a whole day and see what that feels like. After all, the first step in dealing with any addiction is admitting you have a problem.

SXSW Interactive Review: Designing Experiences for Women

By Stephanie Milam

As mentioned in last week’s post, On Your Mark had its eyes on several SXSW Interactive talks, including a few about women and the digital world. Of these, Designing Experiences for Women presented by Jessica Ivins and Brad Nunnally proved to be quite compelling to us as experts on women. While we have been aware of the gaping holes in marketing to women, Ivins and Nunnally provided great design and marketing mantras for those trying to reach a female audience. Below are a few of our favorites:

  • “When marketing to women, emphasize benefits over features or specs – how can your product enhance her life?”
  • “If you don’t do research, you’re guessing what customers want. With research, customers tell you what they want.”
  • “Don’t stereotype your audience, understand them.”

An interesting example Ivins and Nunnally used to show design-gone-wrong for female users is online dating sites such as Match.com. One of the biggest frustrations for women is the overwhelming communication received from men – both in number of messages and content. Instead of being a safe place to meet people with similar interests and goals, it can become yet another arena in which to be badgered. The websites therefore do not meet the online-dating need of women to have comfortable communication.

While it’s important for designers to make things user-friendly and engaging for women, they can’t completely forget the men when their product or service is marketed to both genders. By going too far femme, they risk alienating or even emasculating the male audience. Through online dating site Herway.com, only women can initiate communication because men are not allowed to search through profiles. Feedback from Ivins and Nunnally’s audience on Twitter indicated many of the men would never use Herway.com, and some women said that they wouldn’t expect men to want to try this online dating site either.

@vdyej Anyone know a self-respecting man who would sign up for dating #herway? Doubt it. #designwmn

To reach an appropriate balance of incorporating the needs and preferences of both genders, Ivins and Nunnally recommend – what else – research! The most important thing marketers and designers can do to successfully reach their customers/audience is to understand them.