Super-airbrushed representations of women and girls are getting out of hand–and now H&M isn’t even bothering with real models, instead choosing to use computer generated bodies to sell their clothing. They use computers to create slender, flawless bodies and then paste real models’ heads onto them, creating an illusion far beyond the usual Photoshop retouching.
H&M has defended their actions, saying that they use CGI models “to show off the clothes,” but we know that these are no mannequins: they’re idealized, impossible bodies designed to look “real,” with the implication that it’s possible and desirable for their customers’ bodies to look the same way. We agree with the Norweigan Broadcasting Corporation, who said “This illustrates very well the sky-high aesthetic demands placed on the female body. The demands are so great that H&M, among the poor photo models, cannot find someone with both body and face that can sell their bikinis.”
It’s like SPARK’s Bailey Shoemaker Richards says: “Wouldn’t it have been a better idea to make (or, I don’t know, hire) a group of models with diverse body shapes and sizes to give girls a real idea of how their clothes will fit?”
The technology that H&M uses has the potential to improve an online shopping experience, not limit it. Why not let customers create CGI bodies based on their own measurements, allowing them to get an idea of what the clothing might look like on their own frames? It’s time to get honest, H&M: drop the fake bodies or expand their sizes and shapes.
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