My friend is photoshopping and editing her photos to make herself look thinner and I don’t know what to say to her.
I feel like it needs to be addressed because the photoshop is really obvious – glaringly obvious when you only slightly zoom in.
She recently posted a really nice mirror pic of herself but then really obviously edited it to make her legs look skinnier. She’s got svelte legs as it is so it makes no sense to me why she feels the need to do it.
When she posted the photo online, a couple of mutual friends messaged me to ask if I’d noticed how she’s photoshopped it. I didn’t answer them because, although they were expressing concern as opposed to talking nastily, I wouldn’t want her to ever think I was talking about her behind her back. But I think this proves that people are very aware of what she’s doing and so it’s not having the illusionary effect she’s hoping for.
How do I bring this up with her without hurting her feelings? I’ve fallen out with friends in the past when I’ve thought I’ve been doing the right thing but have said something a little bit insensitively without intending…I don’t want that to happen here. If anything I want my friend to know she’s beautiful and doesn’t need to edit her pics.
For obvious reasons here please would you keep my letter to you anonymous.
A huge number of people photoshop their images for a variety of personal reasons. The desire to look different or look like someone else does send a wave of sadness over me as I wish there was more of an acceptance of personal beauty and comfort in one’s own skin in society.
Your friend, for her own reasons, has chosen to photoshop her images. She is very much entitled to do this without having to seek approval from anyone.
I have always said to Melanie that it would be upsetting if I thought friends were discussing me and felt that they could not share it for any reason, whether good or bad. Therefore, because the photoshop is obvious and is making your friend a topic of discussion, I would recommend telling her. I trust that you feel your relationship is close enough and that you feel confident that it is your place to point this out.
Be very sensitive in your approach. Focus on one image, i.e. the mirror image. Do not ask interrogate her as to her motives for the editing, especially not at this point. Just discreetly inform her that people are talking about the evident photoshopping in her images. So that your friend does not feel she is being judged by you, make her think that you are interested and ask her how she does the photoshopping – almost as though you are asking her for tips. Your friend is going to feel humiliated at being found out, so it is far better that she can be relaxed discussing this subject with you in a dialogue where she is being invited to speak about it openly without shame. This way you are informing her that people know she is photoshopping and will be inviting her to discuss it without forthrightly challenging her about it.
Gauge her reaction as this news may shock her, and she may not want to talk about it, which if this is the case, you must accept her choice. You can carefully bring it up again on another occasion but at least she is aware that you know and when you do mention it again it will not be so much of a shock to her. Your friend might subconsciously be grateful that you have.
Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Your friend does not see what everyone else sees. To you she looks different, to your friend she feels that she is enhancing her appearance. Your friend may be tempted to stop photoshopping or may look at improving how she does it. She will not do this forever, I am sure. As her friend, you may just have to wait it out.