How Photoshopped pictures harms girl's image
How Photoshopped Pictures Harms Girl\'s Image. In a recent study titled “The Effects of Digitally Enhanced Photos on Product Evaluation and Young Girls’ Self-Esteem,\" Adilson Borges, Associate Dean for Faculty and Research at NEOMA Business School of France, discusses the impact of computer enhanced images on girls and the role of ethics in marketing.
In a recent study titled “The Effects of Digitally Enhanced Photos on Product Evaluation and Young Girls’ Self-Esteem," Adilson Borges, Associate Dean for Faculty and Research at NEOMA Business School of France, discusses the impact of computer enhanced images on girls and the role of ethics in marketing.
For his research, Borges interviewed 225 young girls in France. The analysis of the comments gathered allowed him to highlight the combined effect produced by a computer enhanced image on a consumer and a marketing professional. "The results confirmed that digital enhancing not only affects self-perception negatively but also seems to produce an important ethical dilemma for the marketer," said Borges.
A positive impact on buying...
On one hand, computer enhanced model photos have a positive impact on product evaluation. "Digital enhancing of images seems to improve the product evaluation with obvious impacts on the product’s profitability." The results of the study show that a retouched image of a model increases the consumer’s willingness to pay more for a product (higher by almost 20% when the model on a photo was retouched). It increases the attractiveness of the product, thus explaining the popularity of these techniques among marketing and advertising professionals.
... but danger to young girls
However, the study also shows that computer enhanced images have a negative effect when it comes to self-perception among young girls. "The research shows that the use of these techniques has a negative impact on self-image in young girls, reinforcing an ideal of beauty that is difficult to attain, and resulting in societal implications that cannot be ignored." Girls exposed to a computer-enhanced photo declare lower self-esteem, lower social assurance, and a greater desire to change their physical appearance than girls exposed to the same photo in its non-enhanced version.
Measures to reverse the trend
Given this situation, Borges evaluated the potential effectiveness of a warning message (like health warning messages) explaining that a photo has been digitally enhanced. The study shows that use of such messages on photos do not appear to reduce the negative effects on self-perception. "This finding should invite stakeholders in public health to find other more effective measures at helping young women to better manage the social pressure to attain the "perfect" beauty. Further research in this area should help identify ways that would curb the harmful effects of computer-enhanced photos on self-esteem, without reducing the positive effects that these techniques have on product evaluation, which could mitigate the ethical dilemma faced by marketing professionals."
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