While on some level we all know that the images we see in the media do not represent real bodies, it’s easy to be influenced by unrealistic standards of beauty.

H & M recently disclosed its practice of using “virtual models’ in its online catalogue. This takes airbrushing and retouching even further: they take the face of a real model and superimpose it on a computer-generated image of a woman’s body. Obviously, that image is a cookie-cutter ideal that’s unrealistic for most women.

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In some ways, knowing these images are completely computer-made may help us view them in a more realistic light.

What do you think of the use of “virtual models”? Does it help to know that they aren’t real people at all? Is it any different than the excessively manipulated images in magazines and on billboards?

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