Last June, freelance journalist Esther Honig asked artists from 19 countries around the world to Photoshop her face to make her “beautiful.”
Shortly afterwards, her close college friend Priscilla Yuki Wilson released her own experiment on biracial beauty.
Inspired by the efforts of these two women, Marie Southard Ospina decided to do a similar test — but with a “plus-sized twist.”
Ospina, an associate fashion and beauty editor for Bustle, wanted to replicate the experiment with a focus on the relationship between weight and beauty.
“I was fascinated by the way that editors altered her [Esther Honig’s] actual bone structure and frame, especially considering she is quite a slender woman,” Ospina told Business Insider.
“I was curious to see how editors around the world would ‘fix’ a photo of me, what with my having characteristics so often deemed as ‘flaws’ — like a double chin and a chubby face.”
Growing up in the Western world has made her very aware of how her size is seen as a negative. “Stereotypes include, but are not limited to: laziness, selfishness, stupidity, naiveté and even a lower socioeconomic class,” she explained in Bustle.
Ospina set out to challenge the notion that “thin is the only beautiful,” and sent her picture to 21 Photoshop experts around the world. While the results of Ospina’s experiment are drastically different from Honig and Wilson’s, the images are just as fascinating.
Scroll down to see how Photoshop experts from different countries perceive beauty.
Here is Ospina’s original image:
The results of the experiment shocked her. When Ospina received the images from the different countries, she noticed that only three had made her look visibly thinner (Ukraine, Mexico, and Latvia).
Ospina says that she was extremely positive about the results, since many editors were “in favour of preserving natural beauty.” She even reached out to three different Photoshop experts in Iceland, and all of them refused to Photoshop her — citing reasons such as, “I don’t believe in re-touching a person’s natural beauty.”
“The project was more a mission in body confidence — to try to shed light on the fact that beauty is such a hard word to define, and that perhaps we shouldn’t try to,” Ospina told Business Insider.
“The fact that people have responded so positively to it makes me feel like we’re ready for a variety of imagery in our media. Like we’re ready to see size diversity celebrated in the day-to-day.”
The editors were of varying skills and were each paid $US5-$US30 for the Photoshop work. To read more about Ospina’s Photoshop experiment, click here.
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