Instagram Account Calls Out Celebs and Fashion Bloggers Who Slim Their Images

Who Photoshopped What is putting the digital alteration of photos on blast.

(Photo: Instagram)

Dec 19, 2014· 1 MIN READ
Culture and education editor Liz Dwyer has written about race, parenting, and social justice for several national publications. She was previously education editor at Good.

Given how pervasive digital alteration of images is in advertising, most of us expect that the faces and bodies of women featured in television, Web, and print ads have been slimmed and smoothed to perfection. But what about the photos our favorite celebrities and fashion bloggers post online? It turns out that some folks are editing their hips, thighs, and waists so that they seem tinier than they are in real life. Now a new Instagram account, We Photoshopped What, is calling out all the fakery.

The anonymous person who launched the account in November points out the signs of digital alteration that the untrained eye doesn’t notice. Beyoncé may have proclaimed herself a feminist, but the molding on the wall alongside her in the above photo has telltale signs of Photoshopping: It’s wavy instead of straight. In case you can’t see it on your own, the picture has helpful, can’t-miss pink arrows.

The Instagram account holder is also going after fashion bloggers who have thousands of followers. New York City blogger Danielle Bernstein has more than 706,000 fans on the photo-sharing service, and her images have been featured on We Photoshopped What more than a dozen times.

(Photo: Instagram)

Some of Bernstein’s fans don’t appreciate the alleged digital trickery.

“So glad I know about @weworewhat so I can unfollow her. Every time she posts a severely Photoshopped photo of herself, she's sticking a pin into the self esteem of her fans. ‘You could dress like me...Psyche! This is impossible.’ When she starts posting pictures of her real self so she can actually be inspiring instead of degrading to women, then maybe I’ll start following her again,” wrote Instagram user ecocult.

“Dear @wephotoshoppedwhat, I appreciate what you’re doing. Setting these women free to be who they are, not obsessively, falsely skinny. It’s obvious to all you’re not harassing people, or making fun of their figures, just their vanity and its failures. They need to own up to who they are or hit a gym,” commented another Instagram user, intellexualli.

Critics of We Photoshopped What’s tactics say that posting these photos is a form of online bullying. “Don’t worry @weworewhat. More often than not, if someone is unapologetically themselves, they get picked apart. If someone ‘hides their flaws,’ they get picked apart too. No one needs to tell you who you are or aren’t and you obviously know that...people are just bored,” wrote Instagram user jnhendo.

Of course, let those among us who haven’t thrown a Valencia filter on our personal Instagram photos cast the first stone. But that’s also why people tag their images with the #nofilter hashtag. That way we know the image hasn’t been digitally altered. Perhaps it’s not a bad idea for celebs, fashion bloggers, and any others who feel the pressure to make themselves look slimmer to provide some sort of similar disclaimer.