John Kahane (jkahane) wrote,
John Kahane

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The Technological Mirror

As some of the folks who read my LJ know, I am on a diet to reduce my weight.

So, here I am this morning reading the Ottawa Citizen newspaper, and I come across the story about Katie Couric and how her photo in Watch! was altered using computer enhancement to take off about 20 lbs. What bothered me most about the story was her reaction - or lack thereof.

I think that from the point of view of a person who is in the spotlight all the time, especially now that she's moved on from her former job and is going to be the news anchorperson (is that the right term?), that she should have said something, should have made an issue out of the photo alteration. A newscasting career is one where honesty and integrity are certainly paramount, and this is a matter that she should have addressed. It isn't just a matter of her being honest with the public, it's also a matter of her being honest with herself.

What makes this important, however, is that the whole issue brings out another point: The fact that Watch! felt they had to enhance the image (and yes, I'm double entendre-ing here) of Katie Couric merely enhances the stereotype that reporters, news anchors, and those who are in the public spotlight have to appear in a certain way, have to look thin, and continues to promote an the stereotype and the unhealthy attitude that people have for the body type for women, and to a lesser extent for men.

And yet, by the same token, this should come as no surprise to us. Our society and culture values and reinforces the thinner body (stereo)types, the muscular body types, the physical look and appearance that causes young, teenage girls to suffer bulimia, that makes young men and athletes to take steroids and other drugs to alter their bodies to make them fit better into society's perceptions... Is it any wonder that there are so many nutritionally-challenged people out there? That obesity is on the rampage in our society, especially among children and teenagers? That diets are all the rage? That various pills that will help you take off the pounds do big business in the pharmacies we frequent?

But isn't it great to know that the camera can now lie, thanks to computer enhancement? Mirrors for a technological age. So that even if you are 20 lbs. overweight or more, there are ways that you can look thinner and in better condition.

It's just an illusion, of course, but people in Western society have a penchant, an almost need, for fooling ourselves.

Thank the goddess I'm not in television or movies. :)
Tags: peeves, technological mirror, weight

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