Did Kim Kardashian Actually Break The Internet?

Break the Internet? More like Break the Photoshop Program.

Kim Kardashian recently “broke” the Internet with her Paper Magazine shoot. The images on the cover of the magazine were extremely photoshopped, to the point where it was ridiculous. As art, it makes a statement. As reality…not so much. The issue with the shoot is that girls who idolize Kim Kardashian will look past the Photoshop and believe this is how they are actually supposed to look.

Instead, they should be viewing the images below, the unphotoshopped, un-oil’d up, unretouched photos, that show Kim Kardashian in her natural state. Instead of comparing themselves to a computer generated image, women across the world should be focusing on making themselves as happy as possible and realize that they are truly beautiful inside and out.

enhanced-buzz-wide-8454-1415801126-18 enhanced-buzz-wide-338-1415801258-32The right image shows Kim Kardashian as she appeared on the cover (retouched), while the left shows her with a realistic waistline. These photos are speculation and have not been confirmed as the actual unretouched images.
Photos Courtesy of Buzzfeed

It is not necessary to “break the internet” to be beautiful. A photoshopped image including champagne and an enlarged behind isn’t critical to be pretty. Instead, what is inside, the things that make you unique- both inside and out- are what truly define your beauty.


The Science of Beauty: Part 3: Photoshop & The Subconscious Standard Of Ideal Beauty

The Science of Beauty is a new feature on The Mirror Reflects. This 3 part-series will dive into the mathematics of beauty, what is considered beautiful, and how that is achieved in 2014. It looks to shatter the myths of conventional beauty and promote the ideal that everyone is beautiful. Check out part 1 here and part 2 here

In Original Ideal, editorial photographer Scott Chasserot works to uncover our subconscious beauty ideals through psychology, brain scans, and Photoshop.

Chasserot begins by taking a plain studio portrait of his subjects. In an interview with BuzzFeed, Chasserot said he selects subjects that he finds “facially very interesting. Or that have interesting stories. A few people on the website are transgender.”
Chasserot then creates 50 new images by making small manipulations to the original portrait in Photoshop. These alternations can include tweaking the size of a subject’s eyes, the tone of a subject’s skin, and the width of a subject’s nose and chin.
Chasserot’s subjects are then hooked up to an Emotiv brain scanner and shown the portraits in rapid succession.

Based on whichever portrait the individual has the most “engagement” with, Chasserot determines the subject’s ideal self-image and displays the altered portrait beside the original. Below are the results of the experiment. The photos on the right show the original subject. The photos on the left show the “ideal” alterations, as chosen subconsciously by the subject.

All Photos Courtesy of  Scott Chasserot 


Chasserot can remember the precise moment that inspired Original Ideal.

“What got me thinking was seeing a woman with four toes on each foot, from a congenital disorder. It was a hot summer day and she was wearing sandals. My gut reaction was: Wow, I would never. If I had four toes on each foot, I wouldn’t wear sandals. That vain reaction we all have sometimes.”

“My second thought was: She’s very brave. She’s intelligent enough to not care too much about what other people think of her physical appearance. It made me think about how much we project onto other people, even strangers.”

The project questions: “What do we find instinctively in the human face and how does this translate to self-image? What assumptions would be make about another person if we could see their ideal self-image? Original Ideal combines portrait photography and neuroscience to isolate the subjects’ ideal self-image, a cerebrally sincere preference obtained by circumventing conscience thought.

“The idea is to produce a set of variations that either conform to the canons of beauty that have already been established, or go against it,”saysChasserot.

He goes on to say that, “the real goal of the project is to get people to react in that way. To get them thinking about how much they’re projecting onto the subjects’ ideal self image.”

 What do we define as the ideal face, for both ourselves and others? How does our subconscious influence beauty standards today?

Our subconscious idea of what is beautiful effects every part of our lives. It reflects how you style your hair or how you do your makeup (for example, those who wish for bigger eyes might style their eye makeup in a way that makes their eyes appear wider or fuller). Next time you look in the mirror, challenge yourself to re-think the typical thoughts. Don’t just criticize your appearance. Understand that you are wired to appreciate a specific type of beauty. Learn to embrace that the beauty you see in the mirror is just as precious as the one you subconsciously desire.

Au Natural

Gisele Bündchen made headlines when she announced that she would do an ad for BLK DNM without any retouching or makeup.

“I came in and met [Johan Lindeberg, the Photographer] and I said ‘this, guy he’s a very real, nice person. I want to do something with him,’” Bündchen explained. “And then he said okay we have two hours, let’s just do it now–no hair, no makeup and really real.”

GISELE-BUNDCHEN-BLK-DNMBündchen poses without makeup
Photo Courtesy of

Bündchen said she felt that many fashion editorials and campaigns look fake and unrealistic.

gisele-shuns-makeup-in-new-ad-campaign-for-blk-dnmThe photos were shot by Johan Lindeberg
Photo Courtesy of

“I loved his approach because I feel like women should be really real and raw and it doesn’t really happen anymore [in fashion photographs],” she said. “I love that feeling of, you know, we are women, we are so different, our imperfections are what make us unique and beautiful. He gets that. He’s not trying to retouch you or put a pretty light on you. He’s not like ‘you gotta look a certain way.’ He’s like, ‘you are you’ so now I’m gonna just be here with a camera, so express yourself how you like.

Photo Courtesy of

“I feel like women should be really real and raw, and it doesn’t really happen anymore [in fashion photographs],” she said. “I love that feeling of, you know, we are women, we are so different, our imperfections are what make us unique and beautiful.”

Photo Courtesy of

This is a step in the right direction. While Bündchen is naturally gorgeous and doesn’t need retouching anyway, the fact that she openly admits that the fashion industry puts to much emphasis on photoshopped and re-touched images, is a good thing. To have a very public figure admit that something is wrong is a step in the right direction. And the natural images that are going to be used in the campaign fuel the cause– they are breathtaking. Their beauty proves that you don’t need Photoshop to create beautiful images. Beauty comes from within and beauty can be found in all of our imperfections.

But, the unfortunate thing is that these photos will never be run in print. In the central shot, the main advertisement, you cannot even see Bündchen’s face. Her back is facing the camera, her face barely visible.

Gisele-Wild-Poster-300x447The main advertisement doesn’t show Bündchen’s face
Photo Courtesy of

While it was brave for Bündchen to pose without makeup, it is a little disappointing that her face isn’t showing in the ad. Hopefully she, along with many others in the industry, will follow Bündchen’s advice and capture models in their natural and beautiful state.

The Photoshop Problem

It is common knowledge that the images in those glossy fashion magazines are retouched and edited without a second thought. If readers didn’t know how much Photoshopping went into the fashion spreads, it became pretty obvious once Vogue China cut off Doutzen Kroes’ leg and Vogue Russia cut off Natasha Poly’s arm earlier this summer in a Photoshop job gone wrong In the past, people have been content to let the magazines zap zits and crop away, but two teens are trying to change that.


Doutzen Kroes appears to only have one leg in this shoot for Vogue China
Photo: Courtesy of

Julia Bluhm teamed up with SPARK Movement—a girl-power group whose aim is to stop the sexualization of women—and petitioned Seventeen magazine to feature unedited, real girls in their magazine. She wanted Seventeen to place one Photoshop-free fashion spread in the magazine, so that girls across America can feel better about their bodies.

Bluhm’s colleague Emma Stydahar, who spearheaded a similar petition to Teen Vogue, told the media that 75% of girls feel badly about themselves after just three minutes flipping through a magazine. Seventeen responded to Bluhm’s petition—which had around 85,000 signatures—by placing a “Body Peace Treaty” in the August 2012 issue. The “Body Peace Treaty” stated that the magazine would “Never change girls’ body or face shapes,” be “totally up-front about what goes into [their] photo shoots,” as well as “help [girls] make the best choices for [their] body” and “give girls the confidence to walk into any room and own it.” But, after the treaty, the magazine said that they felt they had already been upholding these standards. The magazine did not agree to feature unedited fashion spreads.

Teenagers Protesting

Selena, 16, Protesting with SPARK.
Photo Courtesy of

Teen Vogue’s response was less promising. According to the SPARK Movement website, the magazine met with the protestors for “less than five minutes” and ignored their request to talk about Photoshop. Teen Vogue claims that they are “Open to reader feedback and feature dozens of non-models and readers every year and do not retouch them…we will continue to show real girls on the pages of our magazine.”

As a subscriber to both Teen Vogue and Seventeen, I can sadly say that I understand where these girls are coming from. While the clothes are pretty and the models are gorgeous, after reading Teen Vogue, anyone who isn’t a six-foot-tall supermodel with an unlimited budget is going to feel bad. Seventeen is a better read—it features real girls of all sizes modeling fashions that are affordable for everyone. The “Body Peace Treaty” is a step in the right direction. If Seventeen, which has a monthly circulation of 2,033,300, can make a fraction of its readers feel beautiful, it is doing something right. Teen Vogue’s response, however, disappoints me. This magazine reaches the household of over one million girls a month and the girls who see these magazines want to look like the cover stars and models who grace their pages. Those fashionistas need to be able to open the magazine and see girls just like them smiling up from the pages.