The Evolution video: the use of airbrushing and Photoshop in the media

The Evolution video: the use of airbrushing and Photoshop in the media

Watch the Evolution video, to understand how easily our perception of beauty can be manipulated. Once you’ve done that, then use our action checklist to start a conversation with your child about real beauty.

Evolution: the influence of media on the distortion of beauty

From real to retouched in 60 seconds – this video illustrates how lighting, make-up and digital manipulation distort our perceptions of beauty. You’ll never look at a beauty ad in the same way again!

The influence of media on the distortion of beauty

People often compare themselves to images of models, actors and singers in the media, but are these images even real? With clever lighting, make-up and Photoshop, it's possible to transform an image so it no longer reflects the shape, size or features of the original model. No wonder our perception of beauty is distorted!

You may have seen before and after pictures of models elsewhere, but the Evolution video allows us to see the process as it happens. It's proved hugely popular, with more than 2 million views on YouTube in its first two weeks alone. Has your family watched it yet? 

The positive outcome of watching the Evolution video

Watching the Dove Evolution video has been proven to boost young people’s body image. In 2011, researchers used the film as part of a study investigating the power of music videos, called Highlighting Media Modifications: Can a Television Commercial Mitigate the Effects of Music Videos on Female Appearance Satisfaction?

The test involved asking young women to watch five popular videos featuring women who matched the thin and attractive ‘ideal’. Some watched these alongside normal ads, some watched ads without people and some watched the Evolution video. The result? Viewing music videos resulted in significantly lower levels of appearance satisfaction compared to viewing control television – however, watching the Evolution video counteracted this effect.

Use the Evolution video and the action checklist below to start a conversation with your child and help them boost their own body image and confidence.

Evolution video

Dove Evolution
  • 1

    Watch the Evolution video with your child

    Talk about your reactions to it. Are there any changes in the process that surprise you? How does it make you feel when you realise how much the images we see in the media are manipulated?

  • 2

    Look at other media with a critical eye

    Look at magazines or watch music videos with your child. Discuss whether the images you're seeing are 'real', and how much money, and how many people, are involved in producing them. Can you see any tricks from the Evolution video here?

  • 3

    Broaden the conversation

    Talk to your child about whether images in the media are representative of the people they know and love. What does real beauty mean? Would they like to see more real beauty in the media? 

next steps

  • Share this fun activity with your child – it’s a game of spot the difference between untouched and retouched images of women in the media
  • Keep talking to your child about this subject. Challenge each other to spot altered images when you’re watching TV, browsing online or at the cinema
  • Encourage your child to share the Evolution video with friends. Perhaps it could be the basis of a school project?
  • Could your child contact a favourite magazine, website or clothes retailer to ask how they alter people's images?

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