Recently some unedited photos of pop singer Beyonce were leaked online. They were met with much criticism and many fans denied the fact that these photos were real.
The notion that it is easier for scores of Beyonce fans (many of whom are undoubtedly young girls) to believe in the false, digitally-enhanced version of a woman, than in a woman with blemishes and wrinkles, is not surprising. When the vast majority of photos which are released of pop stars and celebrities are digitally altered in order to remove features which clash with our society’s dominant ideology concerning the way women should look, it is to be expected that photographs of Beyonce that have not been altered would be seen as impostors.
When we are constantly bombarded with images of women which are altered in order to fit social norms, the “certain” eventually becomes, the “true” (as philosopher Antonio Gramsci would say). In other words, the ideology we subscribe to and consider to be true, is the ideology with the most power behind it. If the controlling interests of our society (those with money, i.e. the corporations which run our media outlets) show and tell us that successful women (and in this case Beyonce) have no blemishes or wrinkles, then that is what we will believe. Because we live in a mass society rather than a society of publics, we consume this media rather than interacting with it. This dynamic results in our expectation that what is presented to us must necessarily be fact.
As the Beyonce photos have shown, this can cause a lot of damage to the minds of girls. It teaches them that the digital Beyonce-face is attainable, even when presented with the reality of her untouched photos.