We love to hate retouched photos (click here, here, or here for evidence)—but why? We claim to be concerned about the self-esteem of young girls who might be influenced by these unrealistic pictures, but the truth is, "the endless cavalcade of before-and-after shots is an outgrowth of the voyeurism, gossipmongering, and schadenfreude that fuel our celebrity industrial complex," writes Amanda Fortini in New York. Because we want to see stars "in all their wrinkled, full-figured glory," websites and magazines keep making a big deal about these images.
The truth is that few adults take photos like these seriously—nor should we. "Glamour creation" is an "age-old game," and Photoshopped magazine spreads are hardly different from the illustrations of centuries past, which portrayed their subjects "as idealized versions of themselves." We should simply accept "a retouched photo for what it is: an open fiction, a candid fantasy," Fortini suggests. "The problem isn’t altered photographs; it’s our failure to alter our expectations of them."