Ralph Lauren opens new outlet store in the Uncanny Valley


Dude, her head's bigger than her pelvis. From Photoshop Disasters (thanks, Antinous!)


  1. Ugh. Is that really what that Photoshop artist thinks women are supposed to look like? Or is the artist just completely inept at his or her trade?

    Or… is it both?

    1. its probably not the artist’s fault. Every commercial artist has a marketer standing over them yelling “Shrink those hips! I don’t care if you have to ad an extra elbow, just do it! Her legs are too fat!” Most of us have to comply or quit… and we do like to eat, so most of us comply.

      1. Now see, if you’d just adhere to the same esthetic for your OWN bodies, you wouldn’t need to eat, and then you wouldn’t have to make models’ hips narrow to support the ridiculous esthetic, and it would go away, and then you wouldn’t have to adhere to it any more, because no one would make you do the bad Photoshopping!

        But then you’d start to like to eat again, and someone would make you make the models’ hips thinner again, and the whole cycle would repeat. I have to scream now.

    2. Pointing out here that a lot of photo retouchers are graphic designers rather than illustrators- the main difference in this case being that illustrators have lots of training in figure drawing and so forth while graphic designers do not.

      Scariest thing to me is that most people dont notice the shoops on practically every magazine page and newspaper photo. This very image will likely sell overpriced clothing to many an unobservant american.

  2. Disturbing.

    Would make a good continuation of the burqini thread on how women in the western world get pressured by unnatural ideals Which no one can live up to. Of course this picture goes above and beyond…

  3. This kind of disgusting presentation of women is what leads to bulimia and other excessive psychological illnesses. (I know two women who have this illness and it is no joke, they resemble the photo above and look about one step away from death.) This kind of distorted advertising somehow needs to be banned (or at least punishable with severe fines), it is even more dangerous than tobacco advertising!

    1. I agree. I suffer from bulimia myself. One of the main contributing factors was pictures like this that I thought were real – I only wish the editors of those magazines were as bad at photoshop as they are at Ralph Lauren. Maybe I would have realized it was all a lie when I was young and so impressionable. I’m 33 and have now purged almost daily for over 20 years. It’s not something I’m proud of but it’s a disease that could have been partially prevented with warning labels on fashion ads – something like – “objects in advertisement are larger (or more imperfect) than they appear”

  4. #12
    On the other hand, they could just add a label saying “parody” or “PhotoShop”. If Jessica Rabbit or Betty Boop were in every magazine in the country, would we have women trying to look like them? No – because they are obviously not real, and not intended to be real.

    Can anyone honestly look on this and say it’s meant to look real? Really?

    I think Ralph Lauren are laughing at us for falling for their prank. I’m sure they deliberately did this to drum up controversy (and hence free advertising).

  5. I would like to have a set of stickers that just have the word “PARODY” on them. Useful for sticking onto exceptionally (yet unintentionally) absurd advertisements.

  6. @13, Nanite

    Actually no I don’t think it’s the constant bombardment of media that a size 0-4 is the most “attractive” range for the female body. I think it’s the enforcement of this idea through the size selection in stores, stores that only offer small sizes, and the general apathy given to people who are larger than a 12-14.

    Sorry, it’s just not media. It’s the whole package.

  7. That is just too weird, I have a mental picture of my art school drawing teacher going apoplectic about scale and proportion.

    This is a wind-up, Xeni, is it not?

  8. @ #12

    Yeah, but… no.

    “The media” may be a useful scapegoat, but eating disorders have little if anything to do with social pressure – they are EXACTLY as common is societies where big women are considered beautiful.

    If anyone ever DID develop an eating disorder due to pictures in magazines, it would make them dumb, not ill…

  9. So women don’t want to look like little gray men from outer space? This doesn’t make women want to buy Ralph Lauren products? Anyway, thanks for yet another funny picture blog.

  10. France is currently considering a bill that would require photos that have been electronically manipulated to be labeled as such.

    Bring it on — this one is so bad as to be laughable, but I’m tired of seeing digitally enhanced ideals of what someone else considers beautiful.

    This is why the Dove Real Beauty campaigns have ben so popular…they’re real women, with real bodies, who are beautiful even if they don’t look like the “experts” say they should.

  11. Reminds me of a poem by a friend:

    Flesh and curves are warm and sexy,
    much more fun than being anorexic.
    Here’s my little fashion tip – the magazines are full of shit.

  12. Question is: Is this a “photoshop disaster”, or is it — like the dolls folks have mentioned — a deliberate attempt to push psychological buttons?

    We are programmed to see a relatively large head as an indication of youth and as something to be protected (part of the same set of triggers which cause us to think young mammals of almost any species are cute). Disney explicitly uses this; see Steven Jay Gould’s essay on neoteny in Mickey Mouse. I wouldn’t be at all surprised if the designer was fully aware of it and using it as an effect. Not parody, per se, but definitely not intended to be realistic either.

    The fact that it also pushes other triggers, setting up an impossible standard of “beauty”, is a problem, but I honestly don’t know what one can do about it. As an _artistic_ choice, it’s as valid as any of the other imaginary environments companies display their wares in to make them look more attractive.

    I wish there was a way to update, and market more widely, the old game “Propaganda”, which was a good introduction to (and innoculation against) marketing techniques. It was focused on language use and identifying the general class of spin used in a given ad; something similar could be done for visual media.

  13. @ will_tingle

    Just to name but a few:

    Nasser (1988) compared Egyptian women in universities in London and in Cairo unis, where the distinction is (or was at the time, at least) largely about the prevalence of media promoting skinnier figures – 12% in London had eating disorders, none in Cairo.

    Mumford, Whitehouse, and Platts (1991) found the same result with Asian women living in the US.

    Crago, Shisslak, and Estes (1997) found lower rates of eating disorders in African American women, of which the men as a generalization prefer slightly larger women than white males – Greenberg and LaPorte (1996), and Asian Americans than Caucasians.

    Exactly as common in societies or cultures where big women are considered beautiful? I think not.

  14. #22 “Dumb, not ill” – you’re dead wrong. There are plenty of smart anorexics who know how dumb it is and still get utterly caught up in it. Mental health is more complicated than “I rilly rilly wanna be THIN!”

    I spend some time on an ana-support forum, I know ’em.

    IMO, this is a great pic, because it so obviously exposes the crap that is bandied around in advertising.

  15. could this be because of the angle that they took the photo?

    the top part of the advert is wider than the bottom part in the photo.

    it could be a perspective distortion.

    1. exactly the same thing i thought. the body is at an angle away from the camera and her shoulers and head are angled more toward the camera, thus giving the effect of a slimmer waist.

  16. “The media” may be a useful scapegoat, but eating disorders have little if anything to do with social pressure – they are EXACTLY as common is societies where big women are considered beautiful.

    I don’t know if this is true, but it makes a valid point regardless. People assume that media and advertising are power cultural forces, but often this remains mere assumption. There are deeper questions to ask, and one needs to see advertising as a manifestation of cultural forces, as opposed to something which creates them from the outside. Viewing advertising as something outside culture (as opposed to a part of it) is bizarre to the extreme, and I really can’t follow that logic.

  17. “Actually no I don’t think it’s the constant bombardment of media that a size 0-4 is the most “attractive” range for the female body. I think it’s the enforcement of this idea through the size selection in stores, stores that only offer small sizes, and the general apathy given to people who are larger than a 12-14.”

    My wife is 28, wears a 0-2 in Juniors sizes and often times has trouble finding properly fitting clothes that are age/career appropriate.

    The lesson here is that people on either extreme will have trouble finding clothes. Stores are stocking for the majority, not the ideal.

  18. “#12 Can anyone honestly look on this and say it’s meant to look real? Really?”

    aside from the head to body ratio, i saw a woman with exactly this figure in NYC a few weeks ago. I didn’t know her circumstances, she was out jogging and looking at her made me cringe. She either had a eating disorder or a non-self-imposed disease.

    so when it is possible to look like this, and many women feel compelled to try, and when their reason checks out and they can no longer objectively see what their own body looks like, then yes lots of people can honestly look at this and think it looks exactly like how they are trying to look.

  19. Maybe the creator of this image is actually a feminist working undercover at Ralph Lauren, publishing images like this as an absurdist commentary on the insane female beauty standard industry.

  20. Yeah, that things’s horrible. But, before you go trashing the Photoshop artist, consider this possibility…

    This thing looks a lot like the case of the artist getting fed-up with the endless and constant revisions, tweaks, and “suggestions” from the marketing team running the project. At some point, he/she just gave up arguing the “art direction” and just did exactly what the marketing team ordered.

    Honest. I’ve seen it happen all too frequently. You just hit a wall with the micro-managers and simply give ’em what they want. And, yes, it’s perfectly probable that the “team” think the image looks correct. It’s their “vision,” physiology be damned.

  21. Anyone stupid enough to buy products from a Ralph Lauren or any of the other useless “designers” lost touch with reality long ago.

  22. 38#: I must be even more stupid because I don’t even know what qualifies as designer. I go to stores, try on something, and buy what i think looks good (and i can afford) oblivious to what a particular brand name means for me socially.

    right now i’m wearing levi’s… are those designer?

    now if its gadget brand name recognition you’re talking about…

  23. This just screams “ware our clothes and they’ll make you look FAT unless you are a twig like our models”…

    it’s up to women to teach women how to view this…

    yes there are petite women… and they like clothing stores too…
    but come on… we need REALk women to step up and push for real women’s clothing…

    wal-mart needs to have models based on the “average” women who shops there…

    the boutique stores are free to do what ever they want…

    I’m a real man… and where I don’t thing fat is good looking… I like a women with some meat on her bones… as do most men I think… this little thing I would brake in half… no man likes hitting a sharp pelvic bone during intercourse… so where it triggers the “protect mode” like a (this) man gets around children it is not at all “Sexy”…

  24. Yeah, this is intentionally over-the-top. For what purpose, I don’t know. I like the theory that the artists gave the managers what they demanded.

  25. Crago, Shisslak, and Estes (1997) found lower rates of eating disorders in African American women, of which the men as a generalization prefer slightly larger women than white males – Greenberg and LaPorte (1996), and Asian Americans than Caucasians.

    Anyone who browses porn magazines or videos for five minutes will quickly realize that the US male ideal of feminine beauty looks nothing like the anorexic women portrayed in women’s magazines.

    By and large, women are responsible for making other women feel bad about themselves in this country.

  26. I’m really looking forward to these ‘digitally altered’ warnings. After all, car commercials have them (“professional driver on closed course, actual models might vary…”) and it doesn’t hurt anything.

    No matter how ludicrous they get, I wouldn’t want a ban on such images. That could open a door for all artistic/visual representation to be moderated and sanctioned and that’s slippery. But I really think there needs to be a LOT more honesty and transparency in marketing. The designer should have the right to his/her ‘vision’, even if it involves some bizarre flesh-looking cartoon character. But it should also be made clear to laypeople that it is a complete fabrication.

  27. Heh, glad you liked the title. Yes, each BB blogger is responsible for the title and content of his or her own posts.


    women are most definitely NOT to blame. i work in the fashion industry, and there are so many people responsible for the thinness of models. many of them are men, and a majority of those men are gay (designers).

    i wish there was a special place in hell reserved for agents, who insist on signing 16 year old girls who are way too skinny and then stop promoting them once their bodies develop. there are many pin thin female stylists too, who insist on hiring size 2 girls. there is also an extreme amount of pressure for grown models to loose a lot of weight.

    that said, america needs to focus a lot less on vanity and a lot more on health. anorexia is a terrible disease but it effects a lot less people than obesity.

  29. @ Alowisius & Hachimachi,

    So according to you two (and why question it, really?) the only people who AREN’T pressuring women to starve themselves are the straight men who usually get blamed for all the problems of sexism in our society.

    I just gotta say it’s a relief to be off the hook for once.

    (FWIW, I am completely smitten over my well-rounded spouse.)

  30. @hamachi – so do you think gay men in the fashion industry hate women and are intentionally turning girls anorexic?

    Ok, that’s a loaded question, but I don’t see how the fashion industry by itself can do much damage. It is the magazines that actually control the message distribution and they are often run by women.

    Personally, I think the major cause of anorexia is peer pressure. A magazine can only cause so much damage. It is your friends constantly talking about being thin and how fat other people are that really does the damage.

  31. I don’t think most gay men hate women, but I have always found it fascinating that they seem to be the only group that can get away with offering unsolicited fashion advice.

  32. no # 53, its designers, agents, and stylist that are the “terrorists”

    perhaps if you read my entire post you would have figured that out.

  33. #53 & #55
    And not only are they the real terrorists, but they’re all impossibly good looking and popular too.

    Do women have any idea how much pressure there is on heterosexual men to look and act gay, just so they can feel attractive?! Look at them all in magazines – chiseled, styled, well dressed, and sexy. I mean, how are we supposed to look that buff without eating less and exercising more? And how can we ever expect to look so beautiful without spending most of our hard earned money on clothes and beauty products, instead of on women.

    You women are so shallow and insensitive to our needs.

    Won’t somebody please think of the men in all of this?!

  34. no # 53, its designers, agents, and stylist that are the “terrorists”

    I have a friend who’s a top stylist. He does print and runway as well as styling A List stars. He has no pro-anorexia agenda. Maybe you should get Anna Wintour in your cross-hairs.

  35. ALOISIUS, were you insinuating that women hate women in your first comment?

    i was in no way suggesting that gay men hate women. most of the gay men i work with love the company of women! however, it is a well known fact that most of the top designers are homosexual men (karl lagerfeld, dolce and gabana, gorgio armani, roberto cavali, marc jacobs, francisco costa for calvin klein, the list goes on and on).

    it is a possibility that gay men might not have a preference for “curvy women.” the girls that are featured in their fashion shows are the ones that the magazine editors and stylists see and hire when they attend those shows. the agents are the ones that promote the girls to the casting directors that were most likely told to hire very thin girls by the designer.

    so like i said in my previous post, so many people are responsible for the thinness of models. designers, agents, editors, stylists, are all responsible for this waif epidemic. most of those people are sheep who follow what other people say is “so hot right now” and the trend setters are the designers.

    even if all the images of thin women do not cause anorexia, it is still absurd to use uber skinny prepubescent girls to sell to people who are nothing like that. i believe it does cause a lot of insecurity in women.

  36. wow moderator, you misread everything i submit, it is you who used the word terrorist, not me. i was quoting you. i didnt even mention anorexia in my post, i am speaking about thin models! do you think im some conspiracy theorist who thinks the fashion industry is out to make the world anorexic? i did mention that i work in the fashion industry, and i have for 6 years. this is not based on what a friend told me.

  37. “Dumb, not ill” – you’re dead wrong. There are plenty of smart anorexics who know how dumb it is and still get utterly caught up in it”

    Hmm… I’ll weigh in (Oh god, see what I did there? *shakes head*) on this since I lost a contract due to anorexia. No, it isn’ dumbness that makes you sick. You know better. In fact there was a part of me that was very aware that I was killing myself. But like drug addicts, or people who attempt suicide, or people who cut themselves, another part of me relished in it. At the height of heroin chik I managed to be too skinny, but I was elated. However I don’t know how much real looking ads have to do with it and I think that was the poser’s original point. For myself I did use animated images as my goals. I didn’t care if they weren’t real. I would lie on my back at night and feel the concave of my belly as it sunk between my hips and relish the success. It’s just a complicated issue, but I wonder how much it really intersects with our current standards of feminine beauty. One thing I didn’t really care about was other people finding me beautiful. I didn’t care about men finding me sexy at all. I wanted to win my little game, at all costs.

  38. It’s just a complicated issue, but I wonder how much it really intersects with our current standards of feminine beauty. One thing I didn’t really care about was other people finding me beautiful. I didn’t care about men finding me sexy at all. I wanted to win my little game, at all costs.

    Great point. It’s easy to fall into thinking that anorexia is about vanity gone wild, but it really is about control, or like obsessive compulsive disorder.

  39. I once met a real live person who nearly achieved this body shape. He was a very tall, naturally quite thin teenage boy in an impressive cyberpunk outfit. It included a corset and enormous plastic hair extensions. Can’t have been terribly comfortable, but damn did it look awesome.

    Can’t really say the same for this quagmire of pixels.

    Highlarious. I would love to personally thank the people involved in this photo for making me laugh so uncontrollably and for so brutally skewering their own unrealistic standards.

  40. @ #36 ethancoop,

    Actually, the average American woman is size 12-14

    So, no, they are not stocking for the average woman. They are stocking for what they think women should look like. It sounds like your wife has trouble because she is petite as well as thin. I am 5’2″ and let me tell you, I cannot find stylish pants with less than a 34″ inseam. Ack.

  41. as a anorexic survivor, i can say that it IS because of the media and society that makes a person try to morph their body into an unnatural size or weight. When I was a young child, i loved my body. It wasn’t until i was apx 7 or 8 years old that i began to compare myself to all the beautiful people and the #1 thing they all had in common was they were skinny. Growing up in a leotard in dance class didn’t help things because you have a constant reminder of exactly hoe your body compares to everyone else’s. My actual eating disorder didn’t begin until i was 11 and lasted till i was almost 18 years old. Now as a health confident adult I am adamant about letting people know that it is society and these types of images that is literally killing young woman. It is not “dumbness” that makes one sick but an intense desire to be the best and American society is screaming to young people everywhere through ads, tv and clothing options that this is the best. So what, if you were born with a big booty even at 98 lbs dripping wet, which is what i was tormented with my whole adolescence, you can never be the best??? Thank the lord that my boyfriend kept telling me i was too skinny. if it wasn’t for him, i may have died. And yes, he was a black man who typically prefer a curvier figure but thank god. Now I am mature enough to know what is healthy and what isn’t. My body is a Bentley and I treat it as so. I exercise and eat better than all of my naturally skinny friends and reality is no matter how much weight i loose, my booty and thighs will always be thick. I have learned to love it any any man who can’t appreciate my body can’t handle me and thats his loss. Any woman who can’t see my beauty has her own issues and i could care less. But i wan to emphasize that i have LEARNED how to love my body. Its the 10, 11, and 12 year old little girls who have enough trouble finding their place in this world let alone have to look at horrible unrealistic photos like this and because they are young and insecure, they will do anything to fit it. It is for them that I am fighting. It is for them that Photos like these are never allowed to circulate. Please if we outlawed joe camel so kids wouldn’t think it’s cool to smoke, then why can’t we outlaw photos like this so kids don’t starve themselves. Ralph Lauren, you and everyone else who has pushed these horrible images on society should be ashamed of yourself. Especially since Ralph Lauren’s own niece is an anorexic survivor.

  42. Had to look back at this post! Awesomely funny in retrospect. I guess Ralph Lauren was sincere.

    Anonymous, you speak for yourself but not all anorexics.

    I began dieting because I couldn’t stand being burdened with sexuality. I didn’t want to be beautiful I wanted to be something of my own design. For me that became thin and it was something I could do better than most people. To this day it bothers me when men comment on my body whether it be for good or bad. Too skinny, too chunky, great rack… whatever it is it bothers me like pins and needles. I can remember some of the things men would say to me when I was a little girl, that my tits were too small or getting bigger etc. I worked as a model. I grew to despise the fact that other people seemed to have some investment in my body. I resented men telling me I was too thin just as much as anything.

    So I took some control of myself. Men stop telling you you’re sexy when you get that thin. If fact, people get kind of scared of you. Beyond the occasional intervention there’s a kind of freedome to it. Now that is not pro ana talk you’re hearing from me, but any man’s criticism of my body was to me a badge of honor at that point.

    I’m not excusing my illness with this, but I am posing a challenge to what you present. And I do think it’s disturbing that you credit a man’s criticism of your body with saving your life.

  43. Thats a disgusting image and a disturbing ad… I applaud people for calling this out. In my opinion the problem of promoting unreal images of women’s (and men’s) bodies has its roots in more than one area. The only answer is collective action not finger-pointing as to who is most to blame for the prevalence and power of these images. Although its not the only answer we can all stop buying these magazines and products and continue to comment and speak out.

    My experience in the fashion world is that there is an intense jealousy and hatred for beauty- from agents and managers especially. (I cant comment on designers- havent met any). This unacknowledged hatred partly fuels this unrealistic vision of physical proportions. Torture the model for his and her beauty. This is just what I have observed.

    And I have directly seen many male models going through exactly the same pressure and unhealthy lifestyles to mold their bodies to unrealistic proportions. Some of them suffer psychologically in isolation- no one acknowledges the issues when its a man.

  44. Surely if this is a real person someone can track her down. She must have a facebook page or modeling agency with other photos of her. If this photo is authentic she has degenerative bone disease or reverse elephantitus of the pelvis.

  45. Her hair alone is thicker than her waste. If they are going to go through the trouble of processing their photos to make the model(s) look thin why even bother with hiring skinny chicks? Why not just hire anyone and then put the photo though the process? Why use live models at all? They could just use a dummy and then photoshop in aspects to make it look alive. Hell, put the clothes on a scarecrow or a potato, save the cost of hiring a breathing model.

  46. This is what Brooklyn Law School professor Jason Mazzone refers to as ‘copyfraud’.

    The lawyers at Ralph Lauren, assuming they are not inept, realize that comment and criticism is within fair use and that their claim is fraudulent.

    However, since most ISPs and other fulfillment houses such as Apple, Cafepress, Zazzle, etc, will fulfill any DMCA request that is ‘properly formatted’, it doesn’t need to be legitimate – it ‘just works’.

    What’s worse is that there really isn’t much legal support for them to be punished for their actions unless you suffered a lot of financial damage as a result.

    In the UK, they don’t put up with copyfraud. If you received this request there, you could have a judge decide on its legitimacy immediately and sue for damages AND legal fees, even if they didn’t file a lawsuit (if I understand it right).

    As a result, barristers are a bit more careful in the accuracy of their cease and desists ;)

    I had a similar conflict with NYC MTA, who claimed that factual transit data was its intellectual property, and had Apple take down my iPhone application. The app was returned to the store this wee, MTA dropped C&Ds against 2 other parties, and announced it was changing its stripes in the New York Times. ;D

    I have taked to Congressman Jim Himes’ office about this issue and encouraged him to initiative legislation which protects small businesses and artists from copyfraud, especially when a transparent fulfillment house is involved.

    I will make sure to cover your story in my blog, photo and all…

  47. @ #5 I love your sense of humor. Pez fashion week dispensers will become a hit on Ebay. Except, no candy included. :(

  48. While the advert is certainly absurd, why hasn’t anyone noted on just how abhorrently awful the outfit is??!! Look at those jeans…Redneck at best! In my opinion, Ralph Lauren has more to worry about than his advertising and graphics department.

  49. If they were gonna photoshop her anyways, why not give her Pamela’s Breasts and Jlo’s Butt?

    This isn’t even the ideal women’s body for men or women.

  50. She does not even look good! Why would they Photoshop someone into looking like they have a disease and have an alien head and the legs of an eight year old???

  51. Don’t blame the photoshop artist they were probably just taking direction from an Art Director or Marketing person. Clearly though someone is out of touch with reality.

  52. The blame is solely on the advertisers and consumers. I feel sorry for this young woman who now is the center of this story.

  53. That’s is ghoulish! True or photoshopped, does it really matter?! The fact that it was approved to sell the product is the complete and total crime.

    P.S. If true, get that girl some food pronto!!

  54. Hmmm…anyone else notice the absence of collar bones?
    Even with one shoulder hunched forward, the other is not. That one appears to end 2 inches from her neck, based on it’s mate.
    I’ve worked in advertising, and I’m laughing my arse off.

    Wait…maybe she’s double jointed….that might explain the obscene angle of her wrist…..ahahahahaha!

  55. Is this Jar-Jar Binx? Swollen legs, skeletal body, giant head. “Misha not likening the eating thing much.” said Jar-Jar.

    Maybe it’s just modern abstract “art.”

  56. OMG – that is awful! She has a great body anyway & I don’t know why they thought they needed to airbrush her. It’s just disgusting.

  57. She looks gross to me. Hair with bones. Not attractive at all. Anyone with half a brain knows make up, lights and touchups is standard. We should be talking about how ugly this woman actually looks being so ematiated. And the fact models don’t smile is just another faulty ideal. Their teeth probably rotted out from acid reflux.

  58. People are starving in our own neighborhoods. War goes on. Is this really something that deserves our focus? Go hug your kids, play with your dog, scritch on your cat… Live life. Everything else is just a distraction that keeps us from being where we need to be.

  59. Why can’t we just live in the real world and let women feel good about themselves? Men are allowed to be without hair, or have excessive hair, small or large eyebrows, ears, lips, eyes, bellies, legs, feet, chest or other body parts without having to worry about acceptance on the cover of a freakin magazine or on TV show…what is wrong with our society? Why do women think they need to live up to a certain standard…for who? It is all about what is “acceptable” for eye candy…take a look at “women’s sizes” ad’s for clothes, even those women don’t represent the truth…I used to think I needed to be a size 1 like I was in high school, and then I realized I was a woman and it was okay to be a size 11, I didn’t need to starve myself and be anal to please the world, especially when I was hit on men that had hair on their shoulders, big bellies and other physical attributes that were nasty! Represent women in the real world….not freakin Barbie Dolls.

  60. Photoshop Disasters has some hilarious Elle photos that also resemble the reflection in a funhouse mirror, for all that they presume about proportion and human anatomy. Maybe the aim of the industry is really to warp the female body the way the imperial Han used to warp the feet of their wives.

    Sadly, looking at what passes for entertainment (America’s Next Top Model, anyone?) it seems that the fashion industry really does only advertise to gawky girls with odd, often misshapen looking heads, little to no personality, and an ability to cast shadows off of sunken cheekbones really, really well.

    One can only hope that images like this one are never used to sell products in India or China (in China alone, it’s estimated that nearly one in five girls has an eating disorder.)Ana Carolina Reston, the Brazilian model that died of anorexia-related malnutrition (interesting how her death is only ever referred to as ‘related to malnutrition’), was given her complex and her death sentence in Guangdong.

    Thinness is also assigned a value associated with education, professionalism and wealth. This is still true in the West; a person can afford to eat healthy, go to the gym, engage in leisure activities that help him/her stay sleek, but he/she can’t make a lifestyle out of it if he/she doesn’t have the money. Eating disorders occur across nearly every single ethnic group in the U.S., from Marshallese to Armenian, and the real reason why this occurs is because *the successful woman is thin* (and therefore, you must be thin to be successful.)
    The scarecrow thin models in their sharp suits, with their monochromatic masks for faces, are as much clothing as the rest of the ensemble; the prospective buyer can zipper themselves up in them and roleplay.
    Paper dolls may have gone out of fashion (those great staples of 19th and Mid-Twentieth Century play)but the fashion dolls still exist. I almost think this has less to do with the heterosexist state of our society (as curvy women have no trouble finding men, and as the dolls have shifted their aim to entertainment, i.e., Pop Diva Chrissy or what have you; this is the real sexism behind the dolls) and more due to our attempts as women to metamorphose into the lives of the golden people, the wealthy and magnificent. Successful women are crippled by anorexia. Girls who perform well in school (of all ethnicities) and women who excel in college.
    Living in an economically depressed part of Baltimore, and a section prone to gang violence and teen pregnancy at that, you don’t see too many skinny girls who are running to the toilets to expel their food. If people are thin, it’s because they have to walk to bus stations (they don’t have cars), they don’t have food to eat (and have to ration), or they are on drugs and often forget to eat. The extremes are skinny, obese, skinny, obese. You know instantly why one is skinny, and the other obese.
    However, having gone to college, the girls in the dorm are skinny because they fast, are orthorexic, are incredibly active athletically, to counter any calories being digested in their bodies, or are bulemic (and it’s a condition I developed too, going to a very posh magnet school; my gym teacher told me that 21 percent body fat was too heavy for a girl my age, and that I would need to taper down.)
    We do it to ourselves for the prestige, (which is why, in professionally-driven countries like China and India, you see a lot of young women developing anorexia) not because it will land us men, or make us beautiful, but because we think it will make us more competent.

  61. hahaha thats how woman should look like ? are u sick ralph ? whats up with all of u designers ? i mean nobody really thinks that this look is sexy or fashionable. only a man ,that loves men, think that women should look like this
    sick bastardo

  62. Kudos to Boing Boing for maintaining its right to fair use. Fuck Ralph Lauren. I never had an opinion about that company before, but I sure do now. Hey Ralph & Co., it’s bad enough you promote an unhealthy “ideal” of beauty, but don’t go messing with the First Amendment. Way to screw yourselves, assholes.

  63. When did Gumby start wearing clothes?

    I’m very proud of the people at Boing Boing, not only by refusing to fall to the harrassment, but in your reponse to it.

  64. I think the artist just wanted to show how women think that they should look like… Like “I’m so fat, I’m so fat!!!” and that everyone overplays…

  65. This is not a smart advertising move on Ralph Lauren’s part. I would not shop there out of fear that their clothes are too small.

  66. I thought this was a joke. It looks like an old picture of Brooke Shields’ head cropped onto a distorted body.

  67. Helllloooo: her face is square to the camera and her hips are turned: that’s why her hips look so “emaciated”: anyone that is arguing over this is wasting their time…oh, I guess that means me too….

  68. That is a completely real person…completely distorted and manipulated to look like a freak. If I were that model I would pissed.

  69. “Helllloooo: her face is square to the camera and her hips are turned: that’s why her hips look so “emaciated”: anyone that is arguing over this is wasting their time…oh, I guess that means me too….”

    I think that, regardless of whether or not this is true, it is still not only disgusting, but harming to a vast majority of the women who see this add. I am 5’5, and 140 lbs. I am beautiful, and confidence in my appearance, but seeing things like this still echos within me that I should look like this, that you should be able to see my ribs, and my pelvis should stand out 4 inches above my stomach. I cannot imagine what children or young adults must go through. It is a sad day indeed when women 20 lbs UNDER weight are stressed out and making themselves sick to look like this. Thank you for not removing this article despite threats of law suits. Everyone needs to know what REAL women look like.

  70. Huge thumbs up to Boing Boing for making this issue relevant again. I want to resist the urge to ship this model some lard. This is not reality – this is absurd – and this model should grab her 15 minutes of fame by publicly stating her opposition to this type of photography. Now excuse me while I eat a bar of chocolate and enjoy the sugar rush.

  71. I feel bad for the girl. Imagine how she feels knowing they felt she needed to be slimmed down to nothing in order to look good to them.

  72. This is seriously laughable. I don’t know any guys who are turned on by girls who have the legs and hips of a 12 year old boy. The media may be trying to change girls perception of beauty to fit a weird inhuman look like this, but if it keeps going this far there is eventually going to be a revolt and guys are going to want to have women who actually look like women again.

  73. Women are Strong, Smart, and Independent. The media is, much like men, a politically correct scapegoat upon which to heap blame for your many costly emotionally retarded faux-pas. Stop the scapegoating and start thinking for yourselves. You can do it!

  74. Ralph Lauren’s brilliant, beautiful niece suffered from anorexia and nearly died from complications of her eating disorder. This is unbelievable.

  75. I think that the first person to complain about the picture should be the model. She´ll not be hired for any ad as she looks sick. May a medicine lab would like her image on the ad.

  76. I never want to look like that.. I mean, I am not really thin but I rather have a few kilos to much than looking like this woman. I don’t think that normal people would expect that to be beautiful…

    (sorry bout misstakes in grammer, I’m from Austria)

    greets, Kathi

  77. The real story here is Xeni Jardin – saw her on Rachel Maddow – I’m six-three and weigh 240- and I need nutritious soup and sandwiches! Xeni – unemployed janitor/forklift drivin’ love machine just for you – yes I am the man of your dreams. You are just droppin’ hot gorgeous! Love ya, man!

  78. Yes, that image is hideous.

    Ralph Lauren might get the message if millions of morons would stop buying into their fictionalized, overpriced dreamworld. Their polo logo translates well into overpriced products for the insecure and unimaginative.

  79. Ralph Lauren got his legal team to file a DMCA notice over this? lol

    What the hell did he expect!!.. LOL

    Oh yes, Ralph, this was defenitely your best piece.

    So to sum up Ralph Lauren in one sentence:

    “I’m a designer, don’t critizice my work and hurt my feelings, or my legal team will take action.”

    Agree with that other post, boycott that loser

  80. OK, I googled her images.

    While in some she looks too thin yet human, in some others she looks… well, freakish.

    So am torn whether this is a real photo or not.

    In fact, it MAY be real, which is damn scary.

    Peruse these Filippa Hamilton photos:


    Also, good on you for not being scared with these a**holes trying to sue you, and kudos for the “soup and sandwich” comments.


  81. I think that this “photoshop profissional” and this “agency” dontk know “what is one wonderfull woman”, and think that Skull are nice… but for me this woman now is how one bizarre skull with one big heat.

    Congratulation “photoshop” artistic 4 this “wonderfull” example of “skull woman”

  82. All I can say is that I will never buy anything remotely affiliated to Ralph Lauren again this looks like an anorexic girl. Whats worse she was fired for being too fat when she was a size 4 thats sick what does that say to my 9 year old daughter!! I feel horrible for young women today my mother was a model in Chicago during the late fifties she was a size 7 she told me the average model size was a 10. Women are supposed to have curves.

  83. At least Polo Ralph Lauren apologises on behalf of their brand (though I really asked “Why?”):

    “For over 42 years we have built a brand based on quality and integrity. After further investigation, we have learned that we are responsible for the poor imaging and retouching that resulted in a very distorted image of a women’s body. We have addressed the problem and going forward will take every precaution to ensure that the caliber of our artwork represents our brand appropriately.”

    No answer to the question about ms Hamilton’s reaction, thankfully that came in the newspaper today. The lawyer sending Polo Ralph Lauren’s DCMA (or whatever you call the “Copyright Act” over and down there) requests has not responded yet.

  84. Take those clothes off. You won’t see a naked lady. You’ll see the skeleton they used in my anatomy class!

  85. This is one of the sickest pictures I’ve ever seen. Please feed that boy, he must 11 years old and weigh 40 pounds! Poor kid, didnt his mama ever feed him. No, but seriously, I’ll never EVER buy anything Ralph Lauren after this. Freakin sick people.

  86. Well crap. Here come the pitchforks for me. I’m an annoyingly skinny, totally flat-chested and flat-bottomed girl who lives on the typical New Orleans see-food diet. I would like to have some boobs and a butt, but I’ll have to buy them I think. Whether we are big, small or in-between, we need to leave people alone. That means no photoshop, boob jobs, accusations of anorexia, fat-girl jokes or weird diets that increase bowel movement frequency. Everyone is hating everyone else right now and the fashion houses keep right on doing what they do. Ignore the turds (i.e. no press or your dollars) and they’ll go away.

  87. È davvero un’abominio. Il corpo delle donne è sottoposto a qualsiasi tipo di violenza, oppressione e ridicolizzazione. E io, da italiana, lo so bene!

  88. Thats just stupid and irresponsible. On another note, photoshop disasters got shut down for displaying this image. Ralph Lauren, you suck. (I know.. this wasn’t really a well thought out, intelligent response.. but it honestly doesn’t deserve one.)

  89. This image is so disturbing. There are so many girls and women striving to meet the unattainable pressures put on them to meet the “beauty” scale (pun intended) and dying in the process. If Marylin Monroe was born today, she would not be the iconic figure of female sexuality, but rather branded as a whale. Fashion sells, cosmetics sell, diets sell and they make huge profits for the indusrty. WHY????? Because the motivation behind them is to make women feel so badly about themselves they will buy whatever is beíng shoved down their throats to become someóne else. Heck ladies. Just get a photoshop program yourself for 20 dollars or so and with a few short hours of practice, you can cut, stretch, paint and airbrush yourself into a image like this…then post it on facebook and go have a hamburger.

  90. I love the way, on every site where this and similarly grotesque photoshopped travesties have featured, there’s always people who claim to see them as realistic and/or desirable, or are ready to defend their use.

    Apart from the media and fashion retailers, I believe there’s another group that needs a finger pointed at it (yet never does, to my knowledge). That would be– “recovered” anorexics! No, not all of them. Just the ones who invariably step in to defend the fashion industry, no matter what extremes it goes to, because “eating disorders are all about being in control”.

    Clearly, this is case of generalising from the particular. In their own case it may be true– though I suspect some just don’t like to admit they got suckered– but obviously this is not true for everyone, so the claim that ads like this have nothing to do with eating disorders is a dubious one, to say the least.

    As for the particular person who attacks “Anonymous” for “allowing a man to criticise her body”, when she clearly *needed* to be told she was dangerously thin… I don’t know what to say. *Sure* you’ve really recovered, sweetheart? That sounds a lot like the creepy pseudo-feminist posturing of the “pro-ana” movement to me. As indeed does all this talk of “control”. Anorexics may *think* they have more control over themselves than other people, but this is clearly a delusion, and in fact the reverse is true. It sounds like this person has quite an ego about her (former?) disease.

    Now, I’m saying this as someone who is a.) naturally very skinny myself, and b.) pretty sure that most of the figures on the supposed prevalence of anorexia are grossly exaggerated (I have never known a *single person* with an eating disorder in my entire life!) Okay? See, it’s not just fat people and fanatical campaigners against anorexia who find this stuff disturbing. That’s one bizarre picture, and it would be surprise if some vulnerable young girls *didn’t* get influenced by it.

    Finally, to those people wondering whether it’s real: Nope. I am a professional graphic artist and I can tell you that picture is clearly the result of appallingly clumsy retouching. So bad, in fact, that the only question is whether this was really put out by Ralph Lauren, or is just a hoax.

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