CVS Pharmacy has made it clear that they believe real beauty is really beautiful. It was announced last week that the pharmaceutical chain would no longer be supporting the use of post-production photo-alteration for beauty product advertisements.
CVS is not the first brand to take on this sort of initiative; ModCloth, Target, and ASOS are just a few examples of companies that have have made similar promises to avoid Photoshopped images. However, seeing as CVS Pharmacy is the largest drugstore chain, it has the potential to encourage other companies to do the same.
“As a woman, mother and president of a retail business whose customers predominantly are women, I realize we have a responsibility to think about the messages we send to the customers we reach each day,” Helen Foulkes, President of CVS Pharmacy, stated. “The connection between the propagation of unrealistic body images and negative health effects, especially in girls and young women, has been established.”
CVS has promised to avoid the use of unnecessary Photoshop in its own campaigns. “We will not digitally alter or change a person’s shape, size, proportion, skin or eye color or enhance or alter lines, wrinkles or other individual characteristics,” CVS said in a press release. “We want our beauty aisle to be a place where our customers can always come to feel good, while representing and celebrating the authenticity and diversity of the communities we serve.”
The company is taking the plan one step further with the introduction of the “CVS Beauty Mark,” a watermark that will be added to the packaging of products that do not feature modified images. The “Beauty Mark” will start on CVS-brand beauty products in 2018, but the company hopes that outside partners will adopt the strategy by 2020. By that time, CVS will require brands that manipulate their images to add a warning label to the packaging to indicate the imagery has been “digitally modified” in order for the product to be sold in CVS stores.
This no-Photoshop initiative has been introduced at a time in which body-positive messages are finally being celebrated within the fashion and beauty industries. Celebrities such as Blake Lively, Ashley Graham, Rihanna, and many others have come forward to express that every body is beautiful.
“We have really unrealistic beauty standards and beauty norms,” Lively told Today. “What you’re seeing on red carpets and in magazines takes a lot of effort and a lot of people. People don’t understand that it’s all very constructed. What little girls are seeing isn’t what [these celebrities] look like when they wake up in the morning — even though it’s no less beautiful.”
Deborah Weinswig, a managing director at Fung Global Retail and Technology, estimates that the change in the beauty industry is the result of the more positive attitudes regarding standards of beauty valued by young consumers. “The beauty industry could witness its most significant transformation in the coming decade, largely influenced by millennials, who will be the demographic spending the most on beauty,” Weinswig told CNN Money.
The new era of non-Photoshopped images that has begun to define our mainstream culture is allowing women and girls to feel more comfortable in their skin and not feel pressured by unrealistic expectations. CVS’s new initiative is just one step toward a brighter future for beauty standards, and will certainly make the world a more comfortable, positive place for women.
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