The development of a negative body image is a significant issue that can lead to serious mental and physical health problems. Critical media literacy skills can help build resistance against the ‘perfect’ images we are bombarded with every day.
No Bodies Perfekt uses augmented reality to block out advertising and communicate alternative narratives. Hand-lettered messages prompt viewers to critically examine the images they see to cultivate a more realistic perspective towards their own bodies.
Images we see in the public sphere have often been assembled and edited to be appear perfect, flawless, even ‘better’ than reality. This image was created by bringing together at the very least: a professional model, hair and make-up team, directed studio lighting, industrial fan for windswept hair, high-end camera equipment, a fashion photographer, and a digital retoucher. The digital overlay of ‘no bodies perfekt’ (spelling mistake intentional) acts to educate viewers that they should not expect themselves to resemble the professionally constructed images they see.
Advertising is regularly populated with images of ‘perfect’ people, and imply that looking good is the only way to a life of happiness. Those images do not reflect reality. Your appearance does not equal your value — there is far more to you than what you look like.
From a design perspective, this advertisement is a spectacular achievement for the casting agent who managed to gather so many good looking people together in one room. You could suggest incorporating models of various ethnic backgrounds demonstrates diversity, but really, they only perpetuate and reinforce the impossibly out-of-reach body shape ideal. The advert isn’t about demonstrating diversity, it’s about targeting a more diverse range of customer.
The digital overlay of ‘what techniques are being used to attract your attention?’ highlights that this arrangement of models is no accident. It’s important to remember this image does not reflect reality. It has been carefully constructed for one reason — to sell clothing.