'Pit'stop photoshop: Why the debate around Priyanka Chopra's armpits matters

Ankita Maneck

Jun 22, 2016 14:53:16 IST

Photoshop is to magazines what misogyny is to Salman Khan. Magazines have been using the tool to "enhance" features of celebs on the cover for years. Public figures like Amy Schumer and Huma Qureshi have even spoken up against it.

However, the overused photo correction tool recently came into focus when it was used on our latest export to Hollywood: Priyanka Chopra. But for internationally famous FBI-agent playing, Baywatch-starring Priyanka Chopra, courting controversy is not a big deal.

Here is Priyanka Chopra featured on the June-July issue of Maxim:

My new cover! Thank you @maxim.india #pctopsmaximhot100 #maximhot100 @stephaniebbmakeup @tedgibson

A photo posted by Priyanka Chopra (@priyankachopra) on

Look closely and you will see that Priyanka has Barbie's smooth creaseless armpits, and Buzzfeed India was the first one to point this out.

If we start calling out every cover that uses photoshop to enhance a magazine we'll run out of time. But the grossly unrealistic ideal potrayed in the cover started a big twitter discussion. Priyanka Chopra's armpits took centerstage, leaving less important issues behind. Even the Queen of gossip Perez Hilton tweeted about it

And this made it to news websites like The Independent who took a breather from discussing UK's Brexit and tweeted about Priyanka Chopra's underarms.

However, Priyanka Chopra then went on to post a photo of her un-photoshopped armpits, which though not photoshopped, look great. And more importantly, real.

Priyanka Chopra's armpits were trending on twitter, gaining international attention. The debate inevitably turned to the need to use Photoshop to make women's bodies look a certain way. Why is there an inevitable need to improve on a way a woman's body looks?  This is not the first time a magazine has been under fire for the need to use an airbrush tool to smoothen an armpit or calm down a blister. 

Richa Chaddha recently spoke about how unrealistic beauty standards in the film industry made her develop an eating disorder. Kerry Washington has repeatedly called out magazines on photoshopping her cover photo to make her look skinnier and lightening her skin tone. Then there is Lena Dunham speaking out against her body looking completely different from what she is used to on a magazine.

Closer to home, take a look at the July 2015 cover of Vogue's covergirl Rani Mukherjee. The 38 year old actress, though stunning in her own right looks very different in person (and in candid photos) as compared to the cover. Miley Cyrus's cover for Candy, armpit hair and all is another extreme.Though the cover was just meant to shock, the armpit hair proves a point, that it is natural and there is nothing wrong with having it.

Photoshop isn't only being used by magazines to promote their covers, bloggers have taken to it too to use it on their Instagram and blog posts. Everybody wants to look perfect and the digital world allows us the freedom to use tools that make us.

We all want to look like we are right out Vogue's latest cover, but real life starts to take a toll and we slowly start to hate the way our own body looks to us. Underneath the facade of glamour aren't we promoting a culture of negative body image and festering eating disorders?

So while Priyanka's armpits were definitely photoshopped, the fact that Maxim was called out on this makes us think that the internet is definitely taking a step in the right direction. Yes, there is an unrealistic beauty standards, but atleast now there are people pointing it out.

Updated Date: Jun 22, 2016 14:55:52 IST

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