Dana Suchow in “before” and “after” images. Photo courtesy of Dana Suchow.
A popular New York fashion blogger has come clean about using Photoshop to alter the shape of her body in the pictures that are central to her stories. Dana Suchow, 30, said she decided to publish the revealing post after quite a bit of soul searching about body image and honesty, and to get across the message that “nobody is flawless.”
Suchow started her blog, “Do the Hotpants,” just over two years ago, after moving from San Francisco. Her style is fun and DIY and just “me being silly,” she told Yahoo Health, which seems to resonate with her 3,500 Instagram fans and 2,000-plus blog followers. But she started moving toward what she called a “love your body direction” just over a year ago, when she was working on her recovery from a binge-eating disorder coupled with over-exercising to the point of injury — a healing process she honored by getting a “Love This Body” reminder tattoo on her hand. “I’ve suffered from low self-esteem and bad acne my whole life,” she said, “so putting my photos up there like that was not an easy thing.”
The buzzed-about blog post, which Suchow published on Aug. 4, is titled, “Photos I Wish I Didn’t Photoshop.” It features five before-and-after images of Suchow — first, the flawless, digitally altered version, as it had appeared in a past blog post on her site, and then the actual untouched photo (marked up with red arrows to indicate which part of her body she was unhappy about).
Photo courtesy of Dana Suchow.
Along with the images, she wrote: “In my ongoing mission to lift the veil that is currently suffocating us women, I realized that I, Hotpants, haven’t been entirely truthful with you. I’m sorry :( But because I want to be as transparent with you as possible, I’ve decided to expose the instances where I used photoshop to distort and change my body. I know it might only look like an inch or 2 removed from my waist, or a couple zits blurred here and there, but my stomach and my skin have been huge insecurities for me my entire life. So me revealing these images to you are a HUGE DEAL 4 ME & not to be taken lightly. I’m putting my flaws out there, as little or as big as they seem, so please respect that this isn’t easy for anyone.” Her purpose, she added, was to remind readers that “Not everything is real,” and that “Even people you look up to are flawed.”
Her post is particularly timely, as just this week the online retailer ModCloth became the first fashion retailer to sign the Brave Girls Alliance Truth in Advertising Heroes Pledge, connected to Truth in Advertising Bill, which has advertisers promise to “do [their] best not to change the shape, size, proportion, color and/or remove/enhance the physical features, of the people in [their] ads in post-production,” and if they do, to label the image with a clear disclaimer.
This is great news all around, according to Dr. Robyn Silverman, author of “Good Girls Don’t Get Fat: How Weight Obsession is Messing Up Our Girls and How We Can Help Them Thrive Despite It,” and a Brave Girls Alliance advisor. “The more that advertisers and bloggers can be authentic and show the real depiction of women’s bodies not only as acceptable but beautiful, the more the public can look at their own bodies and be more accepting and celebratory of them, as well,” she told Yahoo Health.
Suchow, who said she won’t alter images of her body from now on unless the photo comes along with a disclaimer announcing it, said that most of the feedback about her revealing post has been supportive and positive. Though some have accused her of intentionally adding the flaws to her photos in order to get attention, and others have said they couldn’t relate to her struggle since she was not overweight. Still, she said, “Everybody has stuff. I’ve met models who hate themselves, I’ve met fat people who love themselves. You never know what someone’s internal struggle is.”