Play the Ugly Side of the Beauty Industry in Cover Girl

Play the Ugly Side of the Beauty Industry in Cover Girl

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The U.K.'s Channel 4 has unveiled a game called Cover Girl that invites players to examine the ethics of glamor magazines by letting them virtually manipulate photographs for fictional publications.

If there's one thing I learned during my years spent in the fashion industry, it's that nobody in magazines looks like that in real life. And where lifts, lipo and boob jobs aren't enough to do the trick, photo editors have a tool in their belts that has perfection just a mouse-click away: Photoshop. It's ethically dubious, not just for the dishonest presentation but because of the unrealistic and unattainable goals it sets for "normal" people who want to look like their idols, but it happens all the time.

And now you too can be a part of the problem thanks to Cover Girl, a Flash game that lets you shave flab, trim "bingo wings" and balloon boobs, all in the name of having physical perfection on the cover of your magazine. You begin the game as an editorial assistant working on "Phoney" magazine, assigned to make shots of three women suitable for use on the cover. It's a fairly simple process of pointing, clicking and dragging where you're told, with a three-tiered rating system that grades the speed of your work. Finish with "Phoney" and you'll move on to rags like "Poser," "Fluff" and "Faux"; there are eight in all, each a little trickier than the last.

"The images of beauty that stare out at us from glossy pages are largely an unnatural product of digital manipulation - and yet teens strive to emulate the pictures they see on magazines and in advertising campaigns," the Channel 4 website says. "Cover Girl... aims to help teenagers understand that media and images are usually airbrushed, distorted and very carefully designed, so that what they see on a page is an unrealistic aesthetic ideal."

It's easy to forget that people never look that good in the wild and that's especially true for young girls who may not be aware of just how much work actually goes into these photos. As a game, it's not great; as a starting point for a discussion on society's expectations of beauty, I think it has some real value. Give it a try at playcovergirl.com.

via: Develop

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I'm gonna get flack for this, but this seems to be in the same vein as the anti-rapist game.

"LETS BRING PEOPLE IN ON THIS TRICK BY CREATING A GAME WHERE YOU ARE FORCED TO LOOK DIRECTLY AT THIS TRICK."

Dude, have you ever played an MMO? Have you seen the humongous melons atop teeny tiny waists (Men and Women)? If you didn't know about it by now, you're probably still wondering how the X-Factor winner got his biography into the shops the day after he won.

You want people to understand airbrushing? Give them a reason NOT to use it.

The_root_of_all_evil:
I'm gonna get flack for this, but this seems to be in the same vein as the anti-rapist game.

"LETS BRING PEOPLE IN ON THIS TRICK BY CREATING A GAME WHERE YOU ARE FORCED TO LOOK DIRECTLY AT THIS TRICK."

Dude, have you ever played an MMO? Have you seen the humongous melons atop teeny tiny waists (Men and Women)? If you didn't know about it by now, you're probably still wondering how the X-Factor winner got his biography into the shops the day after he won.

You want people to understand airbrushing? Give them a reason NOT to use it.

I don't understand what you mean. I think these games work very well. You play the game, you realise just how shallow it all really is. It is true that younger girls don't quite understand the digital techniques used on the covers, and it is easily possible that they think it's all real. The anti-rapist game works on two ends too. Warns girls about potential rapists, and warns guys about false rape charges that can easily be made against them.

Thyunda:
You play the game, you realise just how shallow it all really is.

You don't though. You realise how shallow the game is, but if you believe in those magazines, you think they're exaggerating it.

It is true that younger girls don't quite understand the digital techniques used on the covers, and it is easily possible that they think it's all real.

They do. I honestly don't think this will do anything to stop them.

The anti-rapist game works on two ends too. Warns girls about potential rapists, and warns guys about false rape charges that can easily be made against them.

And on two other ends. Informs girls how to make charges stick, and tells guys how to avoid real charges.

You want to stop both of these things happening? Go to the people who are causing it, rather than the potential victims and hurting all those surrounding.

I think "social message" games really need to knock it off. I'm all for free speech but this is getting obnoxious.

For starters I think that the assumption that people are ignorant about this kind of thing is ridiculous, people have known about Hollywood and Fashion photography for many years, and that includes teens. Heck, they have even done "child information bits" between cartoons and such to make that point. What's more the "poor ignorant teens" themselves use Photoshop already and don't need to be informed about shopping photos to make them look better or worse. I mean a lot of those internet photos floating around as jokes are shopped by teens and the like, and plenty of people go through tons of effort to "shop" their photos for their blogs, avatars, and other things so they will look good as it is. Heck, sites like Encyclopedia Dramatica even have pages (or did, I haven't called for a while) making fun of the "Fat Girl Angle Shot" and so on. :)

That said, I'd beg to differ about "Nobody looking that good" as well. A lot of people can come pretty close when they dress up and aim for that appearance. I think a lot of the pressure against "fashion photography" and so on is simple jealousy, with "protecting girls from unreasonable expectations" and so on, simply being a way of justifying the crusades, like most other "think of the children" cries.

I'll be blunt, beauty is an advantage, especially for girls. People literally line up to give attractive girls things, and will forgive a LOT of mistakes for a pretty face and/or nice body. This of course means that those who don't have those attributes and advantages are jealous, and don't think it's fair. In today's media-centric world exists the ultimate oppertunity to be catty.

This is not to say that there aren't some true horror stories out there, there have been girls who have done the purging/anorexic thing to the point of damaging themselves. However we technically see cases like this made by parading the worst cases around as an example and trying to present that as the standards. Purging has been around for a very long time, it's not like some fairly recent thing caused simply by showgirls in the media.

It's one of those things that bugs me, simply because of how I've seen it play out. I *DO* think there are some legitimate issues here, but not on that large a scale, or at least not big enough where I think people should be making games like this one. Especially seeing as I think it encourages a view of ignorance, where there actually isn't any. I find it ironic when you hear about Tech-Savvy teens doing messed up things with Photoshop, and how much of a problem it can be, and then hear about how obviously they haven't heard about image modification so they need to be informed about it otherwise they might think everything they see pictures of has to be the unembellished truth!

Just because you know about something and have become amazingly jaded at all representations of it doesn't mean the conversation ought never be broadened or brought to a larger audience, whether by flash game or colored magnetic ribbon or avatar insignia.

Therumancer:
I find it ironic when you hear about Tech-Savvy teens doing messed up things with Photoshop, and how much of a problem it can be, and then hear about how obviously they haven't heard about image modification so they need to be informed about it otherwise they might think everything they see pictures of has to be the unembellished truth!

But they're obviously not the intended target of games like this. It's the kids 11 or 12 years old, maybe even younger, who are just beginning to become aware of their body image and form opinions about what they want to look like and, even more important, what they think they should look like. They're the ones this game is meant for. I'm not a big believer in a lot of the psycho-social bullshit used to excuse every irrational human behaviour from bulimia to mass murder these days, but I sure don't think it's a bad idea to give kids a heads-up that the flawless skin and perfect asses they see plastered across dozens of magazines on the rack at the grocery store don't come naturally.

As far as games go, that was was infuriating from a mechanical point of view. I gave up on the third magazine.

The_root_of_all_evil:
I'm gonna get flack for this, but this seems to be in the same vein as the anti-rapist game.

"LETS BRING PEOPLE IN ON THIS TRICK BY CREATING A GAME WHERE YOU ARE FORCED TO LOOK DIRECTLY AT THIS TRICK."

Dude, have you ever played an MMO? Have you seen the humongous melons atop teeny tiny waists (Men and Women)? If you didn't know about it by now, you're probably still wondering how the X-Factor winner got his biography into the shops the day after he won.

You want people to understand airbrushing? Give them a reason NOT to use it.

Except understanding and not using don't go hand in hand. Seeing these "real life" women does project the image tht they exist, regardless of MMOs and other "fake" media.

The_root_of_all_evil:

Thyunda:
You play the game, you realise just how shallow it all really is.

You don't though. You realise how shallow the game is, but if you believe in those magazines, you think they're exaggerating it.

It is true that younger girls don't quite understand the digital techniques used on the covers, and it is easily possible that they think it's all real.

They do. I honestly don't think this will do anything to stop them.

The anti-rapist game works on two ends too. Warns girls about potential rapists, and warns guys about false rape charges that can easily be made against them.

And on two other ends. Informs girls how to make charges stick, and tells guys how to avoid real charges.

You want to stop both of these things happening? Go to the people who are causing it, rather than the potential victims and hurting all those surrounding.

Good idea, let me just bring up my list of rapists in the area that haven't gone to jail because nobody got around to it, and I'll start rounding them up.

....oh wait

The_root_of_all_evil:
I'm gonna get flack for this, but this seems to be in the same vein as the anti-rapist game.

"LETS BRING PEOPLE IN ON THIS TRICK BY CREATING A GAME WHERE YOU ARE FORCED TO LOOK DIRECTLY AT THIS TRICK."

Dude, have you ever played an MMO? Have you seen the humongous melons atop teeny tiny waists (Men and Women)? If you didn't know about it by now, you're probably still wondering how the X-Factor winner got his biography into the shops the day after he won.

You want people to understand airbrushing? Give them a reason NOT to use it.

What trick? The trick of using photoshop to start a major magazine business? I can sort of get why the rape game might be a problem, but nobody is going to be able to start a new version of cosmo off of this game.

Also, it really doesn't matter if girls approve of the airbrushing or not once they see the game as long as they KNOW it is airbrushing, because then they'll realize that they're not ugly, it's that the shit in magazines is FAKE.

danpascooch:

Good idea, let me just bring up my list of rapists in the area that haven't gone to jail because nobody got around to it, and I'll start rounding them up.

....oh wait

You want a list? I'm sure there's a whole load in the courts.

danpascooch:

Also, it really doesn't matter if girls approve of the airbrushing or not once they see the game as long as they KNOW it is airbrushing, because then they'll realize that they're not ugly, it's that the shit in magazines is FAKE.

Because people still believe Wrestling is fake, or do they?

The_root_of_all_evil:

danpascooch:

Good idea, let me just bring up my list of rapists in the area that haven't gone to jail because nobody got around to it, and I'll start rounding them up.

....oh wait

You want a list? I'm sure there's a whole load in the courts.

danpascooch:

Also, it really doesn't matter if girls approve of the airbrushing or not once they see the game as long as they KNOW it is airbrushing, because then they'll realize that they're not ugly, it's that the shit in magazines is FAKE.

Because people still believe Wrestling is fake, or do they?

First of all, please explain what you mean by "list in the courts" so I can tell you specifically why you're wrong.

Secondly, what does wrestling have to do with anything? They are two completely separate issues, the problem is girls think that looking like a covergirl is NORMAL and this game helps them see that even the covergirls THEMSELVES don't look like that. You don't see men going "dammit, why can't I get into what is basically a pair of briefs and make a fool of myself on stage like THOSE guys!?" The motivation and issues behind wrestling are 100% different and irrelevant.

This game amused me for a while, but then the sheer unreasonableness of it pissed me off to the point where I just said to myself "fuck this, and it's fucking message."
It's unreasonable to think that an irritating flash game will change how any girl sees things.
If anything, I'm just angry and Channel 4 for wasting my fucking time with a shittily made flash game that had stupid timers and buggy controls.
They can fuck right off if they think I'll be pulled into this idea of changing awareness to help others.

Fuck you Channel 4, and fuck your shitty flash developers. They fucking suck.

Iznat:
This game amused me for a while, but then the sheer unreasonableness of it pissed me off to the point where I just said to myself "fuck this, and it's fucking message."
It's unreasonable to think that an irritating flash game will change how any girl sees things.
If anything, I'm just angry and Channel 4 for wasting my fucking time with a shittily made flash game that had stupid timers and buggy controls.
They can fuck right off if they think I'll be pulled into this idea of changing awareness to help others.

Fuck you Channel 4, and fuck your shitty flash developers. They fucking suck.

LMAO great review.

CitySquirrel:
As far as games go, that was was infuriating from a mechanical point of view. I gave up on the third magazine.

I quit at the end of the second when I was putting the shine in the hair and was almost done but it wanted to make me do the whole fucking thing over again because I moved the mouse to fast and went outside the line. Fuck you game, if someone did that in real life, that's what the erase tool is for.

I dont know why people are attacking these type of games, why cause its a video game psa?

mjc0961:
I quit at the end of the second when I was putting the shine in the hair and was almost done but it wanted to make me do the whole fucking thing over again because I moved the mouse to fast and went outside the line. Fuck you game, if someone did that in real life, that's what the erase tool is for.

or ctrl + Z

I get what they were trying to do but the actions that the player performed were too far disconnected from the outcome for it to be anything other than crap.

psrdirector:
I dont know why people are attacking these type of games, why cause its a video game psa?

Did you even play it? Some of the tasks are almost impossible because the timer is going faster than once can reasonable do the tasks. And many of those tasks are "click the glowing spot". They offer a bronze, gold, or silver medal, but I don't think it is possible to get a gold in some of them...like the one where you are making Crystal look pregnant. Seriously, try it...

 

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