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Reality Strikes Back: CVS Says No More Retouched Photos

Next Tribe CVS says no to retouched photos


We’re in the midst of a sea change when it comes to how women are treated, talked to and marketed at. Unless you’ve been in a floatation pod for a few months, you know about #metoo and #timesup. But the shifts are going deep and happening in varied facets of our culture. This week, CVS, the drugstore chain that recently acquired Aetna insurance, has taken a step forward and broken with past conventions.

The company has committed to no longer “materially alter” images that relate to its beauty products.

Whether you see a photo inside a bricks and mortar location, on the company’s website or social media, you will know that that the models haven’t been photoshopped into beautiful but unreal creatures. You will see women who have birthmarks, lines, wrinkles and other signs of real life – aging included.

Why the shift? There’s increasing recognition that the media creates artificial standards of beauty that make women feel deeply insecure and inadequate. (In fact, in England, there are rules about such things, and a few years ago, L’Oreal was forced to pull some overly airbrushed ads.)

“It was really a response to the bigger conversation women are having over their own level of empowerment in society,” Helena Foulkes, the president of CVS Pharmacy and executive vice president of CVS Health, told the New York Times about this initiative. CVS is also urging the cosmetics brands it carries to join in; if their beauty products are represented with unmodified images, they will soon have a special symbol on the image – a heart inside a dotted circle. This will let the customer knows they are seeing the real deal, not a fictionalized image of what females look like.

While it’s not a ginormous win like world peace, this policy is a small victory to savor. It tells us a big company is coming clean and wants to celebrate images of real women. For that gift of understanding and honesty, we’ll probably enjoy a few more notches of self-acceptance and self-esteem. We’ll take it, and hope others follow suit ASAP.

– Janet Siroto

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why is gray hair bad on women and not men? round bellies are bad on women and not men? wrinkles and sagging is a sin on women and not men? women: stop listening to men!

the patriarchy has only valued women in terms of their fertility for most of human history…

Michele Martell ..lets make that end!

I agree! Eff that!

Excellent! Thanks, CVS!

I struggle a bit with CVS but they are winning right here!!

I personally think she looks BETTER without the retouching. The retouched photo makes her look like some type of Alien.

Does anyone else think she looks better without retouching?

Yes, I agree. She doesn

doesn’t look real. Much better without retouching!

We need to celebrate the things that make us unique and teach our children the same! This is a step in the right direction! Bravo CVS!

They also have a beautiful model, that needs no retouching.

Who the fuck cares. Makeup is a non issue. When the men in your life reach the point where they need to wear makeup as well as spending their cash on wrinkle creams this might mean something. Make up has shoved down our collective female consciousness long enough. As if this move has anything altruistic in it.


Bravo CVS! Take that choice right away!

Retouching is a big reason why beautiful women never feel beautiful enough. Bravo CVS!

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