UK Students Shocked at Option to Pay for ‘Digital Slimming’ of Grad Pictures

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Students at the University of York in the UK spent their graduation day yesterday Tweeting images of a controversial offer by school photo agency Success Photography.

When they went on the agency’s site to select their graduation picture options, in addition to how many wallet size prints they wanted and whether or not they wanted a digital download, the site also allowed them to select “Digital Slimming” and “Digital Complexion and Smile Enhancement.”

As you would imagine, the really controversial option was the “digital slimming,” which many students took to mean they could have themselves made to look skinny if they would only be willing to pay £10.

Reactions ranged from saddened to amused, with one student calling the offer “a sad snapshot of society and why many people have such low self-esteem.”

Of course, as everyone from BuzzFeed to the BBC picked up the story, the agency itself to comment on the matter and clear things up. Apparently, the slimming has to do with the ‘unflattering’ graduation gown and not the person:

However, the clarification hasn’t satisfied many who still believe the option, or at the very least its wording, is doing damage to students’ self esteem right when they should be feeling proudest of their achievements.

(via BBC)

  • Jason Yuen

    People complain about NOT having options. People complain about having options. I think what people really want is a dictatorship that unilaterally decides everything and that everything just so happens to be exactly what they want. You can’t have freedom and complain that there are choices that lead to undesirable effects or outcomes.

  • Jeremy Madore

    Spot on. Can’t please everyone even though everyone expects to be pleased.

  • jaakewilson

    Only 9.95 but if you call now!….

  • David Vaughn

    This is the first worldiest first world problem I have seen yet. lol

    “What do you mean I can, but don’t have to, get digital slimming. Outrage!”

  • Renato Murakami

    Nah… the real sad part is that if those students where there during editing process, they’d all go “hey, can you make my teeth whiter, hey, can you slim my arm down, hey can you photoshop this or that out, hey, can you make my skin smoother or cleaner” blah blah, and if the editor doesn’t do it, s**t hits the fan.

  • Kynikos

    From the high school graduation I saw this year, a lot of them could use it.
    I’m resuming the original snaps were done with the Zeiss 15/2.8.

  • arachnophilia

    “thin privilege!”

  • pgb0517

    If this is damaging their self-esteem, then it was pretty weak to begin with.

  • Biff


    I see this all the time:

    This commentary about “people wanting this, and then turning around & wanting that.”

    Which implies that it is THE SAME people who are asking for this AND that.

    Meaning that people don’t know what they want because they complain about not having options AND also complain about having options.

    But in most cases: you’d be wrong.

    Now where you went wrong is in thinking that the people who complained about not having options, is THE SAME people who complain about having options.

    Now if that we’re true, then there may be merit to your tongue-in-cheek solution for a dictator.

    But the key factor people miss all the time is this:

    The people complaining about not having options, is usually a DIFFERENT GROUP OF PEOPLE from the ones complaining about an option.


    – They are not contradicting themselves. (because the ones asking for one thing, are not the same ones asking for another thing)

    – They are not being wishy-washy. (because the ones who wanted one thing, did NOT turn around & ask for something else – that’s a different group of people asking for something else)

    – And they DO know what they want. (because they were not self-contradictory or wishy-washy)

    Now in defense you might say: “but I never assumed it was the same people.”

    And we know that to be false because: the reason we laugh at the targets of these commentaries is due to their apparent “self-contradiction & wishy-washy-ness.”

    If you never assumed they were the same people: then you lose their contradiction, you lose their washyness, and you lose the need for a dictator. (even if it’s just a joke)

    And without a dictator, you lose the joke.

    We see these types of commentaries applied to different scenarios all the time:

    Sometimes it’s about how “people complain about everything… no matter what you do.”

    Let’s say a game developer wants to “nerf” a certain game aspect:

    If he does it: he will get complaints from people invested in that aspect.

    But if he doesn’t do it: he gets complaints from people who think that aspect is overpowered & needs a nerf.

    “Damned if you do, damned if you don’t.”

    Now at this point, there’s nothing wrong with saying “people will complain no matter what” — because that’s the truth.

    The error comes when one gets confused about where the complaints are coming from.

    When you start thinking it comes from the SAME PEOPLE, then the obvious conclusion is that people don’t know what they want.

    And once you go down that wrong road, it won’t be long till you come up with the wrong solution:

    A dictator.

    > “You can’t have freedom and complain that there are choices that lead to undesirable effects or outcomes”

    Yes you can.

    In fact: the ability to complain – no matter how stupid that complaint may be to others – is one of the very foundations to a free society.

    Hell, let’s say you were right: “For the sake of freedom,” give me absolute dominion over your ability to complain over “choices that lead to undesirable effects or outcomes…”

    And I will show you how far I can shut you down.

    Like a dictator.

  • Jason Yuen

    That sounded like an answer to a middle school exam question.

  • Biff

    Sounds like you got no better retort.

    Good to know.

  • Jason Yuen

    Disrespectful posts are not worth replying to with a meaningful answer. :)

  • Biff

    Agreed. Good answer.

  • Biff

    On the contrary: you’ve just misinterpreted his comment.

    His point about “freedom to complain” is clearly not directly connected to the dictator joke. Which is why you’re grasping at straws trying to connect them.

    To top it off: you even got his concept wrong. Which is that you can’t have “freedom AND complain about the choices it entails.” Which is a different concept from “freedom TO complain.”

    It was obvious from my post that I always knew it was sarcasm/joke but wanted to expand on an often missed key factor in these types of commentary.

    And if my logic sounded “complex” to you, my apologies. My forte was always in making it sound simple. Frankly, I think it is simple.

    That clarity of mind, is what allows me to see the flaws in your logic.