Parents Outraged by Photo Retouching Services Offered by 8-Year-Old’s School

Arizona-based journalist Sam Walker sparked social media outrage this week when she tweeted about her young girls’ school photos. Apparently the school is offering various retouching services—including blemish removal, teeth whitening, and evening skin tones—and Walker is not alone in feeling this is ridiculous and possibly harmful.

The social media storm began on Monday, when Walker tweeted out a photograph of the school’s portrait order form. She circled the “Basic” and “Premium” retouching options, writing, “The girls have their school photo today and there is the option to AIRBRUSH the picture! […] What 8 yr old needs to be paranoid about an ‘uneven skin tone.'”

The tweet has since been reshared over 3K times and liked over 14K times, receiving hundreds of replies and earning international media coverage. Most of the commenters were on Walker’s side about the services, with the top replies all agreeing that the offering is totally out of line and sends the wrong message:

Others shared similar experiences from school photos and beyond, where their children had been retouched without the parents even being asked:

Only a few replies came to the school/photographer’s defense, claiming that there’s no harm in giving parents the option, or that they wish the service had existed when they were in school:

That last reply seems to be right on the money. According to Metro, Walker’s husband actually confronted both the school and the photographer, both of whom defended the option. The school told Walker’s husband that these options are “standard practice,” and the photographer defended themselves by revealing that this form is used for older children as well, some of whom are self-conscious about acne.

Still, Tweets and comments defending the option were few and far between, with most commenters applauding Walker for rallying against the service and calling the very option of “evening out” your 8-year-old’s skin tone damaging and offensive. Whether or not you agree with the outrage, it seems school photographers should tread lightly when offering retouching services to the youngest age groups, as these options may be inadvertently sending the wrong message.

(via Metro via Fstoppers)