So SABC’s smash hit, Strictly Come Dancing, is back on our silver screens in its fourth incarnation this time around. As with Idols, I get subjected to this torturous television show and Sunday was my first taste as Chantelle laid her hands on a recording of the show her mom had made for her. Fortunately for me, I was not alone in viewing it as the rest of the Montgomery clan were all huddled around the television at the time.

A lot of comments were being made that this show features Tanya van Graan as one of the contestants; a woman voted the sexiest in the world by our local FHM men’s magazine and a cover and pinup model that pretty much appears on most of our local (and international) newsstands.

Funnily enough, a comment was made over how much better she looks on the posters than on the show, which immediately made me recall the furious debate that had raged around the Faith Hill and Redbook cover photo controversy that raised its head last year.

For those of you who don’t know, most of the images that you ever see appear in print only gets released after it has been suitably ‘touched up’ by either an airbrush artist or more commonly nowadays, a photoshop (or any other image manipulation software package) practitioner. Basically what happens is that the touch up artist is responsible for removing any spots, blemishes or other undesirable parts of the model and then delivering for final print the image of the so-called perfect woman.

Of course, this is a major headache for any person involved with the campaign against forcing female stereotypes as portrayed by the media on the unsuspecting public but of course, this is pretty much business as usual in the industry. It seems that we aren’t able to accept that our stars and idols are just as human as what we are, faults and flaws included. We need them to be as perfect as possible so that we have something to strive for, no matter how impossible it might just be.

Tanya van Graan1

It is an interesting debate in which it is fairly obvious that the media is wrong on this one (or so I would also like to believe)… Though of course, being a male member of the human species, I’m more intrigued with the photoshop techniques used than anything else… :)

So here we have Tanya van Graan as she appears in the pages of boy’s mag ZOO Weekly, versus Tanya van Graan as she appears on live television in Strictly Come Dancing, Season 4. (In other words, no Photoshop for live TV!)

Tanya van Graan2

The Faith Hill controversy as she appears on the cover of Redbook

Faith Hill