A Melbourne mum is in disbelief after she was offered an option to ‘retouch’ her daughters’ school photos.
Mira Smoljko said school photography packages usually include options for class, sibling and individual profile shots, but this year's package included a $22 ‘blemish removal’ option.
“We're sending out a message to our girls saying, ‘You're not good enough as you are, you could be made better’,” Mira said.
“I was actually just sitting there reading and re-reading it thinking, ‘This can't be real, we're talking about high school photos, photographs of children’,” she said.
The battle to instill her daughters with a healthy body image is a war she already wages daily.
Christine Morgan from the Butterfly foundation is passionate about not putting value on appearance.
“Just please can we start to value ourselves for who we are, not what we look like, can we accept our bodies [and] enjoy living our life not so hung up on how we look all the time,” she said.
The Principal of St Columba's College in Essendon insisted the school does not endorse Photoshopping school photos, and that it has a proud record of working on positive body image.
She pointed out that only two of the 900 families at the school chose the retouch option.
The external provider National Photography claims it captures a student’s academic life as accurately and honestly as possible, but offers an option for retouching minor blemishes or cuts and bruises at a parent's request, and that it never alters images in any other way.
“I’m hoping that parents don't take it up as an option,” Mira said.