Viral: The Buzz of Airbrushing

Every couple of months these go viral...magazine covers, fashion spread images, album covers...all that depict the drastic ways in which editors enhance the bodies of actors, actresses, models, and other public figures.

Social media has amplified the sharing of these images, with them being tweeted, facebooked and blogged across the social sphere. Here's a recent example that's been shared over 150K times released by the queen of pop, Britney Spears, herself...and counting.

Having an internal debate over here...do these before/after images have a positive or negative impact on self-image? Especially amongst teenagers who are amongst the fastest growing demographic on Twitter, this is of concern.

Do these images go viral because we're horrified of how much change happens? Or because we are shocked about the way these icons look without re-touching? Would we rather the images be raw and real? Or would that keep us from purchasing the products over time?

Ultimately, is the sharing of these images, which is greatly amplified by social media, positive or negative? Does it generate awareness about how distorted body image is today or does it perpetuate the implied "need" to retouch?

So many questions...and certainly interesting food for thought.