Keira Knightley, the English actress famous for her roles in such films as Pirates of the Caribbean and Pride & Prejudice, has dared to pose topless in Interview Magazine—but only on the condition that the photos appear unedited.
"I think women’s bodies are a battleground and photography is partly to blame," the 29-year-old actress told Britain’s The Times newspaper. "I've had (images of)* my body manipulated so many different times for so many different reasons."
She went on to tell the newspaper that she agreed to the photo shoot because she wanted people to see what she really looks like—without edits or enhancements to her breasts or other body parts.
In 2004, Knightley appeared on a poster for the film King Arthur with computer-altered breasts, setting off a firestorm among body image activists. She was the center of controversy again in 2006 when she and fellow actress Scarlett Johansson were photographed naked, posing next to fashion designer Tom Ford, who was fully clothed. The image was a stark illustration of the differences in how men and women are viewed in popular culture.
And the practice of photoshopping is just another way women’s bodies are sexualized and idealized by the media. That’s why Knightley insisted on appearing in the Interview images without edits.
"Our society is so photographic now, it becomes more difficult to see all of those different varieties of shape," she said.
Distorted images aren’t the only thing the actress is talking about in her current press tour for the film, The Imitation Game. She has criticized the film industry for catering to men and for the lack of diversity of female characters. In a recent interview with The Telegraph, another British newspaper, Knightley bemoaned the lack of female geniuses on screen.
In a media environment filled with images of perfection, Knightley’s move was certainly a bold one, but unfortunately, it’s not enough to fix our culture’s body image problem. It’s nearly impossible not to be affected by the images and messages that seem so ingrained in our culture, but women can do a lot to boost their self-esteem and build confidence. If you struggle with low self-confidence or if you’re having a lousy day today, give these five tips a try to improve your mood and start loving yourself.
*"Images of" is our emphasis to note that Ms Knightley is talking about the images of her body being manipulated.