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Getting Real

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Jenna Boss ’15 sees a big problem in fashion marketing. The models are digitally slimmed down in images that are touched up.

“Every day, we’re exposed to a constant buzz of what we are — and are not — supposed to look like,” she says. “There’s this idealistic body image we’re all trying to emulate. We wish we could look like those models.”

Often, she says, people conclude they don’t really have that “ideal” body image. And that, she adds, is crippling her generation’s self-esteem.

“We’re taught from a young age that the way we look is a determining factor in who we are and what we’ll become,” she says. “But lots of people don’t know that what they’re seeing is fake.”

Boss says she has a potential fix for this: a label, but not another fashion label. Hers is more like the “organic” sticker on a piece of fruit.

“It’s a digital label that lets you know what you’re consuming. It says “E&A FREE” and it can be added to images in print, online or even on TV. The label will certify that an image has not been enhanced or altered in any way. It tells people that what they’re looking at is real.”

The idea came to her during a Clarkson project for her major in social documentation.

“My professor asked me to work on an issue that’s really important to me.”

Now she has a website, a video on YouTube and is raising funds to push the idea to a larger audience.

“There are some technical issues that still need to be worked out,” she says. “I need to certify that a digital image is an original and not manipulated.”

Once she’s solved that challenge (and she says she’s close), Boss is looking forward to launching the “E&A FREE” campaign.

“This is why I came to Clarkson,” she says. “I wasn’t just pushed to come up with big ideas. I got help turning my ideas into reality. This has the potential to affect real change in our society. I can’t wait to see what happens next.”

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Students walk by banners and silhouettes that are part of the Enhancement & Alteration Free body-image campaign.