Rumer Willis isn't here for your photoshopping skills, particularly when they're utilized to make her look like someone she's not. The Dancing With the Stars alum, who has been vocal about both body confidence and the intense bullying she has faced about her appearance, took to Instagram to denounce a Vanity Fair image that she claims thinned her jaw line. Willis slammed the allegedly photoshopped image and shared the photo on Instagram with a call-to-action to her friends and fans. Bustle has reached out to Vanity Fair for comment, but has not yet heard back. Update: The photographer's behind the image released a statement to Page Six that reads in part, "[retouching] was only done to resolve some distortion with using a wide angle lens for a group shot, and not to alter or modify anyone’s face."
Earlier: Willis wrote in her Instagram caption,
Any friends [or] fans of mine who posted this I would appreciate if you took it down. The photographer Photoshopped my face to make my jaw smaller and I find it really offensive for anyone to try and change the way you look so drastically. I love the way I look and I won't support anyone who would feel a need to change the way I look to make me beautiful. Whether or not they realize it, it is a form of bullying, which I won't stand for.
Willis is not wrong. By photoshopping her appearance to conform to the socially-approved beauty aesthetic, the underlying message is that the features she's working with aren't acceptable as they are. They have to be fixed, or edited, or changed in order to fit in with society's definition of beauty. And consciously making the choice to alter someone's appearance — whether it's by digitally slimming their jaw line, their waist line, or whatever feature the photo editor chooses — sends and promotes the message: You are not good enough the way you are.
It's a concept that Willis, the eldest daughter of Bruce Willis and Demi Moore, feels strongly about. In fact, she has spoken passionately and at length about a childhood filled with tabloids and bullies tearing her down in regards to her looks. During her time on DWTS, she recalled how she was relentlessly bullied as a teenager — so much so that she even considered plastic surgery, New York Magazine's The Cut reports.
"People would say I looked like a man or something called a 'butterface,' which means everything good but her face, or potato head was the big term that everyone used a lot, basically making fun of the way I looked," she tearfully recalled on DWTS. "For years I thought 'Maybe I can get plastic surgery ... If I change my face or get really skinny, that will be it, that will be the answer.' And it's not."
Instead, she learned, the answer was self-acceptance.
"We all need to stop bullying ourselves and being cruel to other women. Attacking one another instead of supporting one another has become the norm," she told Glamour in 2015. "Life’s hard enough as it is. Let’s find strength in the fact that we’re different and unique. Let’s allow ourselves to say, 'These are my flaws, but I’m still beautiful.'"
And in regards to the photoshopping accusations, this is not the first time that Willis has taken a strong stance against photo-editing techniques.
"Until recently the thought of making one misstep that could be criticized would stop me from trying new things and from standing up for myself... Then last year I decided to pose for a fashion shoot, and without my permission my face was photoshopped to appear thinner," she told Glamour. "I’d had enough and spoke out against it. I was done allowing other people’s perceptions of me to dictate how I viewed myself."
Though it's distressing to realize that Willis' Glamour piece was written in June 2015 and she still has to make the same arguments a year later, it is absolutely crucial that she is speaking out, taking a stand, and refusing to be a victim to anyone who declares she somehow needs to be "improved." It's clear that as long as photographers keep photoshopping Willis, she will continue to demand to be seen for who she really is — any perceived "flaws" and all.