skinny pics images

I received an email yesterday from a lady who reads my blog Edel. Hi Edel! She had seen my photo on an advertisement in the app store and had sent me some screen grabs. Skinny Pics app was using my photo for a before and after shot of how their app can slim down your photos and help you “look good, get inspired”. I saw the email while stopped for coffee with my cousin and I said, that’s SO weird. People are weird. Ridiculous.

There was much laughing and ‘oh internets, you so funny’ about it. But then it occurred to me. I’ve looked very much like that before. All big head, broad shoulders, boobs and no butt. I was that ‘skinny’ during high school when I survived on pepsi max, chewing gum and a white chocolate frog a day. Not every day but often enough for long enough. It reminded me of that girl and how much of her life she handed over to the idea of being skinny. How desperate she was to fit in. To fit anything.

Then I got angry. Not just because they took my image without my consent. Infringing my rights as the producer of that content. Not just because they badly {super badly, look at the line in the background} morphed me into some cartoon version of me. And finally I wasn’t angry because they have the nerve to sell it for $1.29 a download and I don’t even get a cut for all my super dooper promotional skills {gag}.

I got angry for every girl out there who believes that she needs big boobs and a disproportionately tiny waist so desperately that this app seems like a good idea. Edit the photos, it’s fun! Share them with friends but never, ever go out the door again. They might see you and they’ll KNOOOOW it’s all a lie. That you’re not skinny at all. Oh the shame. Better yet consider dieting, abusing substances or over-exercising and maybe you’ll look like that. Stop eating all together, maybe then you’ll be good enough. Sarcasm font intended.

Oh I hate that this app even exists and that there is some market for it.

Sure you could say that I’m reading too much into it. That my past of disordered eating and body hatred makes me sensitive to such things. That maybe I need to lighten up and get that it’s a joke. But I can’t do that. I’ve thought about it on and off today. I looked at those images and forgot myself for a moment wondering what it would be like to really look like that. Triggered into a way of thinking that I’ve worked so hard to leave behind me. I can’t just let it go and get the joke. To me it’s not funny nor is it fun. I am the sum of my experience and that is MY face staring back at me triggering those memories and thoughts.

You did that, Christopher Steinbacher of Steinbacher Designs, you and your stupid app. And mate you’re lucky as hell that I am stronger than I was back then. Consider for a moment that if you got to me in the way you did, what sort of impact you’re having out there. Is that what you want your legacy to be?

  • ozdiscdiva

    Yoohoo! You tell ‘em love! Your lawyers are going to have a field day :D

    • http://www.sugercoatit.com/ Melissa Walker Horn

      Mate the only lawyer I have is the one that drafted our wills. Haha. I’ve reported it to the app store. Hopefully it gets pulled. That would be awesome, right?

      • http://littlelioness.net Fiona

        That’s your best bet.

        • http://www.sugercoatit.com/ Melissa Walker Horn

          Done and done. I’ll update when I hear back from them.

  • ozdiscdiva

    Don’t tell them that – as well as copyright there is also your mental distress! You deserve a written apology, which might make them think next time. Well at least a written apology and cash for your mental anguish :D

    • http://www.sugercoatit.com/ Melissa Walker Horn

      Noted! x

  • Guest

    Well a written apology and cash :D

  • Sophisticated Mumma

    I hate app’s like that. No wonder so many girls have confidence issues, eating disorders etc. Have to say the lady in the red dress looks deformed around the waist in their ‘after’ shot. As for using your personal image without permission…that totally sucks!

    • http://www.sugercoatit.com/ Melissa Walker Horn

      That it does. And I agree, what chance do they have? Look at images like the after shots for too long and they appear more normal, that’s the scary part.

  • http://curvilyfashion.com/ Curvily NYC

    There is nothing funny about this at all. Ugh, this is disgusting. And you DO know a lawyer *ahem* :)

    • http://www.sugercoatit.com/ Melissa Walker Horn

      Oh I DO, do I. Perfect. Thanks Curvily. x

  • Rachel GeeBee

    Jesus this seems to be happening to everyone (George from Fuller Figure Fuller Bust and the Whisper app just yesterday, she ended up sending tweets to the CEO of Whisper about the ad, and he responded). It’s fucking horrible.

    • http://www.sugercoatit.com/ Melissa Walker Horn

      I hadn’t seen that but I checked it out. It’s so horrible.

  • Trudie Bristow

    I’m gobsmacked. Go get em’ Hun.

    • http://www.sugercoatit.com/ Melissa Walker Horn

      Will do lady, will do.

  • sharee

    This is the most disgusting thing I’ve ever read . Thank god you are a confident ,beautiful young lady. I can’t believe they can use your photo without your permission. Take the bastards down for yourself and for all the young girls that may not fit the “after photo” that this app denotes as perfection

    • http://www.sugercoatit.com/ Melissa Walker Horn

      Short version is they can’t. They certainly can’t profit from it. Thanks for your support.

  • Rach

    Are you for real? Who does this? You hear of this happening a lot more lately and is one of the reasons why I’m so reluctant to put ‘my image’ out there into the big wide online world because you just never know what’s going to happen to it and where it’s going to end up and that’s wrong. There should be no fear about other people using your image.

    You’re right what you say, apps like these, do nothing but reinforce the false notion, that beauty and body acceptance, is only contained within a slim/thin body and that’s just not true. It could also be seen as a pro-ana tool and that could be a good argument to get the app pulled from iTunes.

    • http://www.sugercoatit.com/ Melissa Walker Horn

      Who, indeed? It’s madness. I do think that when it happens I question my choice to be so visible online, but I do wish people were more respectful. That said, everyone has to make their own choices regarding what they are comfortable with.

  • Emma

    Sue the ever living pants off that douche bag.

    • http://www.sugercoatit.com/ Melissa Walker Horn

      Haha. You just don’t see the words douche bag written down often enough. Thanks Emma. ;)

  • 26 Years & Counting

    What a stupid idea for an app. I’m sorry to hear they’ve stolen your photograph & I hope you can at least get them to stop using it.

    • http://www.sugercoatit.com/ Melissa Walker Horn

      So stupid. I think I will be able to do that, but I’m not sure that I’m okay with just that. I want it gone.

  • JGB

    Disgraceful!!! I would suggest you go to a slightly pro woman site like mamamia and disgrace this a^&#hole people!!!

    • http://www.sugercoatit.com/ Melissa Walker Horn

      I’ve been quite lucky that people have taken the time to share this post with their audiences, friends and family so it feels like the ball is well and truly rolling. I’ll keep you posted if I take it further.

  • Aunty Mogg

    Yay Sugar! I totally agree! I was too skinny as a teenager and in my late 20’s was diagnosed with Diabetes and had to take insulin & other prescription drugs which saw my skinny become chubby & now I’m too cuddly! This app is way to damaging to have out there for the self conscious & impressionable & insecure amongst us to totally destroy their self image & self worth!

    • http://www.sugercoatit.com/ Melissa Walker Horn

      I agree. It absolutely speaking the worst fears that women have for themselves and their daughters.

  • http://www.stylingyou.com.au/ Nikki | Styling You

    This is so very wrong on so many levels x

    • http://www.sugercoatit.com/ Melissa Walker Horn

      So many levels.

  • Mahina Hathaway

    I am so totally with you on this. Its a terrible app that buys into the concept that ‘you are NOT good enough as you are!’ It reinforces to our impressionable young girls that their value is only in their size and I hate that. The makers of this have no idea what they have done by using your image! You haven’t gotten where you are today without being assertive and determined and formidable when you need to be.

    • http://www.sugercoatit.com/ Melissa Walker Horn

      No idea at all, obviously. I don’t plan on lying down and playing dead either. Sending the message that this is a way to inspire yourself or make your photos better makes me shake my head. HARD.

  • Penny Webb

    Blimey!!! What a disgusting premise for an app! Who lets this crap get up there? App designers and platforms need some sort of accountability. Crazy stuff!

    • http://www.sugercoatit.com/ Melissa Walker Horn

      I couldn’t agree more. Disgusting.

  • http://blondiebythesea.com/ Jo from Blondie By The Sea

    Sugar, what bastards. I love your work and you are helping me look beyond my weight. Apps like this explain why women are neurotic about their weight. Jo xx

    • http://www.sugercoatit.com/ Melissa Walker Horn

      I’m glad to hear that Jo. Life is to be lived now, not after you lose that 5kg, 10kg or whatever that your body might not even want to give up. Women are neurotic about their weight because we train them to be. That needs to stop.

  • Lisa Mckenzie

    That is so wrong,women are beautiful in all shapes and sizes Xx

    • http://www.sugercoatit.com/ Melissa Walker Horn

      I couldn’t agree more Lisa.

  • http://kimbalikes.com Kim-Marie Williams

    Hideous :(

    • http://www.sugercoatit.com/ Melissa Walker Horn

      Uh huh. Absolutely.

  • Bronnie – Maid In Australia

    That’s disgusting. You are gorgeous just the way you are. And you’re right, what if you weren’t confident about the way you looked. What if you were depressed and/or had an eating disorder? How would this app make you feel? Plus they totally stole you, your image, your work for their own profit. How freaking dare they. Honey, you also know the media if you want to take this further. Go and kick their lazy butts.

    • http://www.sugercoatit.com/ Melissa Walker Horn

      Thank you Bronnie. That’s the real issue isn’t it. imagine that was teenage me, with a pile of issues and considerations on her mind and she came across that image, HER image online? It’s lazy and it’s risky and it’s plain old bad business.

  • vanessay

    I know that quite a few women on 12WBT (otherwise known as Michelle Bridges) Facebook support pages have had their images used by evil ‘weight loss’ and diet companies, I also know that a woman who has a “mummy” blog had images of her children stolen and used by a business. I think the only way around it is to use a watermark on your pictures so they cannot be used by others.

    • ozdiscdiva

      I think Vanessay’s idea of watermarking photos, sounds like the best option to stop future theft and abuse. A watermark of “sugercoatit.com” across the middle of the photo would do the trick and there seems to be several different free options available on google.

      • http://www.sugercoatit.com/ Melissa Walker Horn

        I watermark with my logo but I can’t bring myself to label it further than that and destroy the aesthetics of the site for the purpose of protecting against something like this that might happen once ever. People who will crop a watermark out will just pick a new victim anyway, and what if they don’t have it in them to fight back? I do. It might as well be me.

    • http://www.sugercoatit.com/ Melissa Walker Horn

      I do watermark my images now with a logo in the corner. It’s as far as I’m willing to go to protect the reuse of them online {I spoke more about why in the response to ozdiscodiva below} BUT I can certainly imagine going to further lengths if photos of my children were involved.

  • Bel

    This app is disgusting! And its absolutely terrible that they have used your picture without even asking. Please don’t fall back into negative thoughts about your body because of this persons disgusting attempt to make a quick buck at the expense of other human beings – you are absolutely gorgeous exactly the way you are! xx

    • http://www.sugercoatit.com/ Melissa Walker Horn

      It really is. So gross.

      I don’t feel like I have, for a moment yes, but not for long at all. It just reminds me how ingrain this way of thinking is, how insidious it is. How it could just pop up at the slightest trigger. That’s what makes laziness {and stupidity} like this so bad. It could be dangerous for someone in a different position than I am now.

      And thank you. x

  • http://www.lifelovewanderlust.com/ Amy Marie

    As someone who can do this professionally, I’m offended they’re asking money for this app and the edits it outputs. They don’t even look good. WHY WOULD ANYONE PAY FOR THIS?!

    • http://www.sugercoatit.com/ Melissa Walker Horn

      That was why I laughed at first. It’s bad, soooo bad. If these are the best examples out there, then I’m not convinced it would be worth downloading for free.

  • http://www.creatingcontentment.com/ Sarah @CreatingContentment

    Horrible.

    • http://www.sugercoatit.com/ Melissa Walker Horn

      Agreed.

  • http://www.middleagedmama.com.au/ Janet aka Middle Aged Mama

    For starters – you look better in the before pictures – you’re perfect just the way you are. And the fact this app exists AND that they stole your photo – disgusting. SHAME ON THEM.

    • http://www.sugercoatit.com/ Melissa Walker Horn

      Well in the before photos I don’t have random hand swelling or pieces of my waist missing, so that’s a win. Haha. Shame on them indeed.

  • Dannie Wallace

    OMG! That is sickening this app and far out so wrong too Grrr xxx

    • http://www.sugercoatit.com/ Melissa Walker Horn

      It very much is.

  • http://livingmyimperfectlife.com/ Sanch Living Life

    That’s such a pathetic app. I can’t believe the tagline — Skinny pics: look good, feel inspired. Really???!!! It’s an advertisement for eating disorders all right. And no, you’re not reading into it…I see kids with eating disorders and body dysmorphic disorders and it’s so so so hard to treat. And apps like these don’t help!!

    • http://www.sugercoatit.com/ Melissa Walker Horn

      Yes, really! I hear you. It’s so ugh. So horrible. And when you are talking about kids, who have access to apps like this easily and all the time, it’s worse. Why if it wasn’t about ‘weight loss’ and the like were there not photos of smaller women? We know why, because overweight women NEED inspiration and motivation to lose weight and fit in, or should probably hide themselves away forever. Argh. Soooo crap!

  • http://www.edenriley.com/ edenland

    Oh my god … this is DISGUSTING. On so many levels. You rattle some chains, Suger. Bloody hell. xxxxx

    • http://www.sugercoatit.com/ Melissa Walker Horn

      On so many levels Eden. And those chains, they are a rattling. x

  • Krishna

    You could always sue him for copyright and take a percentage! I know that doesn’t really cut it though. What a jerk. Reporting to itunes sounds like a good plan. Here’s to real images for real women!

    • http://www.sugercoatit.com/ Melissa Walker Horn

      I’ve reported it to iTunes for breach of my copyright. I assume they have notified the seller as he emailed me today. Taking compensation for something so horrible {assuming they even sell any of this rubbish} would only be for the purpose of donating it to a charity that supports positive body image or those recovering from eating disorders. Try to balance some of the cause and effect sort of thing.

  • Kell Kelly

    I cannot believe an app like this exists! What a horrible way to undo everything that we women have been fighting to change in the mindset of young (and older) women and how they feel in their own skin. Great work Christopher Steinbacher (sarcasm).

    • http://www.sugercoatit.com/ Melissa Walker Horn

      That’s it, isn’t it!? The whhhhy? If it was pitched as like the old magic mirrors at the fairground thing you could almost see yourself buying it. Make yourself shorter, taller, wider, narrower and all that. But this isn’t that. It’s skinny pics. It’s ICK.

  • Edel Denice

    I think you are beautiful as you are now and you always look happy, healthy and glowing. I have to say that it made me angry when I saw it . Edel xoxo

    • http://www.sugercoatit.com/ Melissa Walker Horn

      Thank you Edel. And thank you for letting me know. x

  • Erin

    You are one tough nut suger. This entire situation sucks donkey’s. From what I can see you’ll be using this experience to reaffirm both how far you’ve come in self awareness, body love and health and how much you help other women to embrace thst journey. Hold your head high, lady!!!

    • http://www.sugercoatit.com/ Melissa Walker Horn

      Sucks donkey’s is one of my favourite sayings. Haha. Thank you. I love this. I will do as you say. Thanks again. x

  • http://www.sugercoatit.com/ Melissa Walker Horn

    They have come back today and offered to remove my photo. I’m deciding how to respond but I am SO sure that the rest of the photos are stolen too that I don’t want to settle for that.

    And what happened with your son is it, isn’t it? It’s ideas like that in action. In a FIVE year old. We need to act fast, this needs to change.

  • Diane Patchen

    I think the app is ridiculous but more important they stole your image to sell an app without your permission.. I would sue them for copyright infringement and mental distress… I am not sure what state you live in but, if you do decide to sue make sure the attorney you get knows what they are doing. The fact that they did remove it doesn’t negate the fact they stole it. That is why their are ad models. They didn’t want to pay one… Good Luck on what ever you decide.

    • http://www.sugercoatit.com/ Melissa Walker Horn

      Thank you Diane. I’ll be in touch should I require support.

  • http://www.theuniqueyou.net/ Peter Mosby

    Really, this is a ridiculous situation, yes we put ourselves out there on the net, on social media, but no one has the right to use any image without permission and definately not to change it.. We are all in the ‘plus size industry’ and we fight so hard for acceptance and to stop these media ‘tags’. and yet this ap has generated more negative comments in such a short time than all of our SEO work put together!! But isn’t that always the way, sadly, they say any publicity is good publicity, and sadly the negative has so much more of an impact.

    Love your work!
    Kim and Peter

    • http://www.sugercoatit.com/ Melissa Walker Horn

      Thank you both for your support as always. It’s difficult, I think to find a way to empower and enlighten people when you get caught in the darkness of it all. We keep going because it’s important to us and to those who look to us to lead. And that’s what matters.

  • kp

    I have no words for this Mel, its just plain sad and sickening. Good on you for going up against this type thing, not only for yourself but for all of us, thanks & good luck, cant wait to hear the outcome :-)

    • http://www.sugercoatit.com/ Melissa Walker Horn

      Thank you KP. I’ll be sure to keep everyone informed.

  • lisa | renovating italy

    Makes me furious on your behalf, my behalf and my daughter who is 12….her behalf. x

    • http://www.sugercoatit.com/ Melissa Walker Horn

      Me too. But for Carina especially. x

  • Zinnia

    Judging by the ridiculously bad photoshopping in all those before/after pics, that has to be the worst app ever. Terrible idea. Horrible execution. Rotten business practices. That app is a loser.

    Our beauty culture is so f’d up. Sorry it happened to you lovey. And even sorrier that we are all get churned up in it too. I am so angry and frustrated that all of us have to spend so many of our waking minutes thinking about how we compare to the impossible standards, and hurting ourselves trying to be the impossible. Life should be about more and better things. Thank you for sharing your story. You are both gorgeous and brave.

    • http://www.sugercoatit.com/ Melissa Walker Horn

      Thank you. I’m glad I shared it. Every chip we make in the ideal, this culture of beauty focused value is a good thing. This app in all its ridiculousness is part of the problem, not the solution. I’m happy to stand against it.

  • http://www.bodyblisscentral.com/ Sandy Ross

    Ugh, more cashing in on and feeding of women’s insecurities, without considering the impact it has on the world. It’s all about the cash baby! Poor example of a human being really. Love that you’re calling it out!

    • http://www.sugercoatit.com/ Melissa Walker Horn

      That’s it, isn’t it. Cashing in on insecurities. It sucks.

  • Kathie Holmes

    That is disgusting behaviour on so many levels not the least of which is pure breach of copyright but to blatantly alter another persons image to justify your own ego is morally wrong. When will we start to understand that we are all the same, we all come into the world naked, we all go out of the world in a box. What happens in the middle should be treasured. I’m so glad you have written about this issue instead of just bottling your feelings up over it. Hopefully your post will outweight the damage done by this app.

    • http://www.sugercoatit.com/ Melissa Walker Horn

      Thank you Kathie, I’m glad I wrote it too for that exact reason. I hope if someone searches for reviews for this app that they will find me first and will reconsider. Maybe then some good will come from this.