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The case of the disappearing cleavage

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If you think Photoshopping is reserved for flashy advertisements and glossy magazine covers, think again – even politicians can’t escape the wrath of the digital airbrush. Case in point: First-year Canadian MP Rathika Sitsabaiesan is currently at the center of a Photoshopping controversy after someone deemed her cleavage too sexy for Parliament.

Photo: House of Commons

According to Canadian blog Contrarian, an intrepid reader performed a Google image search for Sitsabaiesan and came across the thumbnail pictured at left. When the reader clicked through to Sitsabaiesan’s offical Parliament profile, he found a modified version of the headshot which had been retouched to remove her curves, pictured below. This suggests that the original photo was altered for being too hot to handle.

Photo: House of Commons

Sitsabaiesan is only in her first year on the job, but has already earned praise for her confidence and poise. Unfortunately, her talent is being overshadowed by the curiously cropped photo and its ramifications for women in the political world. Critics argue that the alteration was anti-feminist, and that that the cleavage was removed to make Sitsabaiesan appear less womanly. On the other hand, many believe that the photo was inappropriate to begin with and showed disrespect for what is admittedly a very formal workplace. Both sides of the debate have their merits, but as a working woman, I’d definitely raise an eyebrow at anyone who came into the office showing as much cleavage as Sitsabaiesan did in the original photograph. Perhaps a more conservative outfit choice would have staved off the initial distraction of the low-cut shirt, and more importantly, the subsequent Photoshopping controversy.

What do you think? Let us know by leaving your thoughts in the comments below.

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