pretty little liars on instagram

[UPDATE: Troian Bellisario has since responded.]

If you’re a Pretty Little Liars fan, you’ve been watching the fabulous four (Troian Bellisario, Shay Mitchell, Ashley Benson, and Lucy Hale) since the show debuted in 2010. I’ve seen these women in enough episodes that I could probably spot them in a huge crowd… so why didn’t I just recognize them on my Instagram feed?

Ashley has been posting previews of a spread in GQ that features the PLL cast looking sexed-up, super beautiful, and super Photoshopped. I’m not saying the photos don’t look good, because they obviously do, but the degree to which these already beautiful women have been altered with a computer is kind of disturbing.

pretty little liars in gq

This show actively rebels against teen girl stereotypes– the characters are good, decent people who don’t talk behind each other’s backs, and significant others are always less important than family and friends– and even though the hair, makeup, and clothes are outlandish, the show never makes a mockery of femininity. I’m constantly impressed with the stars of the show for being great role models, too. They’ve opened up about their struggles with eating disorders, they’ve urged their fans not to compare themselves to the women they see on TV, and they’ve even spoken up about the dangers of over-Photoshopping. So doesn’t this photo seem kind of… out of place?

While I understand that GQ‘s target demographic is probably, you know, not high school girls, it still makes me sad to see some of the smartest female characters on TV getting reduced to shiny, poreless Barbies. I’m not trying to say that talented, intelligent women can’t also want to look sexy in a magazine (and if someone offered to Photoshop me into a swimsuit model, I probably wouldn’t complain), but it’s so shitty that the magazine version of “hot” always means “barely human.” They’re all gorgeous. They’re all sexy. Why do they have to be slimmed down, slicked up, open-mouthed, and fatless?

Photos: @sleepinthegardn, @itsashbenzo