Yesterday as I was scanning MSN, reading the news, I came across a link to a featured article on Newsweek. The article is entitled Unattainable Beauty: The Decade’s Biggest Airbrushing Scandals. It’s an excellent discussion about our current society’s (and Hollywood’s) obsession with unhealthy body standards and just how far magazines are willing to go to promote these standards. It also dissects every featured photo, listing each body part that had been photoshopped and what procedure had been used.
Photoshop is nothing new in magazine publishing or Hollywood. Since the advent of computers, photographers have been using these kinds of programs to get rid of everything from blemishes to weird scars. Nowadays, however, editors have become even more vulture-ish when it comes to finding and eliminating “flaws,” giving electronic liposuction and boob jobs in an effort to “perfect what must be perfected.” Through the magic of computers, we’re now able to create superhuman beauties, goddesses, if you will, who have no imperfections whatsoever. They appear to be so effortlessly beautiful that it almost makes you sick to your stomach every time you look at them: smooth, firm skin, tiny waists, cascading hair, perfect breasts.
Unfortunately, most young women (even some older ones) don’t know the extent of the photoshopping and airbrushing done on the photos of their favorite female celebs. Teenagers are snapping these magazines up because the cover stories often promise that with a few simple diet or beauty tricks, they too can “look like their favorite cover girls!” Older women too seek the promise of bettering themselves through “secret celebrity diet tips,” but the real secret diet tip is just the click of a computer mouse.
Just a few weeks ago, there was a major media storm about a photo of sultry Mad Men star Christina Hendricks at the Golden Globe Awards. A fashion blogger for the New York Times altered the photo to make the curvaceous actress appear even wider to prove a point that “you don’t put a big girl in a big dress.”
The altered photo of Henricks appears on the left, and the original photo appears on the right. Note how the photo on the left appears squished to make her look wider. Also note that the colors of the altered photo are distorted and make Hendricks’ already porcelain skin look even more translucent.
Yes, Christina Hendricks has a voluptuous body, but she’s not fat, people. She has a naturally tiny waist and beautiful skin! Look at the dramatic red lips! The gorgeous, fiery hair! Actual hips. Penelope Cruz, Salma Hayek, and Kate Winslet have them too. They’re all incredibly gorgeous and completely uncompromising when it comes to altering their photos.
If this is considered “fat,” then sign me up!
Body image perception is so completely off these days. If an actress doesn’t have a pencil for arms or a size zero waist, she’s automatically considered “curvy.” By today’s standards, sex symbols like Marilyn Monroe and Raquel Welch would be considered practically obese. What happened to embracing flaws and having hips? When did it stop being okay to just love your real body? Young girls are inundated with these false, photoshopped images every day, everywhere and they’re learning that they’ll never be perfect until they look like these images. This is damaging and dangerous. We’re basically endorsing eating disorders and plastic surgery procedures that strip these girls of their true beauty and turn them into self-absorbed, vapid creatures like this woman.
It’s time to start a revolution. We need to embrace our bodies, ladies. Embrace our scars, our hips, our tiny or big boobs, our real waistlines. Your body is perfect the way it is and don’t let any photoshopped celebrity tell you differently.
You are beautiful.