Jody at Truth2BeingFit.com always leaves me the sweetest comments and is such a fabulous, and inspiring, cheerleader of me and my journey. Yesterday, when I was reading her page I found myself thinking about her American Idol and Photoshop blog – Can you win and still not be enough?
This really got me thinking.
Somewhere in the back of my mind I know that most media images (magazines, CD covers, billboards, etc.) are photoshopped, and when I forget something happens to remind me.
Like a few years ago when the cover of Kelly Clarkson was released about the same time as the photo on the left. Self’s editor went on record and admitted to the photoshopping, defending it as the “industry standard.” (see below)
However, even as an intelligent adult who knows that photoshopping runs rampant and that these pictures have been altered it is still hard to not compare myself to the models, singers, actresses, and athletes I see gracing the covers. This worries me a lot because I consider myself to be an averagely confident, adult woman – What about those teen and preteen girls?
Think about how hard it is to be that age, and then add in the inflated photoshopped messages of beauty we are sending them. Scary. We are telling them that even the beautiful ladies gracing the pages of the magazines are not enough, that even the famous celebrities they look up to must be altered to be better. What does that tell these little girls about their own looks? What unrealistic appearance and body image expectations are we setting?
Why are we lightening Beyonce? Or taking away Serena’s killer quads?
Or cutting out Kate’s fabulous curves?
Each of these women look amazing in the before picture – strong, confident, and beautiful, yet they were still altered to be something different that they truly are. Something fake. How can we live up to that?
We can’t walk around all day as photoshopped versions of ourselves? I’m not suddenly going to wake up tomorrow having been digitally remastered by the magic that is photoshop. I don’t look like my photoshopped self and the truth is that the ladies we see plastered all over the media don’t either. However, it is hard to remind ourselves of this when we see a perfect picture smiling back at us. Just remember it is easy to be perfect when you have smoke, mirrors, and photoshop on your side. Through the magic of Photoshop I:
- lost 20-30 pounds
- toned my legs
- got a spray tan
- had my teeth whitened
- softened my facial lines
DAMN I LOOK GOOD!, but the truth is the girl on left (original untouched photo) is the real me, the me who is working hard to be healthy, the me you bump into on the street, the me who has hopes and dreams and goals – while I wouldn’t mind stealing a few tricks from the girl on the right (like skin that doesn’t’ make my students ask if I am a vampire – Thanks Twilight) that isn’t who I really am.
I think it is very important that we help build people up, not tear them down by creating unrealistic expectations. I see no problem with having attractive people in the media, if that is what the company decides, but why change and alter the images so much? What are we doing to girls out there when we show them photoshopped images at every turn, yet you and I know that we don’t walk around everyday looking like photoshopped versions of ourselves. It is an impossible standard to meet because we are real people; our daughters, and students, and friends are real people too. I wish the media would celebrate the real beauty that we all possess.
Alright – Go! Let me have it:
Thoughts on photoshopping?
Do you also get a bit of comparison envy when you see pictures in the media?
Are you curious to see what you’d look like photoshopped? (I used picmonkey.com)