Recently whilst trawling through facebook I noticed that one of my friends had very un-natural looking pictures of herself -and by unnatural I mean perfectly flawless pictures where she has no evident freckles on her face. Upon closer inspection they looked airbrushed. I commented on the pictures stating that the pictures looked flawless to which she replied that she had used a new software on them to give them that airbrushed look. She exclaimed that this is something that a lot of her friends are doing as they don’t like how they look in their pictures and this way they can air out any signs of imperfections-in my friends case her freckles [which I actually think are lovely and are unique to her]. I was astonished to find that these pictures had actually received loads more complements from others compared to her regular picture postings.
This really got me thinking; are we a nation so obsessed with how we look that we will attempt to attain the impossible by trying to look or at least fool others into thinking we look as perfect as those on magazine covers. When we all know deep down that those in magazines look nothing like their pictures in real life. This made me reflect on my feelings from watching a documentary back in 2008 on the subject of airbrushing. From watching Alesha Dixon’s ‘Look But Don't Touch’ documentary when it first aired back in 2008 [can be watched here] I never thought I was really influenced by the images surrounding me every day. I just thought that I saw these images an admired them but knew they weren’t real and that was that. Watching Alesha’s documentary got me thinking and sadly I was wrong, these images had made more of an impression on me and how I viewed my body than I initially thought.
|Airbrushed photos of Jessica Alba and Sarah Jessica Parker|
When thinking about it and being truly honest with myself I subconsciously compared myself to these images and have done so since I first started buying magazines at the tender age of 13. I am a small size 12 at 5foot 6.5inches, and I've always felt that I should be smaller in both clothes size and height. I have small boobs yet I have hips which to me seemed out of proportion. I have poker straight hair that I always felt should be voluminous, after all that all I ever see in advertisements. I have cellulite on my bum and thighs and visible veins on my legs which I always felt were grotesque and unnatural. I don't have high cheekbones; I've always felt that I should. I don’t have a perfect petite straight nose, hell I even have one eye bigger than the other, in my eyes I was far from beautiful as I looked so different from the images that were being presented to me. The documentary made me question whether it is out personal preference that I want bigger boobs, smaller thighs, voluminous hair etc or is it because I’ve grown up surrounded by pictures of perfection that has influenced me into wanting to look a certain way.
As a tall[ish], small chested girl I admired the likes of Sienna Miller and Kiera Knightly as they are known for their small chests but are still considered beautiful. This is why pictures like those below really bother me, why is there a need to digitally enhance their busts. Are they trying to give us the message that there is something unattractive about smaller boobs? No wonder I had major body issues growing up.
|Kiera Knightly Bust Enhanced|
Women and young girls are forever comparing themselves to women in the media. Today, we can’t go anywhere without seeing images of perfection plastered everywhere, telling us what we should be, how we should look etc. TBH I’m sick of it. Women and young girls just like me strive to gain these unattainable bodies and unfortunately too often when these images are not achieved through healthy forms of exercise etc some people start to take alternative measures often resulting in people taking drastic measures thus putting their health at risk. Just take Hedi Montag for example she underwent 10 procedures in one day putting her life in jeopardy-yet she is still open to having more surgery until she feels she has reached ‘perfection.’
|Hedi Montag before and after.|
It's honestly no surprise that many young girls/women [and boys/men may I add] these days are already considering plastic surgery, I was horrified to hear that Sarah Burge gave her young daughter Poppy £8,000 worth of vouchers to spend on plastic surgery for her EIGTH birthday!!! You can see her interview on this morning below;
Research has shown that exposure to false, airbrushed pictures of celebrities is linked to depression, low self-esteem, and the development of eating disorders. It is believed that one in every one hundred teenage girls may develop an eating disorder. This is an alarmingly high number. I was quite frankly relieved when I saw that the likes of Britney Spears, Anne Lynn McCord and Kim Kardashian had released untouched pictures of themselves. I felt nothing but pure admiration for these girls and I just wish that more of those in the media lime light would do so.
|[L-R] Britney Spears before and after, Anne Lynn McCord touched photo and no makeup photo, Kim Kardashian before and after, Kin Kardashian psoriasis picture.Note to self they all look beautiful with their imperfections!!!|
It’s sad to say that 100% of fashion magazines today use digitally retouched pictures. Yes I am aware that there's a difference between fashion magazines such as Vogue and beauty companies such as Dove. Setting aside the fact that they are different products, they are both aimed at very different audiences. Realistically would there even be high end fashion magazines like Vogue anymore if they used natural pictures? Now I’m not totally against all airbrushing but I feel that magazines have gone overboard. I personally would find it refreshing to buy a magazine that showcased people’s imperfections, after all models are just like us-they do have bad hair and skin days. So why not show us that we are more like them than we think? Take Dove’s advertisement campaign where real woman are used-has it hindered me from buying their product? Hell no, in fact it has probably encouraged me to try more of their products. I just wish more companies would follow in their direction.
|Dove Real Women Campaign|
However I Honestly don’t see airbrushing going anywhere in the near future so instead I think it would be nice to look at adverts’ and see "this picture has been retouched" at the bottom just like they now do with mascara adverts where they have to say if the eyelashes have been digitally enhanced or lash inserts used- It would be a nice little reminder for all of us out there looking at these images and would hopefully hone home that these pictures are not ‘real’.
Always remember that “To wish you were someone else is to waste the person you are.”- Unknown.
Thanks for reading,