Tuesday, 7 August 2012

Whats wrong with imprefections? The dangers of the media on our body image.

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,



  1. Natural Beauty is always best I agree. All of these celebrities are gorgeous anyhow, like when they are spotted casually in the street and so on so to be the airbrushing is pointless! I personally think I am more drawn to the natural celebs such as Sienna Miller who will not be wearing tons on makeup and who have freckles! unlike Kim Kardashian. Great Blog, check out mine :) I also agree a little comment at the bottom on photos as a reminder that they are not real would be good, people become too obsessed with wanting perfection, when really some imperfections are real beauty. Take Kate bosworths unmatching eyes and she is gorgeous!


  2. Ps... I have small boobs too and I love it haha. I always think they looks nicer in bras and in basic t-shirts :D

  3. I agree, I have noticed that as I’ve got older I have become more of a fan of the natural beauty look and look at the likes of sienna miller and lauren conrad for inspiration as I’m not a heavy makeup wearer. These girls will still look done without being overdone on nights out. I think TV shows like scousewives and only way is Essex [love watching them btw] have brought another whole new look that a lot of people are trying to achieve which from experience is very hard to maintain and is very unnatural looking, so essentially a lot of people are spending a lot of time and money on looking un-natural as that appears to be the look of perfection atm. Since these programmes fake tan and teeth whitening sales have sky rocketed even in this current economic climate [evidence right there of our quest to achieve the desired look].
    I was shocked to learn recently about the amount of people injecting silicone into body and the amount that will pay cheap to get such work done and for it to go horribly wrong. I was shocked and felt so sorry for the woman who had her arms and legs amputated from injecting silicone into her bum. You can read her story here: http://newsone.com/2015202/woman-becomes-multiple-amputee-after-receiving-botched-butt-implants/
    So seeing as people are taking this to the extreme I think we need a reminder that these images we are seeing are not the real deal and have been touched up and yes I too have grown to accept and appreciate being smaller chested, it took a while but I got there,lol


I ♥ receiving comments and I will always try and reply to them! If you like my blog, why not follow me? :)