I’m back from my vacation now, and I’ve got a lot of things I’d like to write about, but the first thing I want to point to is this site I found. Among many other things, Jezebel is crusading to keep unretouched images in the public eye, and they want you to understand why. It’s not to trash celebrities or to take famous people down a peg or two.
It’s to remind us that we’re not as unworthy as magazines, television, and the media in general would have us believing.
The basic idea: the more we’re exposed to the “before” images of celebrities looking like real people, the better we’ll each be equipped to remember that a celebrity doesn’t see her Cover Girl face when she looks in the mirror. She sees somebody pretty average, and it takes a lot of computer effects to create the “above-average” face needed to sell you whatever product the magazine is hawking.
And make no mistake, most magazines are selling something. If nothing else, they’re often selling you on the idea that you’re not good enough the way you are and buying some product will make you better.
For example: you look at Jennifer Aniston’s cover shot (above) and then you look at your own face in the mirror. Maybe you think to yourself, “Damn, I wish my skin was that vibrant and wrinkle-free”. Then you turn the page and what do you see? An ad for some sort of Olay skin cream promising to make your skin vibrant and wrinkle-free . . . like, say, Jennifer Aniston’s.
But check out that “before” shot from Jezebel. Even Jennifer Aniston doesn’t look vibrant and wrinkle-free without a lot of make-up, Photoshop, and other tricks of the trade that help her to attain the impossible standard of beauty we all see when we look at her. She’s not far above the rest of us ordinary mortals. She’s human, just like the rest of us.
And maybe if that’s true, it goes the other way too – the rest of us are beautiful, just like the famous women we idolize. Or, as Jezebel puts it:
Every day, a young woman somewhere sees one of these overly polished pictures for the first time…and has no idea that they’re not real. [. . .] What the girl does know is that the pictures show What Is Beautiful. She thinks they are reality. And maybe she doesn’t have someone in her life to point out that this is complete and utter bullsh*t. So we’ll do that, and we’ll do it over and over again just to make sure that everyone knows what’s up.
And as long as they keep making that point, I’ll keep passing it on. Why? Because I wouldn’t want my niece, my daughter, my sister, or my friend to think that if she doesn’t look like a Photoshopped picture all the time, she must not be beautiful.