When you look at pictures in a fashion magazine, or even a magazine that follows movie stars, by and large what do you see? You see people who, according to modern fashion standards, are the most beautiful on earth. A significant part of their job is looking good, so they can devote time and resources to exercise and enhancement through makeup, waxing, hair products, etc., and in many cases, more extreme measures, like plastic surgery. Then you have a professional photographer come and take hundreds or thousands of pictures, intended to be flattering, and select the very best two or three. Finally, digital professionals go to work and scrub out any “flaws.”
There’s obviously push-back against the effects of all this perfection. First, I’d say modern beauty standards are:
- Appearance of youth
- Clear healthy skin
- Symmetric features
- Small waist-hip ratio
- Thin AND curvy
You see all these stars posting natural photos of themselves – without makeup, or showing their stretch marks, or carrying a few extra pounds. What they don’t seem to get, though, is that when your average American woman goes through childbirth, her body fares far worse, photographically anyway, than a movie star’s. When your average American woman ages, she probably fails to invest in the type of surgery and intervention that a movie star does, so seeing a famous person without makeup look a little less glamorous is not reassuring.
I’m not really sure what the solution is, and adding diversity to models and movie stars, both in terms of ethnicity and body shape, is undoubtedly a good thing. But I don’t think it’s going to protect my girls from developing unrealistic standards for beauty. The only real option if you don’t want your world view skewed is not to consume the stuff – at all. But for whatever reason, it seems like most of us like to look at pictures of beautiful people, at least from time to time.
Loose mommy skin, really? You should see my tummy.