A click of the remote, a flip of the page, or a tap to open an app is all it takes to be flooded by images of women with immaculate skin, flawless make-up, perfectly proportioned bodies, and lustrous, frizz-free hair. We see our favorite celebrities and role models on TV, in magazines, and with apps like Instagram and Twitter, and we can’t help but compare ourselves to unrealistic and downright delusional standards. But the thing is, we can help it. So, today, I’m calling the modeling industry, the media, and every one of us out on it.
Don’t get me wrong, the illusion is a pretty convincing one, and I’m certainty guilty of feeding into it. If only I could have her hair or those toned legs, we often think as we see these glamour shots. Wow, I’d love to have that small waist, we yearn. We view the “ideal” attributes of these women and are (almost) always disappointed by our own that never seem to measure up. Exposure and comparison to these depictions of “unreality” wrongly teach us what we are “supposed” to look like, and we perceive anything that is different as a shameful flaw. It’s time we make a conscious effort to acknowledge and reject the corrosive illusion.
The model in the photos that we see (i.e. the ones that are published after major editing) isn’t just retouched – she is recreated into a person that doesn’t exist! It’s amazing what lighting, some make-up, and a photo-editing computer program can do (this music video to a song by Hungarian singer, Boggie, reveals how much manipulation is needed to create the photos that we perceive as real –https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sZwmo_2DOz0).
The most heartbreaking thing of all is that these victims of Photoshop are beautiful the way that they are – they should be celebrated for their beauty rather than morphed into alien creatures we deem “stunning.” The truth is, by keeping silent, we perpetuate the illusion. Although we may not all have the opportunity to create a PSA like Boggie did (kudos to you, girl), we can choose not believe the lie. It begins with us. We need to learn to love ourselves – every part – just as He loves us.
Let’s think about it for a second – God vows that He created us in His image and likeness. He is proud of the beautiful bodies that He has created for us; we thank Him by shaming ourselves?! We – how we are right now – are pleasing to God. Instead of loathing what we’ve learned to view as flaws and imperfections, we should be praising God for what He has given to us! The best way to thank Him is to admire, cherish, and preserve our sacred temples. Through His word, we can learn to love ourselves. And, by loving ourselves, we can be examples for our daughters, sisters, mothers, and friends to follow in an effort to love their own selves.
I don’t mean to preach in any way, as I continue to struggle with this issue every time I look to my phone, turn on the TV, or flip through a magazine. I think that’s okay, though, because I’m trying, and I hope that I can inspire at least one other person to try too. I hope that one day in the near future, I can look in the mirror and rather than zero in on one of my self-proclaimed “problem areas,” smile contently. I pray you will too.
Bonus: Check out this link if you’d like to see some photo-editing fails of some of our favorite celebs. I don’t know about you, but I prefer a lot of the “before” photos to the“afters!” http://www.buzzfeed.com/elliewoodward/the-most-wtf-celebrity-photoshop-fails-of-all-time
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