Victoria’s Secret, Photoshop Images, and Botched Models: The Illusions and Realities of Beautiful People Everywhere
Last night was the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show.
Essentially, this means last night TV compiled and glamorized some of the most beautiful women in the world so that the rest of us could feel bad about ourselves. To be fair, I’m as fascinated watching them as the next person. Yes, they followed insane diet and exercise regimes on top of their already genetically-gifted-ness to look the way they do, but in spite of my envy and bitterness I can’t help just being downright fascinated. They’re so… glowy.
So anyways, my big plan for today’s post was to write about the new tool that detects photoshopping in fashion images. Let’s be fair: the people in magazines are beautiful. Can’t we let them at least be semi-normal, rather than artificially chopped up and “perfected”?
The problem is, photoshop can take things that are naturally beautiful, and take it to the land of just plain trippy.
For example (drum roll please)…
Photoshop Gone Wrong, Figure One: a Ralph Lauren photo that went under media scrutiny once everyone realized that, in fact, no one’s pelvis is smaller than their heads.
Photoshop Gone Wrong, Image Two: This woman’s waist disappeared! Which sucks, because, in a totally non-lesbian way she has a really great body. Until you get to the disorienting waist thing.
Photoshop Gone Wrong, Image Three: Demi Moore superimposed on 24 year old’s body for W Magazine
Now, this hasn’t been proven, but it is a relatively strong theory. It appears that Demi Moore’s photo on the cover of W Magazine was slightly… modified. As in, it was a combination of her head and a runway model’s body.
Lesson #2: Photoshop is a very powerful beast
… Case in point. Moving on.
Now, even when photoshop hasn’t “gone wrong,” necessarily, it can still change people that I think look really great already and make them just a little more… unattainable. Arguments are that they impact body image and yada yada yada. I think, generally, that some people are just really really good looking. These people are often in magazines. I think we should just let these really really good looking people be themselves, rather than further chopping them up, because that’s just weird and vain and unnecessary.
All of that said, I really don’t care if they make laws against photoshopping magazine images or not. Because, at the end of the day, all you have to do is turn on the TV and see Victoria’s Secret runways models and you’ll have a body image crisis in no time. Photoshop or no photoshop: there will still be people who look better than you do. There always will be. The truth of the matter is, there are beautiful people on the street, on Facebook, on American Idol, in magazines, and all over LA. Just because beautiful people exist doesn’t mean that we have to hate ourselves, it means we should do our best to take care of ourselves and then cultivate the parts of ourselves that make us unique and extraordinary. I appreciate beautiful women, because I appreciate beauty. I also appreciate balance and normalcy, because I think putting all of life’s energy into looking good is selfish and childish. At the end of the day, let’s remember the words of Max Ehrmann in his brilliant piece, Desiderata (which is posted right above my computer):
Go placidly amid the noise and haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence.
As far as possible without surrender be on good terms with all persons.
Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others, even the dull and the ignorant; they too have their story.
Avoid loud and aggressive persons, they are vexations to the spirit.
If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain or bitter; for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.
Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans. Keep interested in your own career, however humble; it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.
Exercise caution in your business affairs; for the world is full of trickery. But let this not blind you to what virtue there is; many persons strive for high ideals; and everywhere life is full of heroism.
Be yourself. Especially, do not feign affection. Neither be cynical about love; for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment it is as perennial as the grass.
Take kindly the counsel of the years, gracefully surrendering the things of youth.
Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune. But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings. Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.
Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself. You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here. And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.
Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be, and whatever your labors and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life keep peace with your soul. With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world.
Be cheerful. Strive to be happy.