I was looking through the swim suit section of a well-known lingerie/clothing catalogue the other day with a photographer friend of mine. As a fitness professional I have to say that I do look at the bodies of the models with both admiration and curiosity "how much of this is photoshopped, airbrushed, flaw-corrected?" We notice one model in particular with really impressive abdominal tone (not just skinny). This was when my friend informed me that with photo editing one could easily take the abdominals of one person and put them on another, basically "assembling" a perfect body.
While this is probably a great photo editing technique, those of us trying on real life swimsuits and thinking of wearing them at the beach don't have that option. The thing that frustrates me so much about this type of advertising is that it sets people up for unrealistic expectations and dashed self image.
We see these beautiful people in magazines and advertisements. The message is that this image that some one else thinks is ideal beauty should be something we should strive toward. The fact is that most likely - there is not much about the image that is real.
There are so many things wrong with this that I don't know where to begin.
Who in corporate heaven (or hell) has the right to determine what the world thinks is beautiful?
What gives them the right to manipulate us in this way?
For many women and more and more men, this type of image creation can send us into a spiral of depression, disordered eating, yo-yo dieting, inappropriate exercise, purchasing of unhealthy weight loss gadgets and diet drugs.
Why can't we come to some level of self acceptance, be happy with it and the world around us love us for it?
Don't get me wrong. I appreciate a health body and tone physique. I believe that appropriate physical activity is the key to healthy and vibrancy. I simply resent the fact that media uses false images to lure us in psychologically.
So PLEASE do me a favor. The next time you pick up one of those magazines that are full of beautiful, perfect images, remind your self that those people are just like you. Don't judge yourself based on an ad campaign. Love yourself for who you are. And I will do the same!