How normal women are transformed into “cover models”- and their response.

This recent video illustrates the pressures faced by women to conform to a standard of beauty perpetuated by the media, and, how unrealistic this standard is. Four women were given the opportunity to participate in a professional photo shoot which included editing and airbrushing the final product to create the “ideal” beauty.

The women were eager to participate, one stating, “Growing up I was kind of always self-conscious, like wanting to look a certain way”.  But surprisingly, after seeing the results of their “cover model makeover”, none of the participants were satisfied with the way they looked. Some were shocked, and some were upset but all of them realized that the enhanced photos were not who they were rather they were someone else!

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One woman commented that the airbrushed photo “didn’t even look like her”, while another said, “I like my freckles, I think that they add character. And the fact that they’re gone, I don’t even know who that is.”  The retouched pictures were too perfect and devoid of identity and character.

One of the women stated, “Once someone else has done your makeup and someone else has done your hair and someone’s directed the way your body looks and then taken away your imperfections then there’s not much left of who you really are.” Another said I feel like it doesn’t even look like me.  In other words, what gives people identity and character are their imperfections, the wrinkles, the freckles, and the extra body weight.

After the project, all four of the women who participated in the makeover realized that they liked the bodies they had, “warts and all”.  Their bodies expressed who they were as people. They did not want to look like the flawless women in magazines because that ideal was not real. One participant on seeing her perfect photo, was surprised, commenting, “I’m, like, questioning why I ever wanted to look like that”. Another stated, “the ideal just doesn’t exist.”

The women realized that trying to live up to impossible and unrealistic dreams perpetuated by the media would not make them happier or better people. As one participant said, “Instead of looking at other things and trying to aspire to be something else, we should just be comfortable in who we are and just try to be our best selves.”

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