Thursday, February 7, 2008

Like What You See

My husband sent me a link yesterday that I thought was just great. I sent it to everyone I know. You might want to do the same. Here’s the link:

This is a short movie clip that shows a woman getting transformed by makeup, followed by computer enhancement, and ending with this quote, "No wonder our perception of beauty is distorted." Those words are absolutely perfect. You’ll understand what I’m talking about when you watch the clip yourself. I was astounded. I’d always heard that they airbrush models for ads, but I didn’t know they enlarged eyes, stretched and sculpted necks, hollowed out cheekbones, and made countless other changes to ‘perfect’ this woman.

All to get you to buy a product that can never do the same for you!

You’ve seen the ads - how could you miss them? They’re everywhere. Perfect women, flawless skin, laughing and having a good time, surrounded by other good looking people. All because they use whatever it is that they’re selling. Yeah, right! The crazy thing is, we buy into it. We think that somewhere out there is something that will make us look better, and thus, feel better. Well, I’m telling you…it won’t happen.

It makes me mad that even in this supposedly enlightened age of ours, girls and women (and now, more and more, boys and men) feel badly about ourselves because companies continue to bombard us with images and messages implying we aren’t good enough the way we are. When I was younger, I was completely convinced I was a hound. I ‘read’ a lot of beauty magazines back then and after staring at those women for hours, then studying my own reflection just as scrupulously, I decided that I couldn’t compete. I actually believed that these women represented most people. Since I didn’t meet these standards of beauty, I thought I must be the ugliest person on this planet. I had pimples, bad hair days, a funny nose, and an ear that sticks out (I still have all this). I was the proverbial ugly duckling. Sure I had hopes of becoming the swan (I’m not the only one - they made a show on the subject), but not high ones. I figured I’d need a miracle to measure up.

Even as an adult, I feel the pressure. I see pictures of women (actresses, models) who I know are my age, and they look amazing! No dark circles, no tired eyes. No dry skin, no wrinkles. What the heck? I have all of the above. I must be the exception to the rule! I actually look my age!

But that isn’t true. I’m not the exception. I look like most of my peers (okay, there’s always the rare looker who will age gracefully and never look bad, but they’re very rare, so I’m not going to count them). Look around you. How many people do you know who look like models? I know none (not even myself). At least not how models are portrayed. Because that woman in the clip…if I’d seen her picture on the billboard, and then passed her on the street as she was before all that stuff was done to her…I wouldn’t recognize her. That was two different people, my friends. A real one, and a made-up one. You’ve seen the models/actresses without makeup pics. Not so hot, huh?

Now, if you’ve read my blogs, you know I’m all for fantasy. I like beauty. But it’s not the end all, be all. Our society should not strive for it at the expense of our dignity, nor should we do that as individuals. There’s a theory that when something bad happens to you, you need to incorporate it into who you are rather than always trying to take it apart, fix it, make it go away. The same should go for our bodies. As I said earlier, I have a funny ear. But I have decided it makes me look unique, a bit uneven, but still unique. I have no chin (not literally - I do have a chin, it’s just not very pronounced). Well, then (this one’s harder), I guess there’s less space for food to fall onto.

We all have our funny bits. EVERYONE…even the lookers and models. Get used to them. Embrace them. And most important of all, be realistic about them. Nobody else seems to notice my ear. I don’t think anyone could care less that I don’t have a chin. What’s the saying? "You don’t want to know how little other people think about you." People are busy. They have things to do. One of them is probably worrying about their own appearance! Life is so short. Don’t waste it hating yourself because you don’t match up to a standard that even the beautiful people can’t meet.

Keep in mind that I’m not telling you to forego make-up or to stop styling your hair or to give up showers. Most of us humans are naturally vain creatures. That’s just who we are. I’m saying, don’t let your appearance rule your life. That’s all I’m saying. Well, not all. Because then this would have been a much shorter blog.

‘Bravo’ to Dove for putting out this clip, for using real women as models, for trying to make a difference. Yes, I know this is another form of marketing to get us to buy their product, but it’s a good kind. It’s a risk to go against the established norm. They took it and I hope they succeed at it.

So, in conclusion, remember this: When you love yourself, it’s easy to love everybody else…

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