C is for Cookie: This is why you think you're fat

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

This is why you think you're fat

A lot of us who work with digital images know that many of the photos we see in magazines, on billboards and posters are manipulated. But the power of an image is so strong, that few of us actually see a woman on the cover of a magazine and think "Well sure she's beautiful but most of that image is fake."

The Dove Soap company's Campaign for Real Beauty is doing a great job of exposing this issue of advertisers showing us false images to make us feel inferior so they can sell us more stuff. On their site you can watch their Evolution commercial that shows the transformation a model undergoes from normal-looking girl to billboard beauty with the help of lots of makeup, lighting and much digital remodelling of her features.

But most of these transformations from plain Jane to va-va-voom take place behind closed doors, and with willing participants. What model doesn't want to look as beautiful as possible? Unfortunately, many models don't talk about how media editors are chopping up their bodies into smaller, thinner versions of themselves. Several years ago, Kate Winslet spoke out against GQ magazine for chopping up her image to make it thinner. GQ's editor defended the magazine by saying: "These days you only get two kinds of pictures of celebrities - paparazzi pictures or pictures like these which have been highly styled, buffed, trimmed and altered to make the subject look as good as is humanly possible. We do that for everyone, whether they are a size six or a size 12. It hasn't a lot to do with body size. Practically every photo you see in a magazine will have been digitally altered in this way."

Thanks to magazine editors everywhere for making women believe we're too fat because we don't measure up to your standards. Standards which don't exist in real life. Thanks also for showing men what beautiful women look like, but neglecting to tell them that noone looks like that in real life.

Despite this grand deception that is common practice, it's rare to see a celeb or model speak out against the endless need to cut women down to a tiny, unattainable size. That's why I applaud Vida Guerra for publicly complaining that FHM magazine made her butt look smaller when it featured her. Vida is no stick-thin runway model, but she ain't no fat girl either. She has modelled for Playboy and her website shows off her sexy curves and her very womanly body. So, it's interesting to watch her question the magazine's decision to cut her booty down to size.

I guess you really can't be too rich or too thin these days. I can't wait for this pendulum to swing back in the opposite direction; and it surely will. In the meantime, I'll focus on being healthy, thanks! And as long as my body allows me to jump and run and play, I will love and appreciate its non-Photoshopped shape.



At 11:13 AM , Blogger moritherapy said...

wow, another great post, caroline!

i chuckled at the editor who said they'd edit pictures as much as "humanly" possible. i wonder what he meant by that. obviously the editing is possible because of computers!

to think that we agonize over our appearance because we want to look as good as a computer makes these images ...


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