I’m not watching tonight. Just not my thing. But you might watch or want to watch. It might be your thing.
I’m not all that personally bothered by it, nor am I worried about it affecting my self-esteem or body image (I work too hard to maintain it and keep it strong like bull). That said, there are plenty of you watching tonight who might not feel the same way or who might not feel awesome about your bods after the show. So here are a few things to keep in mind, whether you choose to watch or not.
10. HONOR YOURSELF. If it bothers you, don’t watch it. You control your environment, not the other way around. The moment something feels bad, don’t do it. Likewise, if you LIKE it, watch it. Have a good time. You don’t need to defend yourself, feel guilty or bad about it. Do your thing.
9. LISTEN CAREFULLY. If you find yourself starting to make negative comments about YOUR body, HER body, WOMEN’S bodies in general? STOP WATCHING. This is a sign that there’s more going on. Turn it off, watch something else, read a book (or come vent here!). You don’t need it.
8. SOCIAL MEDIA SUCKS DURING AWARDS SHOWS. Avoid Twitter. Like. The. Plague. Fashion/awards show body shaming is rampant, even amongst well meaning ladies and gents. The more we normalize criticizing other women’s bodies, the more we accept that it’s okay and RIGHT to criticize our own. The more body criticisms you expose yourself too, the more normalized they become.
7. REMEMBER IT’S AN ELABORATE ILLUSION. A lot of work goes into VS fashion show bodies and the show itself. A TON. An army of experts are called in: hundreds of people working on everything from technical, design, to wardrobe, makeup, hair etc. Even the models are selected very carefully: they don’t represent your average body (OR EVEN YOUR AVERAGE MODEL BODY, lol). There’s lighting, camera angles and flashy flash all designed to minimize flaws, hide imperfections and deliver a SHOW. This is a show. Not even remotely close to real life. Treat it like a cartoon if it helps.
6. WATCH YOUR EYEBALL TIME. Avoid idolizing, ripping down or obsessing over the bodies you see. The more time you spend oogling images during and after the show, the greater odds you have of feeling less than adequate. Science. Plus, you have better things to do, right? Go do that. Admiration is fine, but only takes a second. If you find yourself spending more time than that on other women’s bodies, you’re being boring.
5. REAL SEX IS UGLY. WHAT THEY ARE SELLING ISN’T ACTUAL SEX. There is a BIG difference between the “sex appeal” being sold, and actual, real, sex appeal. Really awesome sex is ugly, messy, and most partners won’t remember what you were wearing before. It also has a lot more to do with confidence than accessories. What’s being sold isn’t sexuality but the idea of a sexualized female object and conformity to a set of ideals that have little to do with real life attraction and bamchickawahwah. Keep it in check. (most men like to keep things simple. The more buttons and clasps it has, the more terrifying it is, lol).
4. DON’T HATE ON THE MODELS. Don’t like the show and what it stands for? That’s cool. Talk about it. But don’t take it out on the models. Tearing HER down does nothing to help raise us all up, ya know? (plus…. real women, all of them). And making light of eating disorders, “eat a cheeseburger” talk and calling them fake doesn’t help matters. In fact, it hurts us all so much more. Refer to #10. If you find yourself in a hatin’ mood, read this instead: “Why Women Love To Hate On Victoria Secret Models” by Erin Brown http://fitmamatraining.com/why-women-love-to-hate-victorias-secret-models/. If you’re still irked, read the follow up: http://fitmamatraining.com/we-are-on-the-same-team/. If you’re still bothered, don’t watch.
3. REMEMBER, THESE AREN’T YOUR AVERAGE WOMEN OR AVERAGE BODIES. And even though they haven’t been “photoshopped”, doesn’t mean that every trick in the book hasn’t been used to “perfect” them on camera. Only very specific bodies and body types are chosen to represent the line, types that represent about 3% of the actual population. Then there’s hair extensions, makeup (face AND body. Layers and layers and layers), duct tape, weeks or months of dieting/working out, spray tans, glitter and more. (some of these women look very weird in person, but great on the runway. No point comparing. They will NOT wake up looking like that tomorrow). AFTER THAT, there’s lighting, camera angles and flashy flash all designed to minimize flaws, hide imperfections and deliver a SHOW. Victoria’s Secret model Selita Ebanks once put it, “It’s all about creating the illusion of this amazing body on the runway. People don’t realize that there are about 20 layers of makeup on my butt alone.” Angel Adriana Lima famously disclosed her Fashion Show diet a few years back: no solid food in the nine days leading up to the taping and no water in the 12 hours before. Sexy.
All the exercise and diet in the world will NOT help you look like them. Just like all the exercise and diet in the world will not help them look like you. And that’s okay.
2. ASK YOURSELF WHAT’S REALLY BEING SOLD. Remember, this isn’t really a retail show. Or a show for new items meant to purchase, wear or promote. Most of the underwear being shown is actually quite ridiculous and completely impractical to wear in real life (3D printed wings?). Artistic and fun? Sure. Meant for consumption? Nope. It’s okay to like the show for entertainment purposes. Just know what’s up, cool? What’s being sold isn’t fashion or art first.. And it’s not a secret.
1. Re-read #10. It’s worth repeating. If you like it, watch. If you don’t, don’t. But if you CHOOSE to watch, make sure you know what you’re consuming, how it affects your own sense of self, how it impacts your own body image and how much energy you invest into it. If it doesn’t serve you, don’t engage.
If you’re a long time follower, you know I don’t usually post pics of other women’s bodies here. There are no headless booties, non-stop shots of great abs, nor are there fitspo quotes or imagery trying to “moti-shame” you. But I make exceptions for mythbusting images, and this one qualifies.
We simply don’t get to see how much retouching is involved in covers and shoots for magazines often. It’s not enough to talk about photoshopping or use images of celebs as our basis. We need to see the extent visually so we can understand why we should not be striving to look like a magazine cover, or think we’re less than awesome for NOT looking like HER.
Some thoughts on the image above…
1. This lady’s got a great bod, right? Before retouching. Bangin’.
2. That bod isn’t perfect. Nothing is perfect. Still bangin’.
3. The image you see on the left is a magazine’s attempt to ‘perfect’ her body by removing what they consider 'flaws'. A lot goes into it. Decisions go into it.
4. That ‘flawless’ image is a lie. (duh)
5. We see it. Some people buy it, both literally (as in a purchase) and metaphorically (as in accepting it as truth). And even those who ‘KNOW’ it is airbrushed, do not have access to the before pic to know to what extent.
6. The ‘flawless’ image is believed to be attainable and possible by the consumer (us), especially if supported by an article by the model explaining her ‘routine’ to get such a stellar body. Which isn’t a lie probably. Except the body she’s referring to and the one you’re looking at are two different bodies. She might not know that: don’t hate on her.
7. People may or may not follow her tips, waiting for their body to look like hers. Rather, the image of her body that we’re presented. Which again, is a lie.
8. Women feel frustrated, annoyed, de-motivated and defeated in trying everything possible to attain the perfection presented… only to end up as ‘not perfect’. Not as smooth. Not as soft. Not as flawless. So much energy goes into this process, both in trying to attain perfection AND trying to cope with the disappointment in not getting there (imagine what amazing things we could accomplish with all that energy. So much wasted “win”).
It’s so rare to see the before shots of magazine covers, that it’s fair to say it’s impossible for most to understand & gain awareness of how much they are altered. As evidenced here (and by countless other mythbusting images), it’s a LOT of tweaking. Most are simultaneously subtle and dangerously overt: they have to stay close to the line of “realism” so that the consumer will buy into the lie (if you’ve ever witnessed photoshopping gone wrong, it can be a brutal PR faux pas). Examine the image above: save her arms, hair and her legs BELOW the knee, every inch of her has been altered, modified, softened, smoothed, slimmed and “perfected”. She still looks like a version of herself, but not at all what she’d look like if she were right in front of you.
It’s easy to say “Don’t compare. Don’t idolize. Don’t get trapped by notions of perfection”. But actually LIVING those things means exposing yourself to the truth more often and limiting your exposure to images that utilize similar techniques. Which.. is all of them.
A good place to start? Start seeing covers like these as lies. Ditch them. All of them. And remind yourself that perfect does NOT exist. Nor is it a GOOD thing.
Wold you be shocked?
Toning, tightening, lengthening, shaping, cinching, leaning, sculpting, chiseling etc. = marketing words. For the most part when you hear them, they ALL mean gaining muscle and losing fat. All of them. (in other cases, they are just lies, lol). We also prefer the term “lean muscle” to plain old “muscle”, but the term lean isn’t necessary. That’s a marketing thing too. (add “sexy” and bam! People love “sexy” lean muscle).
This image didn’t always piss me off. And others like it didn’t always piss me off. I was used to seeing them, hearing the rhetoric, and was deeply subscribed to the belief that it was normal & appropriate to motivate women this way.
In an industry where it’s often hard to get women to hop on the resistance train, encouraging them with reminders that it’ll turn them into ridiculously hot amazon women seems to work. Women respond to it and if it gets them squatting, the ends justify the means, right? (No. Not right, but we’ll get to that).
Clearly, I don’t feel the same way now. Body love epiphanies and tipping points will do that to you. But if you’re still where I was, and think these images are harmless, here’s some reasons you might want to rethink them.
First, let’s explore “The Making Of A Pro-Squat Fitspo Image For Women”.
A. Find pictures of bootylicious booties, usually headless. If said images aren’t already headless, cut the heads off. Zoom in on booty.
B. Place the words “squat” or “deadlift” all over them. If possible, accompany by a statement (implied or explicit) that those two exercises will make your booty RIDIC HOT, just like the headless girls in the image. Make said booty as sexually explicit as possible by showcasing it in underwear or booty shorts.
C. To really drive the point home, give the comparison treatment: showcase another smaller, flatter booty, (also headless) and dub said booty the ‘BAD non-squatty, non-deadlifty” booty Just another visual, to make sure you know the difference between a good butt and a bad butt.
D. If true fear or shame is what you’re after, apply a hefty dose of “men prefer women who squat, because of course” and duh, you want a hot booty to impress the fellas. The more implications that your ability to be attractive to men depends on squats, the better.