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.
Y’all know I’m a freak for fitness & I LOVE fitness-themed holiday presents (*squeal!). They make me excited the way I used to get when a new Goosebumps book came out, or when a new episode of Buffy was on its way.
It’s not just me though. Fitness gifts are going to be all the rage this season. From DVD’s, to gym memberships, to heart-monitors & video games, you can expect to see fit items under MANY a tree.
For fitness freaks & weirdos like me, a heart rate monitor or gym membership is the epitome of a gift WIN. But for someone just starting out (or for someone who’s only been talking about getting in shape ) such a gift could indirectly “I think you need to lose weight”.
Such a situation is a massive holiday FAIL.
So, how do you encourage healthy living while avoiding the “Fat-Trap”? Simple. If you’re still looking for the perfect fitness gift, I’ve got a list of “fat-free” suggestions that won’t land you in a pile of holiday