November 1, 2013

the evolution of beauty’s unreality

There was a lot of talk going around on the interweb yesterday about this video and, while uncovering model manipulation tactics is nothing new, it reminded me of just how much we blindly accept what is truth from the very corporations that will do anything to fatten their profit margins. Reality shows are scripted. Singers vocals have multiple effects layered on. And models are unnatural representations of the female form.

I worked in an advertising agency for years so I know first hand what goes into model manipulation. We took one model who had slightly blemished skin, the cutest smattering of freckles, braces and these awkwardly adorable ears and transformed her into someone completely different. Why was she chosen to be our model? Her bone structure. Everything else can be created in photoshop. And why do we photoshop? Because that’s marketing. Transforming a woman into a convoluted idea of beauty is perfectly acceptable by today’s standards because that is what we want to see. Publish an ad with no lighting effects, filters or a touched up model?

tina fey_hipster

We may fight against this very practice and denounce corporations for giving young women self esteem complexes, but truth is if we didn’t buy into it companies wouldn’t do it. We’re told over and over that ‘real beauty’ is what we see in magazines and on the runway…and we said OK.

moriarty bitch please

Ask any man and it’s not the photoshopped to sh*t model he finds smoking hot. It’s the woman who looks healthy and natural, imperfections and all. Males are hard-wired to find a woman with curves and glowing skin to be the most attractive. Why? Because that meant she was fertile and could bear and care for his offspring. We may have evolved from a hunter-gatherer society, but at the end the day you can’t change simple biology.

I don’t believe society is going to have this massive awakening and we’re suddenly going to see Dove Real Beauty campaign replicated everywhere, but what we can do is look at those alien-like depictions of women (seriously, when they widened her eyes I got a creepy chill down my spine) and not let it have any kind of impact on our self-worth.

don't even care

Thanks for joining me this week and have a great weekend!


  • beautycalypse

    so many thoughts… so little comment box…

    you can’t sell junk to people who are quite content as they are, can you?

    to quote a song by one of my fave bands, muse: “a species based on endless growth is unsustainable”.

    it’s interesting though that particularly those of us who have seen the backstage of glossy understand that it needs to change. I have some background in both advertising and editorial, and at some point you either become cynically braindead, or take the red pill.

    gosh. we need to establish green hangouts to geek out about all of that, seriously!!!11eleven

    • sorry for the delay! that’s a great quote and am not surprised to hear it’s from muse – their writing really is quite thought provoking. It just reminded me of another quote actually by dr gail dines – “if tomorrow, women woke up and decided they really liked their bodies, just think how many industries would go out of business.” so true non? And yes we need a green geek hangout!!

  • Margie

    It’s pretty sad to see how much the billion dollar beauty industry has tapped into, and taken advantage of, the insecurities that same industry has fostered.

    • it’s such a vicious cycle – but the more we’re aware AND refuse to let it affect us, the less power they have. Happy Friday! 🙂