There has been a lot of press lately about over-photo-shopping, airbrushing and other means of visual “correction” in the news as of late. Most notably in my mind is 14-year-old Julia Bluhm, an 8th grader from Waterville, Maine, who managed to garner 25,000 signatures in favor of Seventeen Magazine producing one photo spread per month without the aid of Photoshop. Bluhm was tired of looking at super doctored photos of girls and women in major fashion publications and felt that viewing these images on a regular basis could be detrimental to young girls’ self-esteem. “We know that Photoshop can be very harmful to girls because they think they have to look like these images. But it’s not even real, it’s Photoshop. So it’s kind of impossible to look like that in real life.”
I have to say that I agree, I think that Photoshop use has become a bit out of control recently and unfortunately, it has re-shaped our expectations of what we feel a woman is “supposed” to look like and our beauty standards as a whole. While I personally do not use Photoshop (it’s very expensive and I don’t really know how to use it), I do have a simple photo editing tool on my computer that I use to zap those occasional blemishes. But to change your physical form, to airbrush your skin so much that there is not a pore, freckle, wrinkle or line on your face is just plain un-natural. Yes, I know, photo retouching has been around since the dawn of photography, and many a pin-up gal has been “corrected” but in today’s society, it has truly run rampant.
Being a pin-up model generally requires dramatic and/or elaborate make up application and from what I have seen, quite a bit of retouching with Photoshop. While it is an entertaining art form and a longstanding one that I admire deeply, I think we need to also be okay with being with ourselves au natural. It can be super fun to pretend we are someone else and be a total glamourpuss, but if we can’t stomach the idea of leaving the house without cosmetics or sharing a photo of ourselves without “editing it” we need to really ask ourselves why? What is it that we are so afraid of?
While I am neither a model or a celebrity, I decided to photograph myself today with zero makeup and leave the photos completely untouched. I have to admit that I felt a bit self-conscious thinking that I would be putting these pictures in the public eye, but it honestly feels liberating. The truth is everyone has something about themselves that they dislike or are sensitive about. A larger nose, troubled skin, crooked teeth, scars, thin lips, small eyes, whatever. We as women can be very critical of one another and especially of ourselves. I think that it is important for us to show ourselves in our true form and to radically embrace ourselves as who we really are.
I love makeup, it’s truly one of my favorite things in this world. But we don’t need it. Is it fun to get a gussied up and play around with our features? Absolutely! Do we need to have on a full face of cosmetics to be beautiful? Absolutely not! To be comfortable in our own skin is one of the most valuable traits we as women can possess. I know it’s not easy, hell I’m 30 and I’m only starting to feel a peace with who I really am. But we can do it.
Real women have pores, fine lines, laugh lines, wrinkles, acne, blackheads, body & facial hair, birthmarks, freckles, scars, stretch marks, dark spots, discolorations, knee caps, elbows, veins, cellulite and cuticles. And we are ALL still beautiful.
So next time you see a photo-shopped image in a magazine or on a billboard, just smile and know that while they look good, so do you, naturally!
Dita Von Teese