Has The Media Ruined Our Perception Of Beauty?

I’m lead to believe that the media has severely distorted the way we view beauty. You literally have people who base their physical preferences on a potential mate based on what they see on TV and in magazines. I’ve heard countless guys compare your average everyday woman to the women they’ve seen in a music video or an “eye candy” magazine (porno included). And vice versa — I’ve seen women compare your average everyday man to the men they see on TV. Because of this, people are forced to compete with a manufactured image in order to be noticed by the opposite sex. This, by the way, isn’t only an issue pertaining to the opposite sex. People treat each other differently in general based on what they perceive as beautiful.

It’s getting so crazy that you have people spending their hard-earned money to get all kinds of plastic surgeries to enhance their looks. We’re talking breast and ass implants, lip injections, Botox, etc. You’d expect that from actors/actresses, because not only do they have the financial means to afford such surgeries, but their careers are hugely tied to their looks.

But now you’ve got working class people getting plastic surgery because they want to look like the professional models and the people in Hollywood. It amazes me how many beautiful women I’ve encountered over the years with low self-esteem because they don’t look like the women on TV. In some cases, I’ve seen women who look down on themselves because they don’t look like a barbie doll. Yes people, they feel bad because they don’t look like a fucking plastic doll that was made in a factory. A lot of people, in general, don’t feel attractive unless they look like the celebrities. A lot of men don’t feel attractive unless they’re at least 6 feet tall with a ripped body and a full 8-pack of abs going. I can personally identify with that one. But that way of thinking is really flawed, and here’s why:

I do some photography and graphic design as a part-time hobby (at one point, I made a living as a freelance graphic artist), so I’ve been exposed to some things. Because of my dealings in photography, I’ve dealt with some makeup artists. You would be surprised what a huge difference a great makeup artist can make in the appearance of a person. I’ve seen before-and-afters of a lot of models, and in many cases, you wouldn’t even think you were looking at the same person by the time the makeup artist is done. But makeup isn’t the only alteration done to models.

Then there’s digital retouching. A makeup artist can’t remove every single “flaw” a person has, this is where the digital retouchers step in and edit the remaining flaws in Photoshop. These “flaws” I speak of could be uneven skin tone, pimples, birth marks, scars, yellow teeth, veins in the eyes, flying hair, a round face, disproportionate body, and the list goes on. By the time the retoucher is done, the model will look PERFECT. But that of course depends on how skilled the retoucher is. Don’t make the mistake of thinking that this process only applies to the females you see on TV and in magazines. The same thing is done for male models and actors.

Here’s a before and after photo (created by R.D. Image Manipulation) to illustrate my point (click the image to view it larger):

The photo above is an extreme case of retouching. The retoucher purposely went overboard to demonstrate how much of a difference retouching can make. Mind you, that the before picture is with makeup!

Now that you know how the game is played, you see why its not at all realistic for a person to compare themselves to a model/actor/actress. You can’t compete with artificiality, nor should you even attempt to. Not only should people bring their ideas of beauty back to reality, they have also got to view their fellow everyday people realistically. For the record, I think the media has done more than distort our views of beauty. I think the media (especially Hollywood) has distorted the way we review relationships in general. But that’s another topic — one that I might discuss in a future article.

The truth of the matter is — there are beautiful people all around us, everywhere we go. I actually feel bad for people who measure a person’s beauty by what they see in the media, because they don’t know what they’re missing. Before you get all worked up over a celebrity and start comparing the people around you to her/him, you should see how that person looks without makeup and digital retouching. Maybe then you’ll appreciate the true beauty of people.

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