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Saturday, October 27, 2007

I can't stop watching this video



I stumbled across it and watched it over and over and over again, trying to figure out how many "improvements" they had to make on this girl. First it was the hair and the make-up, and then the Photoshop. For what it's worth, I didn't see anything worth changing after her hair and make-up had been done. But no... they gave her bigger lips and eyes, elongated her neck, slimmed down her shoulders and cheeks... it's just unbelievable.

I understand these companies are only out to sell their product, but I applaud Dove's Campaign for Real Beauty. Do these executives ever once stop and think about what they're doing to women? About the message they're sending? I think I'm a decent looking woman -- not the hottest thing around, but I think I'm all right. However, I could never, ever measure up to that final picture, for example, or any model. It's because I'm real, and (most of the time) I'm glad I am. I don't know that I want to be a size 2 so badly that I'd starve myself, and I like having curves. But at the same time, it is hard to ignore that twinge when you are at the grocery store and see some girl with a tiny waist, perfect boobs, "bed me" eyes, and a full mouth on the cover of Cosmopolitan, accompanied by a headline telling you how to get that look. When you're as inundated as we are today by these ideals of what beauty should be, it takes a lot of confidence and willpower to not doubt yourself. Not all women possess that confidence and willpower. So they work out seven days a week. They won't leave the house without taking an hour and a half to make sure their hair is perfect and their make-up disguises what they really look like (the make-up thing in particular annoys me more than anything else). Some might not eat. Some might throw up what they eat. And all in the name of unattainable beauty that some marketing executive for a clothing line or make-up company thinks we should strive for.

Um, no thanks.

I don't know what there is we can do to change this, but something has to change. It isn't healthy, and it isn't right. I understand wanting to have your product sold by a beautiful woman, but it's being taken way too far. Take the model above. Did she need that much work done? Obviously, she doesn't look anything like the finished product, but she didn't look bad to begin with, either. She looked like the girl next door. And even after doing her hair and make-up, it wasn't good enough. To be considered beautiful, you have to drop reality and look more like a frozen mannequin at a department store, complete with slender body and a frozen, shiny face.



This is me. This is what I look like. That photo was taken by a friend of mine in front of some trees behind her apartment building. She wanted to play around with her camera and needed a "model", so I took about twenty minutes to throw on some make-up and we did a ten minute "photo shoot". But these people would have a laundry list of complaints, I'm sure. Not tall enough (5'2"), not skinny enough (size 8), not made-up enough (I still look like myself), not tan enough (I'm not interested in frying myself to skin cancer)... I'm sure they could have a field day with me on Photoshop. Make my eyes bigger, my nose smaller, my lips fuller... who knows. The thing is, most women will have more in common with me than any model on any billboard, and is there something wrong with that? We aren't all 5'10" and 115 pounds with a C cup rack and perfect hair. I'm a real women, and I don't have a problem with that. But sometimes, I think these executives want me to. I think they want women to loathe their bodies and the way they look. Then, they'll be even more eager to buy loads of make-up, spend money on laser hair removal and plastic surgery, spend every free moment at the gym, and drop cash on weight-loss programs. But it just isn't healthy. It's just not right.

Seriously... at what point does enough become enough? Will there be a day when we can just appreciate people for who they are and what they actually look like, rather than an ideallized version of it? No one's perfect. But these companies are telling women that we need to be, and that needs to stop.

The only question is, can it? Or is it too late?

13 comments:

Gothguy said...

Cassy,

Personally, I have never found stick figures posing as women attractive.

A woman is supposed to have curves in the places God intended them to have them.

When I put my arms around a woman, I do not want to feel nothing but ribs. Dove has the right idea, using 'real' women versus 'Madison Ave' women for their campaign. Kudos to them.

I wish more women would just feel comfortable as to who they are, versus what someone else thinks they should be.

For example, I have 2 female friends, one is about 5'2, maybe 135lbs., and the other is about 5'7, and maybe weighs about 120lbs. or so. Friend #1 very rarely wears make up, never tans, etc. She is, how ever, one of the sweetest girls I know. She is always in a good mood, has the brightest smile, a good heart, and a great personality to boot, and is very comfortable with who she is.

Friend #2 is just the opposite. Always wears makeup no matter what, tans all the time, has had a nose job and a boob job because she didn't like the shape of them...I have seen them before, so I couldn't figure out her logic on that one. She diets constantly because she wants to maintain the same figure she had when she was a teen, and is depressed all the time, and can't figure out why.

Between the two, I would want to date Friend #1 if I were younger.

alacrityfitzhugh said...

I think the part where they stretched her neck looked the most painful!

Anonymous said...

Nothing wrong with your photo that I can see. I bet you light up a room when you smile.

T.Ferg said...

I think you and my wife would be very good friends. The guy who ends up with you will be a lot like me...thankful that he got way way better than he deserved!

Gredd said...

It's getting a little disturbing in what they're doing. If it hasn't crossed a line yet, it won't be long it does.

James said...

Rock on gothguy. Women are supposed to look like women, not like a broom handle with arms. There other videos on the site are a good watch and really bring a perspective rarely seen these days. Cassy, those are some of the most brutally honest words I have read on this blog to date, and I applaud you for writing them, very refreshing.

My wife VERY rarely wears makeup, and when she does, it somehow just doesn't seem right, like she's "off" a little bit. Not sure how else to explain that. I sincerely hope my girls will grow up to be like that, using their mother as a role model in that area.

Not to mention I cannot imagine what all that crap is doing to person's skin, putting in on and wearing it all day. If it was okay, then men would be doing it too, but we don't. I could go on and on about ridiculous expectations and all that, but I think I better stop while I am ahead.

Toa said...

I wonder how many women realize how much more attractive they are to us when they are just content to be themselves. I figure if a girl is disjointed enough to decieve me with a surgically-enhanced (ruined) fake body and face, she will be deceptive in all other areas as well.

Our "new world" of easy divorce and widespread dysfunctional families has turned out a massive number of neurotic and fragmented people, and our cultural elites are doing all they can to push this superficial, fraudulent "perfect person" stuff on to them, most especially to women. The only real "enhancement", it seems, is to the neuroses, anger and insecurities that these poor folks already suffer from, but this doesn't matter to the elites- they feel great about themselves and their warped worldview, and that's all that matters to them.

Thanks, Cassy, for a great article...always good to see that there are still ladies around who haven't bought into the tragic lies being foisted on women today.

Maurice said...

Wow. Simply wow. You look simply beautiful in that photo. I mean, you're an attractive girl Cassy, but in that photo you are stunning and you photograph beautifully. If it were me I'd have you over a runway or standard "supermodel" any day of the weak for a shoot. My wife agrees with me too, and I think she's a little jealous of the fact that you're not only pretty, but pretty damn smart too. Good on ya' Cassy, keep on keepin' it real and stay the same smart, sassy, beautiful woman you already are. You're fiance (soon to be) is going to be one lucky man!

Anonymous said...

Cassy,

Please stay just the way you are. You are, by far, much more attractive than the "skelator" starlets pushed on us by TV, movies, and fashion mags.

My daughter had to deal with not being a size two and going to become an Olympic gymnast! It took a little while, but she realized American women are being sold a bill of goods.

JR
Atlanta

Gredd said...

Cassy, I think a lot of guys here would rename this blog entry, "I can't stop looking at this picture." :) Your friend has some real talent.

Fetiche said...

"Seriously... at what point does enough become enough? Will there be a day when we can just appreciate people for who they are and what they actually look like, rather than an ideallized version of it? No one's perfect. But these companies are telling women that we need to be, and that needs to stop."

You're teetering at going off the deep end, dear. Simply because someone is telling you that you could look "better" doesn't mean you have to buy into it.

It might come as a surprise to you that the overwhelming majority of both men and women prefer a woman with a womanly figure, NOT a model's exaggeratedly gaunt figure. Models more or less have to be skinnier than normal to avoid distracting the prospective buyer's attention away from the clothes they're wearing, which are, after all, the point of modeling. But the men I know, at least, don't go for praying mantises -- and the women I know don't really want to look like one.

Because of the drumbeat from the broadcast media and the fashion magazines, it's easy to confuse their commercial messages with the opinions and tastes of people at large. Be careful about that.

Now, about the various cosmetics and technologies available for reshaping your appearance: Many of these are very old, while others are quite new. At some point, some women decided to make use of each one. SOME women, not all. But every one of those things is a product being offered to you, which gives the makers and retailers a powerful incentive to persuade you that absolutely EVERYONE is doing this and YOU simply can't do without it. In point of fact, you can -- anyone can -- if you're satisfied with the way you look here and now.

Are you satisfied? If so, what's the big deal? And if not, why not -- and since when?

I'm a tiny Vietnamese woman without much of a figure. When I arrived in this country and settled in L.A., I had to get used to the fact that nine out of ten women I pass on the street have "more assets" than I do. I did it. You can, too -- and when you've done so, your concerns over the media blitzes for this and that form of personal improvement will be greatly reduced.

Having said all that, there's really no substitute for a closet full of high heels! (giggle!)

COPioneer said...

Finally watched that video. Yep, as fetiche said, we all have choices, and Marketing and Media try to jamb it down our throats.

absolutely EVERYONE is doing this and YOU simply can't do without it

The same can be said for TV, the Movies, what Car you drive, what Light Bulbs you buy, Smoking, Drinking, being a slut, having an abortion, buying into global warming, you name it.

lardog88 said...

Cassy,

I came across this video a few months ago. I sent this video to both of my daughters to remind them that "beauty" is not always what it seems.

You asked if anything can be done. In my opinion, it needs to start with the fathers. Reminding his daughters of their worth, boosting their self esteem. Sadly, with the divorce rate what it is, kids don't see their fathers nearly enough, unable to really ground a good relationship.

So, dads out there, it's really up to you.