Recently, I was reading an article about how photographers and artists are now airbrushing to ADD pounds to models instead of taking them off. The voluptuous look has risen in popularity and is now being recognized as a standard in the fashion industry. As I read this article, my first reaction was pleasure at the thought that the fashion industry is paying more attention to the majority rather than the minority of the female population.
But as I continued to think about it, I realized that airbrushing pounds ON is no better than airbrushing pounds OFF. Why are we so concerned with photoshopping/airbrushing models? Why can’t we just leave them the way that they are? Why is this society so obsessed with perfection that we are willing to fake photos?
Now, being a plus size model myself, I know that some of my pictures have been changed. I’ve had a few wrinkles brushed out and lighting changed a little. But in general, I look very much like my photos because I don’t believe in not being who you are. I do understand when it is necessary to airbrush out a wrinkle on a dress or maybe fix the lighting or background. But when you are smoothing out the skin so it is completely flawless and making the model look like a mannequin, then that takes it out of the sphere of reality to fantasy. That kind of beauty is not attainable, no matter how much money you spend.
We all tend to grow increasingly more depressed with each passing year as we fall shorter and shorter of the ideal of perfection. The cliché phrase “Shoot for the stars and you will land on the mountaintops” doesn’t always happen. We often set our expectations so high that when we don’t reach our goals, we grow increasingly more miserable with each failure. Life and age will take their toll on EVERY person and we should be looking at those wrinkles, age spots and even a few extra pounds as hallmarks of a life well-lived, not something to denigrate and criticize.
Of course, I realize that the search for youth, beauty, and perfection is as old as the legend of the Fountain of Youth. So what I’m saying now is certainly not an original thought. But what I’ve hit upon is something that I think most will agree with. Instead of shooting for perfection, I think what we should be aiming for is “attainable” beauty. We know when we roll out of bed in the morning in our pj’s that we are not looking our best. For me, it takes a shower, hair styling, and make up to feel comfortable to face the world. But I’ve become comfortable and happy in my own skin and with my own beauty. I know that I’m not perfect, nor am I trying to be. Instead, I look at products and fashion as a means to an end in helping me achieve the “attainable” look that I want.
So maybe instead of seeking society’s idea of perfection, we would be happier seeking goals that are attainable. Just a thought to chew on.