Artificial Beauty

The other day I got into an interesting debate with a good friend of mine regarding louche women on social networking sites like MySpace and Facebook. The first thing that came to mind was of course the “Myspace angle”. In case you’ve never heard of this mystical angle, allow me to help illustrate:

MySpace Angle
Fig. 1: The “MySpace Angle”

Now I went ahead and took this idea a step further – no, not to just women wearing makeup. Me? What? Just a little bronzer, plenty of men use it, I swear! No, but seriously it occurred to me how distorted our perception of reality has become because of the images that appear in fashion magazines and all over the web. I know all too well how much you can distort reality using graphics software like Photoshop in very little time. Now as I was the one who brought this up, my friend of course asked me to prove it. Tack 16 minutes of amateur work onto an image of a girl that honestly looked okay before and this was the end result:

Artificial Beauty
 Fig. 2: Artificial Beauty

Not perfect, but enough to give you a pretty good idea of how much the lines of reality can really be blurred with very little work. I’ll be honest, every time that I go and modify a picture of a person like that it really does pain me in many ways. You really do feel like you’re chopping a person up. What’s more, it’s a total objectification of people – the kinds of thoughts that pass through your mind are of course “Hey, this doesn’t look too good” and “She’d look better this way!”.

I think the message here is awfully clear, as cliché as it may be: stop aiming to look like people do in magazines and online. You can find thousands if not millions of pictures online that have been touched up to a point that the end result is convincingly good looking but only moderately resembles the person it started as. Now don’t get me wrong and don’t try to misconstrue the message as being “Ignore how you look”. Just do the best you can and don’t beat yourself up over every the little imperfection you see. Nobody is perfect, not even those seemingly perfect models you’ll find online.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *