I get wanting to look your best. I understand Spanx, and yes, have worn them myself. I get the camera adds ten pounds and the immense pressure of being in the spotlight. I believe in the value of make-up and heels and dress up and glamor. There is a time and place for all of it and it can make you feel so good. But at the end of the day, we all must feel equally good bare faced and naked in front of the mirror or a lover and still unconditionally love what we see. The problem is not in wanting to look your best, but in not loving yourself when you feel you don’t.
A recent article came out, http://mashable.com/2014/12/01/hollywood-secret-beauty-procedure, discussing the top secret procedure being done in films called, beauty work. It is essentially air brushing in film – but this air brushing involves every single frame. It may be slimming or de-aging, or removing dark circles, basically anything Photoshop can do but for a moving picture. Body doubles have been around for years and are a well known secret. I remember when Julia Roberts discussed having one in Pretty Woman for a scene she felt uncomfortable with. As a pre-teen with every insecurity imaginable, it was reassuring to know that even movie stars felt that way too, even ones I admired for their beauty and physique. When we look at magazines, we expect a picture to be retouched, and I get that a brand wants a photo to look as polished as possible and sometimes, even the best of us have bags under our eyes or a blemish, so why not take it out. Photoshop is considered common knowledge so we can have a certain suspension of disbelief when we flip through magazines and accept that this is the fantasy world of fashion. I say this because with film, even with the glitz and glamor of Hollywood there is an expectation for actors to look as they did on screen. We accepted their curves, or lines, or lack of and we saw who they were on screen as a made-up version of themselves because the possibility of their image altered on screen had not crossed into our minds as a remote possibility. Tabloids may write about plastic surgery, but alterations of film frames, definitively no. Every once in a while some magazine comes out of celebs without make-up and the world is shocked to see that make-up transformed them just like every other human being on the planet.
What we did not know, was that for many actors there was even more behind the scenes alterations going down, and for that, we were all hoodwinked. There is enough unnatural pressure to look a certain way in this society, but when a standard of beauty is set that isn’t even real, and we don’t know that as we absorb the films, it creates even more insecurities and delusional perspectives on beauty and aging. You aren’t aware of how far the rabbit hole of beauty goes and suddenly you are holding yourself up to a standard of beauty that doesn’t even exist because a computer created it all.
I’m not here to judge or comment on whether on not photoshopping or beauty work should occur, but I do believe that we should all be aware of it. False icons have only perpetuated a youth driven society and many celebrity and non-celebrities are caught in this cycle of popular culture.
I respect celebrities who occasionally post the bare faced photo of themselves, just to remind a society which idolizes them, that they too are human and age and get bloated and have pimples and feel the same insecurities we all do.
As women, we must be reminded that what we see is not real. We are all fed very manipulated images through popular culture and to understand it, as fantasy, we first need to know that the myth exists. We need to be able to differentiate the life we see in the mirror from the art we see on screen and hold ourselves up to a realistic view of beauty. We must love every phase our body experiences in our journey and all the lines, wrinkles, and imperfections that we should embrace along the way.
Filed under: Lalita