Saturday, August 4, 2012

On Being Real

Some of you might be surprised to see so many blog posts from me all of a sudden.  Well, I have stuff to say and this is my "say stuff" place, so this is where it goes.

Just like many of you, I see things online all the time and immediately think "that's so photoshopped".  In a way I kind of wish I were still bright eyed and innocent of how much deception there is in the world, because it was a lot more fun back then.  Truth is though in our day with so many people fancying themselves experts with photo editing tools (and so many more who are true geniuses with these same tools) it's pretty hard to believe just about anything you see.  Here's an example of how easy it really is. 

This is a picture Kevin took of me back in the spring.  I'd just woken up from an afternoon nap, went out onto the deck with my coffee and he snapped this pic with his phone.  Not the best quality pic, but it's the real me (on the left). I have wrinkles on my forehead, saggy upper eyelids, deep laugh lines, the beginnings of what I assume are jowels, tons of wrinkles on my neck and dark circles under my eyes. I didn't change anything at all about the original pic, except to crop it for side-by-side purposes.  Now, in the picture on the right, I did some "Maybe she's born with it... Maybe it's photoshop" slight smoothing.  Gone is the jowel & neck wrinkles, smooth is the forehead, gone are the dark circles under my eyes and I even gave the corner of my mouth a little upturn instead of it's natural downward tilt. Then, I adjusted the contrast to give my features a sharper look.  All of this took me less than 10 minutes.  If someone didn't know what I really look like, they wouldn't know the difference if I just posted the pic on the right, instead of the real one.  The only thing I didn't change at all was my hair.  At the risk of sounding conceited, I was totally having a great hair moment, even after napping. :o)  It happens about once a year, oh yeah, I'm claiming it!  The thing is though, between genetics, gravity and age, this is just the way it all pans out.

Anyway, the reason I wanted to give this example of how easy this is to do, is because now I'm going to post a picture of women in their underpants.  I know, I NEVER post stuff like this here but for purposes of the post, I sorta have to (besides, it's all over FB anyway, you've prolly already seen it, and it's actually more clothing than you usually see on the beach, so please accept this as my disclaimer):

This picture has shown up several times in my FB feed recently and every time it does, I just ignore it.  Today though I decided to click on it to find out what the point of it was, and essentially the point of it is, to show how Victoria's Secret defines "beauty" and by contrast how Dove defines it.  Clearly, based on the selected models, VS defines beauty as rail thin, where Dove defines it as curvy.  That's not really much of a surprise.  What did surprise me however were the comments on the FB post.  Aside from a few extremely lewd comments from pigs who have apparently learned to type, were some really really cruel and insulting ones towards to the VS models as well as the Dove models.  Most were assuming they were both photoshopped (and I'm sure they likely were, by professionals who smoothed out wrinkles, and gave a little gravity boost here and there) but the thing that struck me most bizarre where the "way too fat" and "whale" remarks from men about the models in the Dove ad.  Way too fat?  Whales?!  Seriously dude, are you completely mental?  To me, those models look like real, normal women.  They represent what the vast majority of women are shaped like where the models on the top (and the models not shown, which might be the Deep Fried Foods Beauty Campaign - the one I'd model for, in my sweats) represent the minority.  

I wanted to check for myself to see if these were real campaigns by these two companies (again, there is so much fake and phony junk online, you always have to check) and I ran across a post at that said (in part) it better than I ever could (the red emphasis is mine):

"There is nothing realistic or responsible about the way Victoria’s Secret portrays women. It’s appalling to me that an Angel can so wholeheartedly and enthusiastically encourage “little girls” to become the type of woman who perpetuates this unhealthy ideal of what a woman should look like.
I eat food. Real food. Solid food. I don’t count on vitamins and supplements for my energy; I count on burgers, pasta, chocolate, and coffee. I am seven inches too short and several sizes too big in the hips and too small in the breasts to be deemed beautiful enough to walk down a runway in my underwear and a pair of wings. I have stretch marks on my stomach and dimples under my butt and bags under my eyes, but you know what, Victoria’s Secret? I truly do love my body!"
Oh how I wish our girls could grow up in a society that values and appreciates women for who they are, not what they look like.