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what’s the truth? | Unairbrushed Photos of Models

I found this when looking through old drafts for a post! I wrote this on January 9 and never posted it!!!  The only problem is that I lost the youtube videos. 🙁 So here it is….

This was on the news this morning [January 9, 2010].  She’s former Miss Universe in 2004, Jennifer Hawkins.  Reportedly the airbrushing would have retouched the “crease” (not a roll) on her waist and a “dimple” on her thigh (which I cannot find).  She obviously has to work extremely hard to stay in great shape and it’s nice to see how she actually looks!  She looks perfect to me, even unairbrushed.  Just my opinion.  She doesn’t need airbrushing and I’m glad she didn’t have any.

Personally, whenever I see a woman that I think looks amazing and then I see that she looks “chubby” [in our American terms] when she turns or bends a certain way, JUST LIKE ME, I feel better.  I realize that the ideal that I have been looking for since I turned 14, the ideal body fat % that I’ve been dieting to maintain forever will still have me looking a bit chubby at this angle or that bend or whatever….because we are human and we will not look like the models in the magazines…ever…because they don’t!  I feel more normal when I see how “she” [one of my body-role-models] looks unretouched.  “She” isn’t perfect and nor will I be…ever…ah! The key to happiness. I’m not perfect and never will I be! 🙂

Can you believe she is getting criticism for this cover?!  Well, ok it’s not that surprising…. She looks AMAZING!!  She’s in great shape. She’s beautiful. She’s a model. Women hate her! Why, ladies, do we hate her? Stop it!  Women everywhere are saying that she is tall, skinny, and in great shape so she doesn’t represent most of America…why not??!!  WHY NOT??!!

That is a whole different issue to me….the hatred of women in great shape! Why can’t we embrace women who have figured out what are trying to figure out – how to get and stay in shape – and work with them to be like them?  Why can’t we learn from each other? Grow with each other? Encourage each other?

Why do we have to hate women who have it figured out? Why do we have to hate women with better genes than us who can eat whatever they want and never gain an ounce?  Why hate women who are suffering with eating disorders and hating themselves every day?  Help them!  We’re women and we need to stick together and work together and embrace each others’ strengths and weaknesses. We need to learn from each other and surround ourselves with women who make us better!!!

Model Jennifer Hawkins spoke of supporting her charity of choice The Butterfly Foundation and I had the youtube video but it’s off now so…..if you want more info you can check out the link.  The Butterfly Foundation provides support for Australians who suffer from eating disorders and negative body image issues and their carers.

A similar conversation was started when Jamie Lee Curtis posed in More Magazine in 2002.  It was her idea to do a photoshoot without airbrushing those photos.  Prior to this photoshoot she had been in many movies showing her fit figure.  So, seeing her in this way was nice for many women.

Another, more recent model who hit the news was plus sized model, Lizzie Miller, in the Fall of 2009 regarding unretouched photos of herself in Glamour Magazine.  And, even she says she cringed a bit when she first saw it.  But, women everywhere have been talking about this ever since. It made women feel better about themselves rather than worse!

I have mixed feelings about this. In general, you all know how I feel about accepting and loving yourself and your body. You also know how I feel about health and that includes weight. There is a healthy weight everyone should be BUT you can be that healthy weight and be unhealthy.  You cannot say that everyone who is x size is healthy or unhealthy…it’s just not that simple!

I have always been concerned about women in the public who proclaim they are healthy when they are clearly obese….Obviously this does not pertain to Lizzie Miller [photo to the right] but that’s always bothered me. I feel like we should love our bodies in whatever stage they are. I feel like we should accept why we are there, whether it is our fault, meds, disease, pregnancy, etc. It’s not ok to blame but accept and embrace where we are at that moment. BUT, to say someone is healthy when they are not has always bothered me.  There is a particular waist size and body fat percentage that puts people at risk for tons of diseases and is simply unhealthy.

What do you think?  Am I being unreasonable?

Do you want to see more “normal” and unairbrushed images in magazines?

Sara - Personally I wish they would do less retouching of photos. I find myself studying the photos, wondering how on earth they get such perfects skin and such perfect bodies – it makes me feel so inferior! I’d rather see real women so that I have something real to reach for not forever chasing a ‘perfect’ that doesn’t really exist.

Audra - I think so much of the hatred of models you speak of comes from the assumption that they’re lucky, they’re born with good metabolism, they don’t have to work hard to be thin, etc., which may be true for some of those women, but certainly not for all. I think it’s a way of deflecting responsibility for taking care of yourself. “She was born looking like that. I wasn’t. I might as well eat three cupcakes while I watch TV tonight.”

Angela - i love this post!! my thought about Jennifer Hawkins is that even though the photo isn’t technically “airbrushed” it’s still manipulated through lighting, makeup, and a spray on tan. since that isn’t the “natural” her, i guess i feel like i’m still being lied to. but that’s just me. :p

talking about airbrushing, there was a survey done that found women were STILL not happy with themselves, whether looking at a model that was bigger than them or smaller. for me, i don’t blame airbrushing. the problem is women will compare themselves to each other no matter what.

(p.s. Lizzie Miller is a plus size model???? i’m an American size 6-8 and my stomach doens’t look that good.)

tori - @Sara – I agree Sara!

@ Audra – I think you’re SO right! I hate hate hate that judgement of other women. I have friends who are naturally skinny but some of them still have health problems associated w/ the way they eat. It’s not ALL about the way we look.

@Angela – You make some awesome points!!! You’re so right…a tan makes a huge difference and I struggle w/ that b/c I don’t like actually tanning b/c of melanoma and I don’t like the chemicals in the fake lotions stuff….so I’m SOL!


Jenn (GH) - I’m weird but airbrushing doesn’t really bother me. I don’t look at any pictures and assume they are natural…even “candid” ones. Airbrushing is just a part of print media and I don’t see any reason to let it make me feel bad about myself especially when I know it’s all “smoke and mirrors”.

I couldn’t agree more about women sticking together. It’s a shame women are so prone to tear each other down.

Ann-Sporty Girl Jewelry - I would love to see more non-airbrushed photos. Even though I am thin I still catch myself being so self-critical of my “flaws”. I am trying to bring my focus back to being healthy and strong and not an airbrushed ideal.

guest - I think a lot of the hatred comes more from the fact that men consume images like this and file every image they see in their minds and it just adds to the frustration, sadness, inferiority complexes, insecurities, and the like that we have when the men in our lives continue to consume images of half-nude, nude, or sexually portrayed women. I personally love to see women who are fit and strong. It motivates me to continue to challenge myself to exercise more, eat healthier and do things so that I can be fit and strong as well. But why does our society insist on having almost every picture of women with her clothes off. It is so exhausting to see that everywhere you look and to be reminded where you are in the rankings of attractiveness. Most women I talk to are not frustrated at the women for being strong and beautiful, it’s for male business owners insisting that they must always be shown with their clothes off and for the men in our lives consuming this eye candy that is latched on to every single thing they look at.

tori - You make some great points!!!! thanks so much for the input! I also love pictures of strong and fit women as my inspiration. I just want them unairbrushed! 🙂 Great points!!!

guest - I just wanted to add that, I understand how Jenn and Tori have said that women need to stop comparing themselves to other women, but how many men do you know who have girlfriends or husbands and they make the women in their lives feel that other women are more attractive than them? Not even blatantly, but subtly. I think it is because of men’s reactions that women compare themselves to each other. I know a lot of women who feel like they are vying for their man’s attention from women all around them, even down to images in ads. Men have made it clear, and a lot of the stupid movies support it, what the features a woman must have to be on the “list of hottest women.” And even though pictures are not airbrushed….which i would rather have hands down over any airbrushed piece….why do women have to be nude. And why do they all have large breasts? I am all for fit and healthy, but you can’t deny that these pictures still feed into what society defines as “beautiful”. I also agree with Angela that there are still unnatural features in the unbrushed photos.

tori - I want women to try to be the best they can be BUT also embrace things about themselves. We don’t all have to have huge boobs. 🙂 I don’t! 🙂 I want women to be their natural selves in these magazines so that women across America notice the differences in bodies and embrace theirs. We don’t all have to be alike nor do we want to be!!

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