Daily, we are bombarded by the appearance of “flawless” celebrities in television, advertisements and commercials. Photoshop has made society believe that it is normal to be flawless and to have perfect proportions, and that’s not true. While the vast majority of images of women are being digitally altered, so are our perceptions of normal, healthy, beautiful and attainable.
Commercials and magazines don’t sell just products, they also sell values, images and concepts about love, sex and success. But most important, they sell an image of normality; they told us what it’s supposed to be normal and what we should be.
The constant publicity to which we are exposed every day shows sculptural and unreal bodies as a synonym of success, happiness and health. This socio-cultural pressure indoctrinates people about the benefits of the appearance and the “perfect body”. This way, the first thing we learn from commercial campaigns is the ideal of feminine beauty. Women learn that they have to invest a lot of time, energy and money in order to reach this ideal and feel ashamed if they cannot. However, it is impossible, as the beauty we learn as normal is based on perfection; women in commercials don’t have wrinkles, expression lines, scars or grains. In fact, they don’t have even pores (Lavanguardia, 2016).
Of course, an image of a perfect male body is sold to men too (mainly the obsession of having big muscles), but it seems to me that all this issue is bigger around women, because they are subjected to more social pressure than men in this aspect.
This video shows the whole process to which a model is submitted; makeup, hairstyle, and finally, Photoshop. The comparison between before the process and after it is just ridiculous, it doesn’t look the same person.
Then, this false perception of a perfect body, which is unreal and inaccessible, is the framework of reference for a lot of women, what produces unhappiness to them (Salazar, 2007). The will of reaching that level of unreal “perfection” can provoke that some women try to make plastic surgeries in order to be similar to that people. For example, In Singapore, the latest craze is for the Western nose. In Eastern Europe, thin has become a requisite for the Young wishing to enter a global culture. In South Korea, 50 percent of teenage girls have the double eyelid slit operation to Westernise the look of the eyelid (Orbrach, 2011). So cosmetic surgery has become a significant industry. As well, the obsession of trying to look exactly as the celebrities in the magazines can trigger eating disorders and diseases as bulimia or anorexia.
In conclusion, all of us are being manipulated to interiorize a stereotype of beauty that actually doesn’t exist, so we must be careful and aware of it because it can create unhappiness and dissatisfaction with our own bodies.
News articles referenced
¿Realidad o ficción? El negocio del Photoshop en las revistas de moda (2016). La vanguardia. Available at: http://www.lavanguardia.com/de-moda/moda/20160229/4098805276/escandalos-photoshop-revistas-moda.html
Orbach, S. (2011). Losing Bodies. Social Research, 78(2), 387-394. Retrieved from http://www.jstor.org/stable/23347182
Salazar Mora, Z. (2007). Imagen corporal femenina y publicidad en revistas. Revista de Ciencias Sociales (vol. II, núm. 116, pp. 71-85.) Retrieved from http://www.redalyc.org/pdf/153/15311605.pdf