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The standard of beauty that woman are presented every day gives them an unhealthy and unachievable goal to reach. The effects are devastating. These impossible standards need to be stopped and the modeling industry and the media need to promote a healthy body image along with the idea that women of all shapes and sizes are beautiful, not just women who are size 4 or smaller. “Looks don’t matter beauty is only skin deep”. We hear these phrases every day, however, we live in a day and age that seems to contradict this very idea. If looks don’t matter then why do industries and social media influencers use the airbrush to hide any flaws a may have?
The industries use of airbrushing is one of the biggest causes of the unachievable standards of beauty. A former editor of the magazine Cosmopolitan admitted that this is true. Lots of the wafer-thin models in cosmopolitan were actually struggling with eating disorders but you wouldn’t be able to tell due to the airbrushing used to make them look well. In an interview with the daily mail, the former Cosmopolitan editor (Leah Hardy) stated, “the models had 22-inch waists, but they also had breast and great skin. They had tiny ankles and ribbon-like thighs, but they still and voluptuous hair and plum cheeks. Thanks to retouching, our readers never saw the hungry downside of being skinny. The models’ skeleton-like bodies, dull, thinning hair, spots and dark circles under their eyes that were spoofed away by the magic touch of technology”.
By airbrushing these images of models, the media are giving young girls the idea that this body is achievable. By trying to look like these models, the young girls become just as unhealthy as the unedited models. Some companies and organizations have begun to take the needed steps to put ends to these impossible, unachievable standard. In 2004, Dove started their campaign for Real beauty, in which they feature women of all shapes and sizes in their advertisements where they don’t retouch the images. Dove also includes self-esteem toolkits and resources on their websites as part of their mission to help develop girls self-esteem from a young age, so they have the confidence to feel happy in themselves and reach their full potential.
H&M has also joined in the effort to promote a healthier and more realistic body image by using larger mannequins. While most mannequins are sizes 4 to 6. H&M mannequins are a size 12 which is the size of the average British women. This would seem like a step I the right direction, however, H&M has met worldwide debate as many feel that these mannequins encourage obesity and unhealthy lifestyles. One man commented on the article about the new mannequins saying, “Cover those fat women up. This is sick” Another stated that this is just an attempt to lower men’s expectations of an ideal mate and is encouraging “mediocrity, laziness, and self-indulgence”. These comments are exactly what’s wrong with today’s society, and are why things need to change.
While many young girls are aware that the photographs they see of celebs have been altered, they don’t realize the women they see in movies, music videos and TV shows have also been airbrushed. Even the former Disney star Demi Lovato pointed out in a tweet saying, is it just me or are the actresses getting thinner and thinner…I miss the days of That’s so Raven and Lizzie McGuire. She also tweeted out after a Disney show “Shake it up” made a joke about eating disorders. “Eating disorders are not something to joke about”. She mentioned the actresses Raven Symone and Hilary Duff. Lovato isn’t the only one to have this view.
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