Thursday, 22 March 2012

Why no woman (or man) should feel inadequate when they see a cover model

We're all human.  We all get bags under our eyes when we don't sleep enough, we all get cellulite in hard to conceal places, and we all eventually succumb to gravity.  The obsession with youth and resistance to what is a natural process (ageing) is a pervasive scourge in the minds of the human race.  The literally unrealistically perfect models we see in media campaigns further fuel this unhealthy view on ageing and of course drive the consumption of beauty and anti-ageing products.

Nevermind botox, human growth hormone or the Atkins diet - all you need is any old human, an SLR camera and an Apple with Adobe Photoshop installed to produce the perfect model to wear/represent your product.  Lack of good looks, ageing symptoms and even obesity are minor details.

Recently fashion label Helena Rubinstein ran a campaign headlined by Demi Moore.  Not to rub salt in her wounds, but the case of Demi Moore happens to be a perfect demonstration of what I'm trying to say.

This is how she will appear in magazines and billboards:

And at pretty much the same time that the above shoot was done, this is what she looks like when she's not in a photo studio:

These look like two different women, three decades apart in age.  Her skin tone, lines and contours have all been enhanced to the point of perfection.  If you look carefully you will also see her ears have even been moved closer to her eye-line.  Now I know she's going through a rough patch after her divorce with Ashton Kutcher so she isn't looking her absolute best; but with any amount of correct eating, exercise, sleep and even botox, could she ever look the way she does in the Rubinstein-enhanced image?

Like I said, I'm not picking on Demi Moore, but I just want to point out that the models you see on magazine covers, billboards and adverts are not real.  It's almost as if they use a real person just for the sake of using a human being.  People aren't quite ready for completely virtual non-human models as yet, so the fashion industry just ropes in the first big name actor, singer or sportsperson they can, applies Photoshop then produces the perfect specimen they wanted in the first place.  This whole practice is so unrealistic, so fake, that it would be foolish to look at these ridiculously enhanced modelling shots and see them as some yardstick of beauty...because the yardstick does not exist.

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