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Monday, August 9, 2010

An airbrushed blogosphere?


Something that's been heavy on my mind lately is this: I've read in multiple places online lately that many girls are intimidated by photos of bloggers and begin to feel they are "less than" in comparison. No longer are we as women just comparing ourselves to the airbrushed models in magazines; now we are looking to bloggers!! It seems that some of us can get so caught up in wishing we looked like those girls to the point where we stop getting anything out of their content. 

Something you need to keep in mind - people do not generally post unflattering pictures of themselves. I've even tried not to. We all want to present our best to the world whether we consciously think about it or not. No one looks great in every single picture that gets taken of them, so people tend to weed out the bad and only show the good to the world. Also, I'd be willing to bet that almost all the photos that make it into the blogosphere are edited in some way. You can change lighting, coloring, hair color, etc. if you're even a little bit computer savvy or even just have an iPhone...you can smooth out your skin...you can even make yourself look thinner. This can create just as much of an artificial view of beauty to readers as magazine models. People joke, "I read it on the internet, so it must be true!" Well, you need to take photos with a grain of salt as well. And even if the girl in the photo really is that skinny in real life, who knows what she puts herself through to maintain it...it may or may not be a healthy lifestyle, though I don't dare speculate that all skinny girls have a problem. Some gals are naturally skinny no matter what they do, and even if you're not, big deal...it doesn't mean anything is wrong with you. Sure, I love to edit photos on my iPhone and even posted a review of our favorite photo apps to help you look your best. I think, though, that you have to know where to draw the line between perception and reality.

I read in a tabloid that Jessica Biel has worked out for 5 hours a day at times and that Amanda Seyfried has been known to eat only spinach and seeds all day to compensate for her "slow metabolism." Now, who even knows if the magazine was truthful or not. But anyone caught up in that kind of thing is NOT really living. If you let comparing yourself to other women drive you to that kind of point where you're over-exercising and under-eating, there's a serious problem there. You think you're trying to whittle away your body, when actually, it's your life, your happiness, and your health that are whittling away.

I think probably all women play the comparison game. You might not even realize you're doing it. But while you're out running errands, you might be subconsciously stacking yourself up to every other woman you pass by. "Am I as pretty or thin as she is?" "She looks more successful than I do." "I wish I could pull that off." Sound familiar? 

Take blogs at face value, girlies. If you get too consumed with the comparison game while perusing the blogosphere and it's affecting how you feel about yourself, I say stop looking at the ones that bother you. (Hopefully, that doesn't mean ours, though as a closet narcissist, I suppose I should be assuming ours would fit the bill - har har har!) When I was a teenager, I'd pore over Seventeen magazine and wish I looked like those models; at some point, it became a problem because I couldn't stop wishing I were different. And not in the good sort of way where something spurs you to be healthier or make reasonable improvements to your appearance. In the bad way where you don't feel comfortable in your own skin and feel self-conscious about every little thing because you don't look like someone else. So I stopped subscribing. I stopped looking at them. Remember how I said in a recent entry that not wearing makeup in front of people is really all a matter of what you're used to seeing, and once you're used to how you look without it, you realize it's not bad? Same principle applies. If looking at pictures causes you a problem, stop looking at them, and your perception will change as you get readjusted to how you look. Once you start focusing more on what is real and what is important, maybe you'll find your perception of yourself is changing...and you'll realize you don't have to look like someone else; you can just be happy looking like YOU. Magazines tend to talk out of both sides of their mouths anyway; one page says, "Look at the extreme measures these stars go to lose weight!" and "So-and-so should stop tanning because she'll age too fast!" - and then you turn the page and see, "So-and-so, what happened to your tan?" and "Get slim quick with these tips!"

We'll leave you with a no-makeup pic of KameraWhore since I've posted a couple already in the past. And many of you may have seen this already, but Dove made a short film a while back called "Evolution" that shows the transformation a model goes through for a photoshoot and then all the computer editing that follows...and we'll close with that as well.

There's certainly nothing wrong with trying to look your best!! We do it, and we love it! But there's also a fine line of when it becomes detrimental to your self-esteem. 

I say, ASSUME you are awesome, and eventually you'll believe it! Because, after all, it's true! :)

Do you compare yourself or even feel bad about yourself after seeing bloggers' pics?


(This version of the video is actually in rewind, which I think is kinda cool.)

8 comments:

Pixie Drive-In said...

Great post! I used to do this a lot with the bloggers I follow, not so much with how they look in terms of body type, but more with their clothes. I always thought how creative they are, and wishing I was the same. Then, through blogging myself, I realized I'd rather look like me. It's so self-destructive, and not worth it to compare yourself to people you don't even really know!

ambrosia said...

there is def picture pressure out there! i myself have shied away from posting many a horrible pics, because i just couldnt do that to myself with all the great, i just got done with a photo shoot, pics out there.
thank you for this refresher! and just a little note of forewarning: watch out for more horribly taken pics posted by me, hahaha!

ambrosia said...

btw, a little add on to the above comment:

rockzaiajewelry.blogspot

thanks!!

Nicki said...

Another awesome post. Sometimes I do catch myself envying other bloggers of their figures, or looks, or style, etc etc. But I do my best to remind myself that everyone has insecurities, even seemingly flawless people, and that no one is perfect. Sure, it's a cliché, but it's also true. And I've definitely been guilty of the weeding out of less-than-flattering pictures, so I assume other bloggers are also guilty!

Serena said...

I used to feel this way but over the past year or so I've really learned to love my appearance. I'm starting to embrace the things I used to hate. I also realized that facial features I hated about myself, other people liked. (My full lips and pale skin) Now I'm happy with the way I look and I wouldn't want to change.

Of course its natural to post only the most flattering photos of yourself...What people need to realize is that everyone has something they don't love about themselves, everyone has insecurities, everyone has off days. Nobody's perfect!

Jenarcissist said...

These are some great responses, y'all...and I'm glad to hear that you're all doing your best not to let that kinda stuff get to you too bad and also that you can admit where you're vulnerable...because I think everyone is. It's very validating to know others relate to us!

Serena, I'm right there with you on the pale skin and full lips, and you totally SHOULD be proud of the way you look and embrace it! :)

And you're all right that it's only normal to try and post better pics of ourselves...but I think it can also be kinda fun and refreshing to post the "real" ones now and then, where you don't go too out of your way to capture just the right angle and edit everything...it's a hard habit to break, though, I will admit!!

Jenarcissist said...

I read a related post on Doe Deere Blogazine today and thought I'd post the comment I left here as well. :) Her post is at http://www.doedeereblogazine.com/articles/photoshop-cheating-or-art.

*****

This is actually something we touched on in our blog recently as well (http://thenarcissistsdiary.blogspot.com/2010/08/airbrushed-blogosphere.html) – I can see all sides, and I think what it really comes down to is balance. I definitely think we need to be sensitive to the girls out there who struggle with their self-esteem (because we’ve ALL been there) and try to portray a mostly accurate image, but I don’t think we need to change the world of advertising altogether…because at some point, you have to take responsibility for your own sense of self-worth and not blame it on advertising. I don’t know if I was clear enough in my blog post that I don’t feel it is “wrong” to Photoshop pictures *to a certain extent.* I’m also a graphic designer, and photo manipulation is one of my favorite things to do ever – it’s fun!! Photoshopping could be compared to wearing makeup…it’s true that wearing makeup might not present a reflection of what we “really” look like, but that doesn’t make it bad, any more than it’s bad to color your hair, whiten your teeth, or pose in a more flattering angle. All those things enhance how we already look, just as a bit of editing does. Wearing makeup is fun and a form of self-expression that I wouldn’t give up for ANYthing!!! It’s natural to want to enhance your look, and it can make you feel better about yourself…what matters most is if you are capable of recognizing your awesomeness even without those things. It’s so important to learn how to feel good about ourselves independently of what others think or look like and be strong enough to realize that a lot of photos are edited and not let it get to us. Be inspired by others’ beauty, not hindered by it. Sure, it’s easier said than done, especially when you’re a teenager – God, I remember it clearly and wouldn’t go back for anything – but it’s something to strive for and typically something that gets easier as you get older.

We’ve all seen photos of ourselves where the angle seemed a little weird and we thought, “I don’t really look like that!” As a couple others mentioned already, even straight, unedited photos aren’t always 100% accurate reflections of reality. I try to post some edited pics and some unedited as well, and I’m also perfectly capable of posting no-makeup pics, to keep things “real,” for lack of a better word. I’ve also seen enough non-edited, no-makeup photos of you to know that your edited ones don’t portray a false image. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve instructed my fiancĂ© to “hold the camera up a little bit higher and make it portrait rather than landscape!” lol It does bother me when a mascara brand blatantly uses false lashes in their ads (as they ALL seem to do, even though I think a couple companies have been sued over it), and if it’s something like a magazine cover where they’ve completely altered the woman’s appearance to the point of lengthening her arms/legs and elongating her neck and all that kind of stuff to where she’s no longer anything like a real person. But I can attest – because I own all of your lipsticks and some eyeshadows – that the colors shown on your site are completely true to life, and that’s all that matters to me when selling something. Some enhancing is part of advertising, and I don’t feel it’s dishonest in the slightest as long as it’s not taken to the extreme. People just aren’t going to buy products shown in crappy pictures…it gives them very little to aspire to.

The sheer fact that you have confidence in the way you look has gone a long way in increasing mine. There is nothing wrong with liking the way you look…which is sort of how our blog was created. :) I hope your readers will be inspired by your confidence rather than judge you for it.

Jenarcissist said...

Sorry to anyone who's subscribing to comments by email...it kept giving me error messages and saying my comment wasn't posting, so I kept trying, only to find out they ALL posted. ;)

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