And we wonder why women don't feel pretty

Over the weekend I got together with the Circle of Truth (made complete by one of Sakhmet's much-too-rare visits to Utah). It was a fabulous time, of course, hosted by Daltongirl & Family. We stayed up much too late and talked and laughed and got about as smashed as practicing Mormons can (three words: Kahlua chocolate fondue). Also we use lots of Jane Austen quotes without thinking about it, which I'm sure is not pretentious or off-putting at all.

I mentioned the Dove Real Women ad campaign, and the video they've produced, which Miss Hass so kindly brought to my attention.

I mean, it's not news to us that professional images get worked over. But it's really interesting to watch the process and to see how very far you get from the original. Murray spoke up here, and said that you can pretty much assume that whatever you're looking at has been doctored in some way. And he would know, because part of his job is to do the doctoring. In fact, he has had to spend time smoothing out the excess body hair of anorexic models. I didn't even realize this was a thing. It's called lanugo, which I always thought meant the body hair that babies are born with. But it turns out that anorexic women get it too, and it's their bodies' way of trying to insulate themselves because they don't have enough fat.

Of course we wanted to know why they're hiring anorexic models in the first place, and Murray said that's just the look that the photographers and art directors are going for. And if one company started hiring bigger models then people wouldn't think they looked right. (Murray, btw, is not the one doing the hiring. And he neither supports nor encourages eating disorders.)

But let's see what we've got, here. The women in our advertisements are so thin that they're actually growing full beards and chest hair. They are so unhealthy that people have to go in and digitally erase the evidence of how sick they are. And yet they won't get hired if they put on weight. And then the rest of us women look at them and feel bad about how fat we are.

Sometimes I think the world kind of deserves to just go up in flames.


Miss Hass said... [reply]

Rest assured, it will go up in flames. Just probably not soon enough.

Jenny said... [reply]

One thing that I think is bizarre is that they have body hair at all. I thought all models and people on tv etc were totally waxed.

Scully said... [reply]

And even when a healthy woman, say Kate Winslet or America Ferrera do get on the cover, they totally manipulate them. Check out the new Glamour cover w/ America Ferrera on it. They stretched her or something and instead of looking cute and curvy like she does on the red carpet, she looks flat. Which is just ridiculous. Also, a good friend of mine works for a talent agency in Utah and is 5'9" and a size 4. She gets lots of work in UT, but would be too short and too big to fit in the sample sizes to work in NY or LA or pretty much any other fasion hub. Crazy, no?

Science Teacher Mommy said... [reply]

I was watching a sitcom last night (which was probably my first mistake) and noticed that one of the main girls on the show didn't even look real. Her face looked wax. Granted they can't do as much doctoring on moving film, but this girl had plenty of "doctoring" before. She didn't even look 25, but you could tell she'd had a boob job, eyebrow lift, collagen injections, botox, the works. I guess she was pretty, but it was more like looking at a painting of what someone thinks the perfect woman looks like than what women actually look like.

I thought America Ferrera looked a little strange this month--scully's remarks totally explain that. The sad thing is that even the really beautiful actresses often buy into this also. Remember Nicole Kidman's ferocious red curls and furrowed brows from the Far and Away days? Now she is a sleek blond with waxy skin and a constant expression of surprise from the plucking.

Joe & Jeri said... [reply]

I saw this a while ago and thought "why do we even have models? if you're just going to create a new person, why not start from scratch? Your computer-generated "beauty" could be 52 pounds and you won't even have to pay for their rehab every few months."

My sister-in-law is 5'10" and a slender and striking size 8. She went to a modeling tryout and they told her she could only get plus-size work. 99% of the people I know would chop off, if not a hand, at least a few fingers to look like her and here these losers are telling her that she's plus-size. AND for those people that DO wear plus-sizes, how discouraging for them that they don't look like the size 8 person that's modeling it?

Our world is sick, sick, sick.

chosha said... [reply]

Kahlua? Colour me suprised. :)

That Dove presentation is interesting. What really startled me was not the make-up and air-brushing, but the actual feature shifts, like raising her browline and lengthening her neck. There are so many beautiful women in the world, yet they feel the need to manufacture fakes. Bizarre.

Kristeee said... [reply]

So, so sad. Go Dove and your campaign. I hope it catches on quickly.

Monday night on Dancing with the Stars we all learned that supermodel Josie Maran has absolutely no strength in her "gorgeous" body - she couldn't do a lot of moves because she has absolutely no muscle tone. She's a size 0 with these impossibly tiny arms and is a very pretty girl, but, in the words of my husband, she's not as pretty knowing that it's all a lie and she's that unhealthy.

BEFore said... [reply]

I've heard clothing (catwalk) models are even skinnier. Supposedly it's so that we (males especially?) won't be distracted from looking at the clothing by the ladies themselves.

Murray Terreno di Amore said... [reply]

I want to add that as long as I have done this work I have found the humor in the fact that, here I am deciding digitally how these models should be presented in an ideal fashion whilst I am busy eating Taco Bell for lunch.

I do worry about some cute chubby little girl that gets the wrong idea about society's projection of what beauty is or should be.

I am a whore to a shallow, shallow industry.

abby said... [reply]

The Onion has a funny commentary on this


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