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August 24, 2013

How Photoshop Ruins Our Self-image. ~ Kai DuBose

Not unlike many women and men, I like to look nice.

I take pride in my appearance. I work out regularly (and practice yoga which has the added benefit of keeping me in shape).

However, like many, I have those areas I just wish were a little flatter, a little toner, a little—how can I say—just a better texture.

I love my body (okay, I am growing into loving all of my curves). I cannot help but notice that everywhere I look in the media, I see bodies that look fantastic. I see blogs with tips for washboard abs, I see posts for exercises for bottoms that look round like casaba melons. I have friends (male and female) who like and comment on photos on social media and I admit I look at them and say, “What the heck?”

I recently spent the week visiting the beach and saw nothing like what I saw in those pictures and posts flying all over the internet. This is not a piece on the weight epidemic in this country; this is a piece on our warped perception of our bodies.

Here are the five things I noticed while lounging at the beach and why I know Photoshop has us all f*cked up:

1. We are not all smooth like a baby’s bottom.

Okay, I will admit some of the bodies I saw on the beach had baby bottom smooth skin, and you know what? The bodies wearing the skin were all under 20; most were under 12. Photoshop has us all phukked up in the head thinking we are all supposed to be smooth and ripped bodies when unclothed.

2. To piggyback on number one, we have lumps, bumps and rolls, as my mother would say.

Some call them curves. I call them life. I look like a woman who has lived. I gave birth to four children. One was an emergency c-section, so to save my life, there was little attention to how low or long my incision would be (and I am thankful for that).

So the bodies on the beach or at the pool may have scars, puckers, ripples. If you are pregnant or recently (or not so recently had a child), you may have a linea negra, not the Photoshop crap we see—or should I say don’t see.

We never see a scar, or anything not picture perfect with the Photoshop media.

“Photoshop fail. Her stomach looks great, but her fingers look like they met the…thresher?” 

3. Being healthy and being thin are not the same and one is not necessarily nicer to look at than another.

If you have been to anyone’s beach you know you see more body types than you may be ready for. I know even the thinnest bodies on the beach do not look Photoshop fresh like the photos I see minute by minute online.

So again, I say Photoshop has made even the healthiest bodies no longer look normal to our Photoshop phukked up eye.

4. Most of us would look ‘Photoshop fresh’ if we were wearing the most flattering bathing suits, had optimal lighting and a hair and makeup team following us at all times.

Many times, I see beautiful men and women in unflattering swimsuits. It is hard to ignore the giant Angry Bird on someone’s ass and appreciate their toned legs. Maybe we should ease up on Photoshop and go after whoever thought putting an Angry Bird on your backside was a good idea.

5. Take a minute to look at photos before Photoshop even existed and see how f*cked up Photoshop really is.

I am a lover of photographs. I love to see photos of my friends, family and even strangers. I look at old photographs and see bodies in all shapes and sizes.

Really look at the pictures and notice belly bulges on very shapely and beautiful women. Dimples on the backs of thighs. The absence of perfectly sculpted bodies.

What I do notice is an abundance of style and life in those photos.

In this media-obsessed world we live in, we should be mindful of the images we view.

We each now have the ability to live and feel like a star, by photoshopping or only sharing those photos we deem show us as “physically ideal,” but what we are losing is the raw honest beauty our photos reveal about our lives.

 

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Asst. Ed.: Linda Jockers/Ed: Bryonie Wise

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Kai DuBose