Sunday, March 4, 2012

Welcome Colleen Green! Colleen Guest Posts on The Unreality of Beauty Images

I am happy to host Colleen Green today who has had experience working in the advertising industry. It is an industry which creates needs you did not know you had to sell products you don't really want but feel too guilty not to have. One of the greatest needs they create is to have flawless beauty. Once that need is seared into your soul, it is up to you to pursue it. Many do and that is why the fashion industry, the weight loss industry, the medical surgical industry and the fitness industry will help you transform yourself from an ugly duckling into a swan for a SMALL FORTUNE. Ladies, beauty will guarantee you happiness forever, Cinderella. And men?  It will guarantee you a sex partner who will do what you want and be what you want, eye candy and status symbol and sex object all rolled into one to blow up your male ego even more. Let's face it guys, if you are a man of power, would you be caught dead with an overweight/obese blowsy partner, even if she is as rich as Creses? Well now. On that note, what Colleen Green can share with us from her experiences is certainly riding  a wind stream of truth and provides a breath of fresh air in a culture awash with the pollution of unreal beauty images.


When we compare our own beauty to flawless models in advertisements, we run the risk of lowering our self esteem. This is not the advertiser’s intention. They want us to buy their products to boost our confidence. Sales are their primary objective. If you think their product will help you look sexier, thinner or prettier, then they’ve done their job. We have a job to do too, one of keeping our self-assurance intact. 

Pamela Anderson before and after
That's why it is important to keep in mind that the pictures you see in advertisements are not reality. We are constantly flooded with photos and videos of flawless women. Though we age, the advertisers keep using young models and retouched photos as our dissolved youth becomes a remembrance. Our faces wrinkle; our bodies change. Keeping our shape becomes a constant battle of working out and trying to avoid the fattening foods around us. To keep our beauty from fading we buy products that we hope deliver on the promises of restoration via lotions and makeup. Amidst our aging ungracefully, models and actors seem to stay forever perfect and young. 

To compare yourself to any retouched photo, commercial, magazine not in your best interest. It is an unfair contest. Starting with the photo shoot and ending with the retouched images, there are many steps that take a girl from pretty to drop dead gorgeous. Keep this in the back of your mind as you see those models! I’ll start with the printing side and then go back to the final photo to shake up your assumption that their beauty is real, easily maintained and instantly achieved. It's not. In most instances it doesn't even exist.

I’ve worked in the print industry since 1997. I have a bachelor’s degree in Science in Technology from Bowling Green State University. The nature of the industry I will focus on will be the advertising that would be displayed in stores for clothing and lingerie. The majority of models used would be women with some men included. Some clients target the younger crowd from early teens to the 20’s age range. I have seen older models. I’ve only seen retouching of images with women. The program Photoshop is used to retouch digital images. It has various tools used to delete, clone, change color, and add pixels (tiny squares which make up an image).

Color work is a term used to describe altering an image to suit the client’s needs. The typical touch ups with images range from changing the appearance of clothes to changing the appearance of women’s bodies and hair. Teenage girl models are usually thin. Yet the client can mark the proof up requesting that their stomachs be trimmed to make them thinner. Adult women in lingerie ads have flaws taken out such as any signs of fat. Even shaving off a little fat, makes them have more curves. Wrinkles can be removed. Hair can be smoothed out and more hair can be added.  The client will review the proof from a printer or files on a screen and come up with alterations to be made. Their job is to insure that the final image looks perfect. Once the changes are made the client reviews the pictures again until they are approved. 

Professional photo shoots have many techniques to achieve perfection. Years ago I went to modeling school. We had to have our head shots and pictures taken. A photo shoot session with a photographer was scheduled. First my makeup was applied for me. Personally, I feel that when a professional applies my makeup it always looks nicer than when I do it. For example, when I have a makeover at the mall, the girl who applies my makeup has more brushes, makeup, sponges, and methods of applying the makeup than I do. The end result is a more polished look than I achieve on my own. The makeup artist who applied the makeup for the photo shoot also gave me the polished look. They styled my hair in a few different ways for a variety of pictures. The photographer used a hand-held light meter to measure how much light was falling on me so they could adjust the lights in the room to reflect me in the most flattering way. 

I’ve also searched on the internet for photo shoot videos and watched some. Models have their hair professionally styled. When the pictures are taken an assistant uses a blow dryer to blow their hair back. It appears as if the wind is blowing through their hair at just the right speed. Not hard enough to mess it up, just light enough to make it blow back in a sexy way.

So you see how unfair it is to yourself to take the reality of your beauty and compare it to all of what it takes to photograph one lovely image that is a complete fantasy? Businesses are trying to sell you on the idea that their products will make you become that image of perfection. They have every right to have their brand use top notch photography, models, image retouching and many other means to achieve flawlessness. We have a duty to ourselves and our self esteem to know that reality and media are as different as day and night.

Realize that you, too, are beautiful, for in every stage of your life, you are unique. It is what is unique in and about you that is Beauty.
Click here for some celebrity photo retouches gone wrong.


Margo Dill said...

We've heard this over and over again, and we still compare ourselves to these ladies. WHY? Even when they appear on talk shows, etc, they've had professional hair and make-up done. But it's still hard--especially when you are at home with a baby and covered in spit up and changing dirty diapers to remember the model you see in your magazine had touch-ups. :) Thank you for this post and your wisdom.

Carole Di Tosti said...

Thanks, Margo. Appreciate it and so will Colleen.

Amberr Meadows said...

This was an awesome post. We really should love the skin we are in, because nobody is ever as beautiful as photoshop can make us. We are just right, regardless of how we're made.

Carole Di Tosti said...

Thanks for that Amberr. It is completely true and we all know it. But somehow, it has been easy for me to fall prey to this kind of garbage. I do think that it is getting better. There are some very overweight fit models that Hollywood would classify as obese. And they get paid a lot of maybe...we won't all have to look like stick insects as the paradigm shifts...not that we do now...

Maia Dobson said...

It's really difficult to fathom why some celebrities have too much Los Angeles plastic surgery procedures. I think they're already beautiful and they only make it over the top by getting too much cosmetic surgeries to the point that they already look bad in the end.

daniellaprice30 said...

Everyone wants to look perfect. I have to admit that I wanted to have a perfect nose too so I had a rhinoplasty in New York. It really emphasized my beauty more and I don't regret doing it.

Sharon said...

Hollywood celebrities need to look good all the time since beauty is their source of livelihood. I am not against people who keep on undergoing plastic surgeries just to keep them beautiful all the time. For as long as they have the money to do such procedure, then go for it. They just have to remember that there is always a consequence.

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