Photoshopped Reality

What I am about to tell you may come to you as common knowledge or a shock to you:

Everything you see in magazines, posters, advertisements is all photoshopped.

Yes, every damn magazine, poster, and advertisement has some sort of digital retouching applied to it. There is not one magazine cover which is not altered to make a person look more appealing by smoothing out their skin, cloning out their facial imperfections, and even by altering the structure of their face or body. Remember the last time you opened up a Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition and wondered how the skin of the models were so silky smooth and their breasts so perfectly round and perfect?

All hail Adobe® Photoshop®.

We all live in a photoshopped reality. We can’t really believe anything in our every-day lives to be “real” anymore. Whenever you see advertisements, they are always full of young, attractive, and beautiful people. When we are constantly bombarded with these images, we can’t help but think that is what the “ideal” person should look like. The reason why the multi-billion dollar diet and exercise industry thrive is because there are millions of people out there striving to look like Brad Pitt or Angelia Jolie, thinking that they are the epitome of “beauty.” People often get depressed when they grow older, as our society worships youth while shunning away anything that deviates from it. Women are starving themselves to death to lose a few inches around the waist, and men are injecting themselves with steroids to add a few inches to their biceps.

Our society is more depressed and self-loathing than ever in their quest to reach “perfection.” Regardless of how hard we might try, we can’t all have those size C-breasts or that 6-pack we all desire. Everybody is born with a different body type, with some people naturally taller, while others smaller. Others are more adept in gaining weight, while others cannot put on a pound even if they tried. In an attempt to make up for these physical inequities, we are even starting to “photoshop” our own bodies through plastic surgery, tummy tucks, botox, lipsuction, and countless other procedures to strive to be young and “beautiful” for as long as we can.

The field of cosmetic surgery is an industry which is exponentially increasing. This is not any more prevalent than in one of the cosmetic-surgery capitals of the world, Korea. Certain procedures that alter the eyes, the nose, the lips, or even the structure of the face are considered commonplace and normal in Korea. In a culture which has a huge sense of celebrity worship, people are always striving to have the same flawless and dainty features of the people they see on television. It may come to some people as a shock that when applying for jobs, you must attach your photo to your resume, to show your potential employers how you look physically. In America, this is unheard of, because employers are not supposed to discriminate their employees based on appearance, sex, or ethnicity. Although the same is supposedly true in Korea, you are much more likely to be hired if attractive and youthful-looking.

Is beauty universal or depends on what time and place you are? If people think that skinny and fit people are “naturally” more attractive than fat people, they are hugely mistaken. In the eighteenth century, having a larger waist-line was a sign of prosperity, as you had the means to feed yourself in order to gain weight, while poor people could barely put enough food on the table to get by. Although it is attractive to have a tan in America, it is much more attractive to be pale in Asia, because it is a sign that you don’t have to work outside doing menial-work where people get the most tan. Although Americans believe the huge-macho guy to be the ideal shape for a man, Koreas find more effeminate looking men to be more attractive.

So how can we come to ends with the disappointment of our physical appearances? How can we ever live with ourselves without being able to fit into those skinny jeans or be buff enough to walk on the beach with our shirts off? Well, we first should realize that everything that we see is indeed photoshopped, and that these people are not a true depiction of what “real” people look like. “Real people” have flaws such as having small eyes, crooked noses, dainty lips, large faces, wide waists, and are short in height. Although there are people out there who are more attractive than us, we cannot truly live life until we are satisfied with how we look.

Like Kanye West said, “The people highest up have the lowest self-esteem.” Even those supermodels that you see on the runway suffer from bulimia, anorexia, and depression by feeling that even they (the “epitome of beauty”) are still not good enough. Even the hugest bodybuilders always have a burning desire to get even bigger and stronger than those around them, often turning into more monsters than humans in the process.

So be happy for who you are. Don’t let magazines or the media tell you otherwise. But damn my arms are looking tiny, time to do some pushups.

*Some links to check out:

http://www.glennferon.com/portfolio1/portfolio09.html

*Update: Link sent to me by my friend Phill: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=knEIM16NuPg