For years now, advertisers and fashion magazines have airbrushed photos to turn models into the latest beauty ideal. Women and girls are constantly bombarded with these artificial images — fantasies they can’t possibly live up to in real life.
This Photoshopping of models and celebrities has really gotten out of hand lately. Self magazine felt the need to digitally slenderize singer Kelly Clarkson before putting her on the cover of its “total body confidence” issue, even though Clarkson has said that she is comfortable with herself just the way she is. Model Filippa Hamilton recently revealed that she was fired by Ralph Lauren for being too big, despite being a size four. Hamilton is the same model who appeared in a Ralph Lauren ad that was so aggressively retouched that she appeared emaciated and completely out of proportion.
If models can’t catch a break, how can the rest of us hope to have a healthy self-image? Starting at younger and younger ages, eating disorders, low self-esteem, and a preoccupation with appearance plague women and girls, sometimes with disastrous results. “In my teenage years, I was hospitalized for anorexia,” said eating disorder survivor and NOW Action Vice President Erin Matson. “I remember a fellow patient winning a modeling contest while she was on a pass from the hospital. The only way to end the glorification of unhealthy beauty stereotypes is to stand up proudly for real women’s bodies.”
That’s why the NOW Foundation is celebrating its 12th annual Love Your Body Day on Oct. 21. This campaign is a giant shout out to the fashion, beauty, diet and advertising industries: No more fake images! Show us real women, diverse women, strong women, bold women. And to the women and girls who are targeted by messages telling them that the key to success and happiness is manufactured beauty, we say: It’s okay to “Be You” — the true you is beautiful.
Many different kinds of Love Your Body events will be held across the country on Oct. 21. Contact the NOW Foundation to learn more.
Kelly Clarkson Photo Retouched to Make Her ‘Look Her Best’, Janet Mock Self Magazine