Ninety percent of the time, I'm militant about my physical fitness and even more disciplined with my diet. I train with weights four times a week and throw in a few extra sessions of cardiovascular work on top of that. My girl likes to tell the story about how I brought a shitload of fish oil capsules and vitamins with me to the restaurant on our first date. Oh, and I was late because I was having one of the best workouts of my life and wasn’t willing to cut it short. Yes, I’m one of those guys. Call me a dork, but at least I'm a dork with a six-pack of abdominal muscles.
Which brings me to my point.
Yesterday my girl was looking at some pictures of me taken at the beach last summer. I was probably in the best physical condition of my life and she remarked that several of my pictures looked as if they’d been “photo-shopped”. Even though she knew they hadn't she loves to give me a hard time. That got me thinking. We live in an age where we’re constantly bombarded with images of so-called physical perfection. It's inescapable and no one is immune. Just leaving the house we’re assaulted by a ceaseless barrage of media selling us someone else's idea of beauty. Its sinister presence infects our society like a malevolent virus telling men, women, boys and girls alike that how they look isn't good enough. But there's one enormous problem with the message these pop-culture morons are peddling. When it comes to beauty, everything we've been taught to believe is an outright lie.
Before it even reaches your eyes, every image designed for your consumption has in some way been altered and tailored to meet your approval. The bottom line is every person you see on the silver screen or in the pages of a magazine has had their image transformed in order to cast them in the perfect light. In Hollywood, they use a shrewd combination of lighting, makeup and technical enhancements to make actors look their best. In magazines, virtually EVERY photograph has been altered and enhanced through the use of sophisticated computer software. Cellulite and blemishes are removed. Puffy eyes and wrinkles virtually eradicated. Pale skin that would make Casper the Ghost proud is suddenly and magically transformed into a golden bronze with the press of a button. And of course we can't forget the piece de résistance…a flabby ass miraculously re-shaped to perfection. All this can be yours with but a few deft swipes of the computer mouse.
Not only is technology used to enhance appearances, but actors and models often manipulate their diets before a scene or photo shoot in order to look their best. As someone who has done some fitness modeling, let me assure you there are all sorts of tricks you can use to drastically change the way you look in only a few days.
When we’re inundated repeatedly with unrealistic images of perfection, it's no wonder we’ve come to expect this is how we're supposed to look. How was I to know while jerking off as a youngster to the lingerie section of the J.C. Penney catalog that I was being conditioned to believe in a fabricated standard of beauty? All of us have been sold this bill of goods. Everyone. And because of this, my beautiful daughters will someday look in the mirror and may not like what they see.
I'm going on the offensive against these pop-culture pricks on my daughters' behalf. I'm going to do everything I can to expose these masters of fabrication for the misleading con-artists they are. I'll show my daughters videos like the one linked below so they see for themselves that even so-called beauty queens have their flaws.
Unless you see the before-and-after images, you have no idea how much work goes into creating the illusion we buy hook line and sinker. You’d never know it, but some of the most “beautiful” people in the world have cottage-cheese thighs riddled with stretch marks too. They get the occasional pimples and wake up with puffy eyes like most of us do. None of that matters. Their imperfections are masked by a group of cover-up artists who make the Nixon administration look like rank amateurs.
The bottom line is it doesn’t matter whether it’s Women’s Health, Cosmopolitan or the silver screen; the images you see don't reflect reality. Therefore it makes ZERO sense to create a standard of beauty based almost entirely on fabrication. Yet ironically, that’s exactly what we’ve done.
Make a point to show your impressionable loved ones pictures like those featured here as well as the video to the right of this paragraph. The more we expose the fallacy of a false standard of beauty, the deeper we drive a stake through the heart of the self-image problems that infest our society like a plague.
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