A Perfectly Destroyed World

A Perfectly Destroyed World

The effects Photoshop in the media has on self image.
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Photoshop is everywhere. If you see a picture in the media, chances are it has been digitally enhanced in some form or another. Most people’s general understanding of photoshop is that it is used by photographers and can fix issues with lighting and color. What they are not aware of however, is how many people actually use photoshop, and the extent to which they can use it.

Some of the common professions that work with post processing programs alongside photographers include web designers, graphic designers, advertisers, magazine editors, modeling agencies, book cover editors... The list goes on and on. We see it used on magazine covers, in articles, on billboards, on TV, in websites, and just about everywhere in social media. It portrays the media’s idea of “average”, while simultaneously setting standards for ideal thinness and beauty. We are told these bodies portrayed through digital manipulation are “real people”, and we should aspire to look just like them.

What do these “real people” actually look like however? That would take hours of pressing an undo button in photoshop to discover. The picture we are given shows all types of alterations, including but not limited to, slimmed down thighs, shrunken waists, limbs that have been stretched out to look more lengthy, lightened skin tones, and any traces of acne, scars, bruises, cellulite, birthmarks, or “imperfection” has been removed. Along with all of this enhancement, body parts are often replaced with those of another person, with the end product resulting in an almost unrecognizable person. Over time as photoshop programs have gradually evolved and become more available, the use of digital enhancement on images shown in the media has grown to a much greater extent.

Okay, so what? What's wrong with using a brush to make someone look a little skinnier or clear up their face of acne? Why is this an issue? Because it's not just “making someone look a little skinnier.” It’s setting a standard for beauty and ideal bodies that is simply unrealistic. These images of people are put into the media for society to look up to as role models. When the average American views an image in the media of a flawless model, they compare themselves to that model, scrutinizing every part of their own body. And what do they see? Every little thing wrong with himself that the media has now deemed as a “flaw.” This potentially leads to a negative self image, no matter how confident that person is with himself. This is especially prominent in females, who are under the constant pressure to look like models in the media. Even in ads that promote being healthy and working out to achieve the look you want, models are photoshopped to look more toned and muscular. While this is more of an issue with females than males, men are still victims of the editor’s eye.

The average American stumbles upon over 3,000 advertisements every day, with images of idealized female beauty at the center of many of these. Failure to live up to these perfected expectations is inevitable, because these images are based on a level of flawlessness that does not exist. Studies have shown that young women and girls who are exposed to beauty and fashion magazines are at greater risk of developing body image issues or worse, full-blown eating disorders. Depression and eating disorders have been proven to be directly linked to society’s exposure to the way people are portrayed in the media. And the age at which society starts to develop body image issues has increasingly gotten younger and younger. In a paper written at the University of Sussex, it was said that in a survey of over 500 adolescent girls aged 9-16, nearly 70% believed magazine pictures influenced their idea of the ideal body shape, and 47% of the same girls wished to lose weight as a result of this. These alarming statistics show a direct correlation between what we are shown by the media, and how we view ourselves. Yet nothing is being done about it.

By providing these artificial illustrations of flawless models, society is taught to fear even the smallest of imperfection on their body. The retouching of images is essentially never disclosed to the end viewer, and as a result we are led to believe that this is what the models actually look like. Surveys have shown that most people do recognize the fact that images in the media have been photoshopped, yet the same surveys continued on to show that even with this knowledge, people compare themselves against the images, and have a negative view towards themselves after viewing the images. Exposing society to these “ideal” people has a negative impact on body satisfaction, whether we would like to admit it or not.

In a video published in 2012, on “body evolution”, society was given a glimpse at just how ‘real’ the final product of the model looks. The video took form of a time lapse, showing the process of photoshoot-photoshop. The world watched as the model was transformed in photoshop, with tools altering her entire body shape, facial features, and skin tone. The final product? An airbrushed, stretched out person.. Literally. The video went viral, and the public was in an uproar. Yet even after that, the media continued to use the same amount of photoshop they always had, and the public went on with their daily lives.

So what can we do about this? Obviously the use of photoshop can not be stopped in its entirety, so how do we separate fantasy from reality? By educating the population on this ongoing issue, through social media, campaigns, presentations, etc. Dove started a “Movement for self esteem”, blasting the media with all kinds of videos, pictures, commercials, and ads that featured people showing their real selves and what they thought. Aerie started putting girls on their bags, with “This girl has not been photoshopped” to show that they swore off the use of photoshop in their promotion. And all sorts of hashtags have blasted social media over the years, such as #ImNoAngel, #Fitkini, and #BodyPosi to promote self love. The NOW Foundation (National Organization for Women Foundation) started a “Love your body Day”, which “challenges the message that a woman’s value is best measured through her willingness and ability to embody current beauty standards.” The media needs to put out more disclaimers about images that have been photoshopped, and start promoting healthier looking models. We need a wider definition of beauty, not one that has been slimmed down and airbrushed.

While beauty may be in the eye of the beholder, for now, it is in the eye of the photoshopper.


Cover Image Credit: stuffpoint.com

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8 Reasons Why My Dad Is the Most Important Man In My Life

Forever my number one guy.
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Growing up, there's been one consistent man I can always count on, my father. In any aspect of my life, my dad has always been there, showing me unconditional love and respect every day. No matter what, I know that my dad will always be the most important man in my life for many reasons.

1. He has always been there.

Literally. From the day I was born until today, I have never not been able to count on my dad to be there for me, uplift me and be the best dad he can be.

2. He learned to adapt and suffer through girly trends to make me happy.

I'm sure when my dad was younger and pictured his future, he didn't think about the Barbie pretend pageants, dressing up as a princess, perfecting my pigtails and enduring other countless girly events. My dad never turned me down when I wanted to play a game, no matter what and was always willing to help me pick out cute outfits and do my hair before preschool.

3. He sends the cutest texts.

Random text messages since I have gotten my own cell phone have always come my way from my dad. Those randoms "I love you so much" and "I am so proud of you" never fail to make me smile, and I can always count on my dad for an adorable text message when I'm feeling down.

4. He taught me how to be brave.

When I needed to learn how to swim, he threw me in the pool. When I needed to learn how to ride a bike, he went alongside me and made sure I didn't fall too badly. When I needed to learn how to drive, he was there next to me, making sure I didn't crash.

5. He encourages me to best the best I can be.

My dad sees the best in me, no matter how much I fail. He's always there to support me and turn my failures into successes. He can sit on the phone with me for hours, talking future career stuff and listening to me lay out my future plans and goals. He wants the absolute best for me, and no is never an option, he is always willing to do whatever it takes to get me where I need to be.

6. He gets sentimental way too often, but it's cute.

Whether you're sitting down at the kitchen table, reminiscing about your childhood, or that one song comes on that your dad insists you will dance to together on your wedding day, your dad's emotions often come out in the cutest possible way, forever reminding you how loved you are.


7. He supports you, emotionally and financially.

Need to vent about a guy in your life that isn't treating you well? My dad is there. Need some extra cash to help fund spring break? He's there for that, too.

8. He shows me how I should be treated.

Yes, my dad treats me like a princess, and I don't expect every guy I meet to wait on me hand and foot, but I do expect respect, and that's exactly what my dad showed I deserve. From the way he loves, admires, and respects me, he shows me that there are guys out there who will one day come along and treat me like that. My dad always advises me to not put up with less than I deserve and assures me that the right guy will come along one day.

For these reasons and more, my dad will forever be my No. 1 man. I love you!

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12 Tips Before Getting Your First Eyelash Extensions

I know you are in the middle of making your appointment, but here are a few pointers.

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If you are like me, you are super hesitant about trying new things in the beauty realm. I have finally tried lash extensions and can easily say I am obsessed. 10/10 recommend! If you are considering getting yours done, here are a few pointers!

1. Shower before your appointment.

This seems logical, but I wasn't aware. Luckily, I did shower before my appointment and wasn't shocked when my lash tech said, "don't get them wet for 24 hours."

2. Not all extensions are over the top. There are lash extensions for EVERYONE. 

I was super worried my lashes were going to be crazy over the top and I would look crazy during my runs. I asked my lash tech and she gave me a set of natural lashes. You get to pick the style of lashes you want! You can get them for fuller volume or just a natural look. There is a style of lashes for everyone!

3. Yes, they are SO much better than mascara and strip lashes.

I was already a firm hater of mascara, so lash extensions didn't have to work hard to win me over. As for strip lashes, I use to love putting them on for a night out or date night. It seemed as if a makeup look was not complete without them. Now, I wear less makeup on a night out because I feel as if my lashes really just pull the simplest of looks together.

4. Not all lash techs will charge you an arm and a leg.

One of my favorite nail salons offers lash extensions, STARTING at $100. Luckily, if you live near a college campus, the chances are high that a student is certified to do them and charges well under $100. I get mine done for $60 and leave happy with the work done every time.

5. You can go bare-faced and still feel flawless.

I have never woken up and felt so gorgeous right after stumbling out of bed. Lash extensions really give you an extra boost of confidence in feeling like you don't even want to bother with putting on makeup for the day.

6. You will need to wash your face in the sink, not the shower. 

You can get your lashes wet, but water coming forcefully out of a showerhead directly onto your lashes is not good for them. Makeup wipes and a careful face cleaning in the sink will take care of all your facial needs while avoiding causing damage to your lashes. I still use face masks when I have mine done!

7. Check the ingredients in your makeup removing products. 

To remove makeup, I LOVE using coconut oil. If you have lash extensions you should NOT use coconut oil. In fact, when your down to the last few lashes and are ready for them to come off, use coconut oil on a cotton ball and gently rub it along your lash line. Certain oils breakdown the glue used for lash extensions, so be aware of them before using them on your eye makeup.

8. Some people will truly believe they are your natural lashes. 

Here are some responses for their inquiries:

"I wish."

"Lash extensions, 10/10 recommend."

"I woke up like this."

9. You will need to sleep pretty. 

I have a tendency to sleep on my face. A tendency which I soon broke after getting lash extensions. You will have to learn to stay on your side or lay on your back so you don't rub all of your extensions out in the night.

WARNING: Be extra cautious on a night out where adult beverages were consumed. Ruining your lashes by drunkenly rubbing or sleeping on your face may cause heavy lash-loss.

10. They last about two to three weeks.

I have found that mine stay in pretty thick up until about 2.5 weeks. If you are careful, they could definitely still look flawless pushing week three.

11. They aren't damaging to your real lashes.

As long as you go to a licensed lash tech and aren't rubbing your face or pulling your lashes out, your natural lashes are safe and sound!

12. Once you get them done, you'll be going back for more.

It's not an addiction. And if it is, I don't think there is an issue to being addicted to feeling great about your lashes!

Making your lash appointment now? I figured.

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