“I don’t want to have pictures of me changed in Photoshop! I just don’t want any changes. Period. I like them very much the way they are”. I know many people in fashion and movie industry. In that field the discussions on beauty and modern standards of it happen on everyday basis.
I totally understand the arguments of models, photographers and stylists who say that the camera loves thinness. Everything simply looks better on thin girls. The critical moment of each such conversation always takes place when it is joined by somebody who is nazi about thinness in the vein of Vodianova, that is, full of contempt for anyone above size 38 (with 36 being barely acceptable):
“If you eat like a pig, you feel like a pig.”
I always considered promoting a single type of figure unhealthy and hurtful, since biology does not subscribe to Marxism – we’re not all the same and we don’t consider the same things beautiful or ugly. Not everyone is able to accept the standards of the media (even if they wanted to) where even models feel too fat, too ugly and too imperfect. The standards of a world, where the only imperfect element is the human being.
My brain, similarly to brains of many women, KNOWS that we are different and that it is the personality and our values that form our attractiveness. We READ about accepting our bodies and that every one of us is beautiful.
Being a psychologist, I not only understand this but also know every possible reason testifying to the argument about our perfection, diversity and loving our differences being not only valid, but also healthier. And yet, similarly to many other women, sometimes I FEEL that even if I’m not fat, I’m definitely not slim enough.
For all my life I have struggled with the problem that my dream appearance and my real appearance don’t match, so working on accepting who I am and how I am has for many years been high on my list of priorities when it comes to personal development. That’s why when I met one of my friends, a photographer, I was very determined to express my opinion – what I wanted and what I needed.
– I don’t want to have pictures of me improved in Photoshop! Period. I like them very much the way they are. Just leave them like that
– These photos are not suitable without editing. First they have to be corrected and then you can use them
– But I don’t want it! I don’t want anyone to correct them! I like them the way they are! I like myself the way I am! I think the pictures you took are great and let’s leave them like that. Just respect my decision. Please!
After another 15 minutes of heated discussion (gently speaking) on the topic of my respect towards the photographer’s work and her respect towards my opinion, she asked me:
“So …You liked the pictures?”
“And you think you look good on them?”
“Yes, I think I look fine.”
“There you go! You’ve just proven me right, because… I shrunk your arms and waist. I enhanced your breast and balanced your complexion. That’s why you like them. I want to send them for editing so that even a professional won’t notice it.”
That statement was followed by a moment of silence… All the cells of my body froze and the whole of me stopped, maybe in order to hear and process correctly the new information that I heard: I saw myself on those pictures. I thought they were pretty and that I am pretty. And now it turned out that it wasn’t the real me. It was ME upgraded.
“See, there’s no point in your stubborn insistence that Photoshop is unnecessary. Everyone uses this tool and I don’t see why you shouldn’t. You deserve the best.
I heard that. I knew that there were good intentions behind it but I didn’t really feel that the thing that happened to me was that good. Without using big words: I felt very unpleasant, I felt disgusted and directly unaccepted by my own friend who always told me that I was beautiful and that there was no reason for me to be complaining about myself so much. So, she was lying all the time. She preached to me about acceptance and then corrected me at the very first opportunity. I reached for another glass of wine and said:
“It’s very sad that you had to corrrect me.”
“It’s not your fault. It was the dress that was bad. You don’t have thick arms, but they aren’t slim either and only slim ones look good on pictures. I wanted you to be perfect, so I made you perfect.”
The sad thing was that earlier I almost believed her that I AM perfect. She was telling me that for so many years that I finally started considering that it might be so.
What makes a person perfect is the situations that he or she experiences and the people he or she lives among.
Like we use to say in Izmałkowa Consulting: everybody lies. I thought that I wouldn’t be duped ever again. And yet, there I was…
You may not like yourself, you may be criticized by strangers, but when it’s someone you love and who loves you who considers you a deeply imperfect being, it is painful and unpleasant. Even when it regards things as shallow and insignificant as arms being slimmed down or complexion being smoothened.
It’s not that I have to be perfect for everyone, but I’d like to be perfect for those who are important to me. Another bar set too high, I guess…
To be continued (next week). Next time I’m going to tell how I went to a plastic surgeon and how he made me perfect…