Airbrushed Model Photos Can Damage Your Body Image
They are in fashion magazines, on TV, in videos and nearly everywhere online. Models with seemingly perfect bodies — rail thin, tan, not a blemish in sight, no wrinkles and gorgeous looking. Body image is a big problem in America, especially with obesity running rampant across the country. Teens are especially vulnerable to this type of exposure, as they think they should look like the models they see everywhere they look, not realizing that even the models themselves don’t look the way they appear to the public.
Rarely does a model look the way she appears on the pages of a magazine or anywhere online. There are people who make a living making models look perfect to maximize the effect of advertising on a company’s targeted buyers. What comes across to many, aside from the fact that they could look like the model if they buy the advertised product, is that they should look like the model.
The truth is, though, that even the model doesn’t look like her picture. Few stop to think that airbrushed model photos are almost always edited to remove any unsightly bulges or blemishes. When a woman, or teen-aged girl, compares her own body to that of the airbrushed models they see, body image problems begin to emerge. And for someone with body image issues, eating disorders often follow.
After seeing these airbrushed beauties everywhere they look, women begin to feel they are too fat or too pale or not beautiful enough for the rest of the world to see. This kind of dissatisfaction with one’s own body can easily lead to problems with self-esteem, which can then cause anxiety or depression. Another approach that some women take is to try to keep up with the images they see.
Trying to emulate these airbrushed models often results in women getting eating disorders such as anorexia, particularly teens who are trying desperately to fit in with what they think is the norm. Some will just about starve themselves and never feel thin enough, while others go as far as having cosmetic surgery to fixed perceived flaws.
All of this influx of emulated beauty is contributing not just to poor body image, but also to feelings of low self-esteem and low self-worth as women consistently fail to achieve a look that is not even possible for the model they are trying to emulate.
Women need to be exposed to images that are healthy and attainable. People are not just the body they inhabit, but the more they are led to believe how important an outside image is, the more their inner beauty diminishes.
As the influence of mass media continues to grow, more and more images of airbrushed models are showing up — on bus stop kiosks, in movie trailers, on billboards and innumerable, and expanding, online venues — and more and more negative input is absorbed by those thinking that they don’t measure up if they don’t look like the models they admire. What you see in the mirror does not reflect your self-worth.
There needs to be a shift towards more positive thinking, about body image in particular. People need to speak out about the negativity that is being created as a result of the airbrushed photos of models. It is hard to stay away from the images, but there are ways to have an influence: stop patronizing companies that use airbrushed images, unfollow sites on social media or even sending a message directly to an advertiser expressing discontent with their practices are steps that anyone can take to bring healthy-looking role models into magazines, on TV and online.