"I want to be a Victoria's Secret Model when I grow up, but they are skinny and too beautiful." (Insert the sad face of a 10 year old.)
That is what a little girl (going into the 5th grade) said to her mother (a friend of mine) this past weekend. After her mom told me this, I couldn't stop thinking about the comment (and the sadness accompanied by it). I thought about it all day yesterday, all last evening, and I woke up thinking about it today. It's not the first time any of us have heard something like this (shhhhoot... most of us have probably said it ourselves at some point). I remember wanting to look like Alyssa Milano from "Who's the Boss" growing up, but hell... if I knew what a Victoria's Secret Model was back then, I'd probably would have wanted to look like that. Unable to shake the sadness and weight (no pun intended) of the girl's comment, last night I entered the phrase "Victoria's Secret Models without makeup" into Google. I found this photo and texted it to my friend to show her daughter. I was not trying to "dis" these models, I just wanted to pull back the curtain for this little girl, ya know? It's hard out there for women and girls, and if we don't remind ourselves every once in a while that the perfection we see is only made possible with make-up, airbrushing, and some serious Photoshop then we will forever feel like shit. I read a quote once from Cindy Crawford that said something to the effect of, "I wish I looked like Cindy Crawford". Obviously, she was saying that even she does not look like the images that the public sees of her in magazine adds and TV commercials. Sad, really.
I'm not going to get into a lengthy feminist rant about society, unrealistic expectations, objectification, self-esteem, the societal implications of 1/2 of the population devaluing themselves based on dolled up, sexed up, slimmed town, airbrushed, filled in, pumped up, and implanted images of "women", but I will give you this. Photographic evidence... simply showing that make-up and retouching is a very powerful thing. Some of the most beautiful women of our day hardly resemble the images of themselves that we are bobmarded with and therefore hold ourselves up to. I have NOTHING against make-up (at all... in fact, I love it), but take it for what it is. Nothing more.
All of these gorgeous starlets look like... wait for it... THE.REST.OF.US without their make-up on, and that's a pretty simple, yet powerful notion.