Who Are You Without Your Mayfair Filter?
When we shot Episode 1 of The Hollywood Beauty Detective, I wanted to get photoshopped. I worked with photographer, Greg Doherty, and we shot stills of me with no makeup - headshots and full body shots - then we shot the same shots with makeup and lights. From there we photoshopped those photos. What we ended up with was pretty startling. The images on the left are the 'me with no makeup' 3/4 body shots. The right is me, with a little help from photoshop. I'm sure you weren't able to figure that out.
From there we shot my headshot with no makeup, then makeup and lights. The photo of me on the left is no makeup, the one on the right...makeup, hair, and lights. Duh.
The photo from the shoot that we did with hair, makeup, and lights was then photoshopped. The picture on the left is that image. Yikes.
I wanted to do an episode about photoshopping images because I believe it is something that is insidiously affecting women and girl's self-esteem, and I believe it is incredibly damaging. I know it has been for me.
Think about it. We are presented daily with images (through ads, magazines, billboards, commercials) of how to look. Girls see over 400 advertisements a day telling them how they should look. By the time the average American girl reaches the age of 17, she’s seen more than 250,000 commercial messages aimed at shaping her appearance. If the images we are seeing not only present a very narrow version of "beauty," but are manipulated as well, what is that doing to us, as women? How is it affecting our daughters? What is this doing to their self-esteem and to ours?
How can photoshoppimg in any way empower a woman? Is it so very terrible to show that women are voluptuous and are curvy?
How about this Jennifer Lawrence shot. Was she just not skinny enough?
I truly believe that if we could begin to include diverse versions of beauty in advertising - other races, other ages, other cultural standards, other body types (none of which are photoshopped) - there would be a shift in the female collective consciousness.
It's a slow walk, but we're getting there.
When I saw the photoshopped version of myself where my body was modified, I must say, I was seduced. I was seduced by how I looked. I looked younger...skinnier...and prettier. And believe me, I love being able to choose a filter when there's a picture taken with friends (I'm partial to Mayfair). But I see my real self when I look in my mirror. There is no disclaimer on ads saying that the images in the photos I'm seeing aren't real.
When all we see in ads are white, beautiful, skinny blondes who are photoshopped to perfection, we are taking that in. We are being told that version of a woman is the desired one - the image to strive to look like. And that image is not only miniscule in its scope within the world, it isn't even real.
We need to be aware. We need to demand change...to join causes (The Hollywood Beauty Detective). We need to insist on a broader version and a more inclusive definition of beauty. C'mon Ladies...I need your help. Tell me. What do you think is beautiful? Send me your pictures. Send me your thoughts. I want to see your versions of beauty. Let's do this.