Ever feel like you don’t quite live up to the expectations you have of yourself?
I’ll never forget, a few years back I was chatting with a girl in her mid 20’s and talking about my health and workout regime, and how I was looking to gain some weight to be more “normalized” and just look like I was a healthy weight for my height.
Around that time, I was 6’2″ and about 135 pounds – like a female supermodel – except I was a man. It wasn’t the most attractive thing to women.
This particular girl said, “Well why don’t you just start lifting some weights or something?”
Now imagine my frustration when she said that, because I had been in the gym 4-5 days a week for FIVE YEARS at that point. And apparently it didn’t show whatsoever. It honestly didn’t, because I didn’t know what I was doing.
Thousands of hours of hard work, and I still really didn’t like what I saw in the mirror, and to be perfectly honest I was more concerned that women didn’t like what they “saw” of me.
Ironically, later on this would be really useful – my own body image issues have really made it easy to connect with the struggles of some of the readers here and my own clients and students – who are 90% women.
Most of the press we see in the news and on TV is about female body image usually, but what a lot of people don’t realize is that men suffer from this ridiculous body manipulation that the media does too – and men are having increasing levels of body image issues that are unprecedented.
I don’t necessarily think it’s a bad thing to have an idealized version of yourself, and although I think it’s important to “just love ourselves” even if things aren’t going great, I just want to point out just how much effort the media puts into making us feel inadequate.
How The Media Willingly Lies To You
A pretty prominent “cover up case” that gained attention recently was Justin Bieber.
He did a photo shoot for Calvin Klein magazine, and some time later his (actual) photo was leaked.
Take a look at a few things that were altered:
- His chest size (bigger)
- His arm size (much bigger)
- His head size (smaller – to match his body)
- His… male parts
- His butt
- His legs
In this case, take a look at Avril Lavigne in a Russian Cosmo magazine:
- Eye lines removed
- Skin whitened
- Forehead veins/hair lines removed
- Nose touched up and area under the nose lightened to look more blemish-free
- Frizzy parts of hair covered up
So let’s take a look at how she was touched up quite a bit:
- Her eye bags and lines were completely removed
- Her skin all over the body was lightened to look younger
- Her face (and even hair) was lightened
- Her arm size was cut in half
- Her face was made skinnier
Let’s take a look at the work done here:
- Her arm “wrinkles” were removed
- Her waist is tightened up, to emphasize her bust
- A significant amount of her waist bulge has been removed
- Her cellulite on her legs was removed
- Her legs were made skinnier
Let’s look at some of the work done here:
- The original (left) she has no bust, on the right she has a substantial one
- Her face has been made smaller
- Her face and hair was darkened
- Her waist was significantly tightened up
- Her arms were made skinnier
- Her cheekbones were accentuated
This woman was skinny enough and they figured “eh, let’s just remove half of that belly just for good measure.”
What happened to Penelope Cruz?
Well, she got a boob job free of charge (they made them the same size too!).
They pushed in her waist to make it look thinner throughout.
She got a face lift, which is magically blemish free now. And guess what? Even her hair got lighter. They also made her breastbone protrude less, to give the illusion of her having a larger bust with a little more meat on her bones.
Ahh Megan Fox, the bombshell from Transformers. Surely there can’t be anything wrong with her, can there!? Whelp, as you’ll see, yes, she is indeed human and photo altering does a great job of covering up her skin blemishes.
It also magically changed her eye color from light blue, to dark (unnatural looking) blue. Her lipstick became more red, and even her eye brows got some retouching to look more done up.
So How Do They Even Do Photoshop?
You know I’m always kind of interested in what the process looks like and today I managed to dig up a nice video showing what it looks like in reality.
There’s a bit of an interesting video here on how photoshop can be misused.
Check it out below:
The Ultimate Consequences
To be honest? I think beyond just “accepting ourselves 100%” – if we genuinely know we’re doing things that aren’t good for our health, then we need to change. Yeah we need to love ourselves – no matter what – because we don’t really have a choice. But I don’t think settling if something really is wrong, is the right way to approach life.
It’s like having an extremely dysfunctional kid at school that’s causing trouble, and we just say to the teacher, “Oh that’s just how he is” – without trying anything to help him improve or get better. We can sometimes use it as a cop out. It doesn’t solve the problem, does it?
If we’re becoming sick due to our lifestyle choices, and we constantly choose the Oreos over having a nutritious lunch – something has to change.
But this whole media movement, and it is a movement, has one huge scary undercurrent behind it:
The feeling of inadequacy.
It’s the feeling that no matter how GOOD life gets, it’s NEVER good enough. It’s this insidious parasite that has been put in our brain by not only the media and major industries, but often by our friends and family.
It’s the whole “keeping up with the Jones” thing.
You’ve got green grass? Awesome. The Jones family across the street has greener grass, so you better hire an entire landscaping team for $300 a month to make sure you beat them and become the envy of the block.
Life purpose realized? hehe…
You’ve got the latest designer fashion purse and clothes? That’s great. Too bad in the spring catalog Coach is going to tell you that it’s out of style and you need the new one (but don’t worry – in case you’re not cool, we’ll have a cool new one next year too).
In fact, when you think about it our entire consume culture is built on CREATING the feeling of lack – and the health industry is no exception.
And what do you do when a woman is already beautiful? You make her intangibly beautiful. You take her eye bags, because she’s a human and doesn’t sleep well some nights, and you remove those.
Any and all wrinkles she has, just phase those out.
And maybe some little arm fat, let’s just push delete on that. Honestly, it’s like it doesn’t even matter what size the woman – or man – is before hand – you can make them look like whatever you want.
What I Wish Someone Would’ve Told Me
Listen – I’m not going to rant and rave about how you should just “accept your lot in life” the way you are – that’s not for me to decide.
That’s for you to decide.
Yeah we have to accept life. There isn’t a choice there – we shouldn’t resist what our current life circumstances are.
But should you constantly seek improvement – daily step by steps and tiny habits that get you closer to where you want to be, continually? Of course.
Life is a process of continual improvement, inching towards that ideal vision we have for ourselves. And it’s not fair for me to take it away from you – if you want to lose 50 pounds (or gain a few pounds of muscle/toning) you should do it. You should commit to it, take baby steps, and absolutely commit 100% to becoming the best possible version of yourself.
There’s a saying that the goal is irrelevant – the point of setting huge goals is because it turns us into the kind of person that can achieve that goal – and once we’ve leveled up our life, we are capable of so much more.
In fact, goals that once seemed impossible now seem like they’re just over the horizon.
That’s the best reason I’ve been able to find out for setting huge, dream goals that get you up in the morning.
What are your thoughts on this whole photoshop thang?
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