Do I like my body image? Yes. Is it perfect? Not at all.
Did I hate my body image? I did, but not much. Why? Because I was fat.
Do I envy other gals because they have what I’d say a better body image than me? No, I rather admire them…
The media, and Hollywood, and mostly the fashion promos are featuring a perfected body image of women. An image that is not real, or shouldn’t be, or can’t be. Heidi Klum once detailed, in one of her “Germany’s Next Top Model” casting series, that Photoshop image editing is sometimes doubled by duct tape, or transparent adhesive tape, stuck on the skin of your back to stretch the hip and hide a normally occurring fold. It’s no secret in the modeling industry about such simple tricks. Then comes the Photoshop repainting of raw photos. Why do they falsify the body image of female models? Because they sell dreams, and dreams are not real. Look at other ads out there. Take the Citroen C4 Transformers commercial…
Do you think that a sane man would seriously consider an automobile behaving like this? Yet grown up boys like to dream the way they did during their Bart Simpson age. They know it’s a dream. Same way they know that the Playboy bunny of the month is rather painted than photographed. Think it over, was Leonardo da Vinci a photographer? Not sure how Mona Lisa looked in the real world. All we know about her is that painted smile, by the art of Leonardo.
Take the nude ladies painted by Rubens. At least they weren’t forced into starvation. Because chubby ladies were turn-on models in the fine times of Flemish Baroque.
Was then a “war” going on between ladies that did not pose nude and the fewer ones selected by painters for this tedious job? Don’t know. Maybe at some individual level, for some personal envies, nothing new under the sun. But the “modern” lens given to us for measuring the present is distorted. McDonalds serves us triple extra-large burgers, banks give us secured and more and more unsecured credits, our men are given paintings (in Photoshop) that are falsely called photos. Everything is offered to us beyond a decent measure, with a tad of unreal and with the spin of a “good deal” that we must not miss. The hyperbole hides a catch. As always, later on, the client gets the bill, the unexpected price for indulging with these fantasies. This is the way marketing works. Because it must sell (and fast) all that made-in-China-crap, churned continuously even as you read this. It’s the way of this Baal-type god at work: money “rules.” Money “knows” no limits. The product is YOU! They want you to jump over the fire; love it or hate it, buy it or bash it, either way you lose. And so they win because they have your attention, your energies focused on what they want, eventually your money, in a way or another.
When I say that you’re the product, I’m not referring to “you” the stripper or the model, but to “you” the buyer (the consumer), because in today’s economy any buyer is actually a “product” while the things (or merchandise, stuff) are simple excuses for luring in even more buyers and take their money by whatever method. And no one asks why do “you” need this or that? They just tell you that you NEED it and you MUST register, login, buy, pay, sign the contract, etc.
Back in time, on the classic economy note, Don blogged about how modern industries downgraded classic arts into consumerist trivia — although it’s about the sex industry, it may very well apply to other fields.
And the war on your body image is part of this public psychosis induced by the industrial way of thinking. And some thoughtful people (who feel that something is terribly wrong with this), would want to fight it back, hence they open a new “war.” However, this is just a form of altruist activism, unfortunately employing similar strategies like the sales-driven “wars.” It’s a counter measure. Not exactly the successful solution to clear the problem.
Let me tell you that the body of women is no industry standard. Woo… what a discovery! See, you already know the obvious, I know the obvious too, we all know that you can’t always look the way you did when you were 18.
Here you can see my prom dress, 24 years later. The dress is the same, stored her well. But I’m not the same. Is this image Photoshopped? It sure is. Don cut the traces and shadows of our twins holding my arms. He didn’t touch me and my prom dress with his photo editing tools. He read this and told me to mention that no image he produces is Photoshopped, because he’s using The GIMP, and not Adobe Photoshop, to edit images. Well, if that makes any difference…
Back to your body image. If you follow common sense, you can keep your shapes close to what you had when you finished high school. You’ll NEVER be the same because time leaves scars on your body. “This is the constant of our lives” — mumbles hubby comparing nudes of me with a young and fresh one he just received by mail from a good friend of ours: “I want you to pose for me like this,” he concludes after a while of close studying.
Good, now think about you. How would you react when (and if) your hubby talks about time scars on your body, pointing to your cellulite on a photo side by side with an unknown gal in her twenties. “Hell no!” If that’s your reaction then you’ve already lost the “war about your body image.” That’s a psycho-war, which is ravaging the battlefields of your mind. This is what the industry of dreams made of us (and of our men): we’re psycho-maniacs, incapable to fathom reality from fantasy. We want to live our dreams here and now, and they’re not even ours, but clichés from the movies or the zines. Instead of dreaming in our bodies, we use the bodies of models, or actors, for us, in our own dreams! And even these bodies are simple imagery, because models and actors look different in their real flesh than on-screen. It’s just crazy what happens to us, isn’t it?
I, for one, not without daily support and encouragement from hubby, am not afraid to make love in front of the camera (yes, with lights on, big flashing lights!); and I can stand when he compares my body to whatever other picture he wants. And even when sharing photos in his closed circle of friends. This is FREEDOM, ladies. Not only his freedom but also mine! I don’t mind a scar here, an orange peel there, a few blueish varicose veins behind my knee, my sagging breasts (had to feed my li’l ones, right?), my wrinkles on the cheeks or around my eyes.
Oh, about wrinkles, he finds distinction in my wrinkles. And he studies wrinkled faces (on occasions) to find traits of personality. I know that he used to be a great fan of Nicole Kidman. “Not anymore,” he recently told me. “Why?” I asked. “Because she botoxed her face to hide her graceful aging behind a Barbie ever-wonder numb facade.” My man enjoys looking at real women, not at plastic dolls. Am I jealous? Why should I be? From all the beauties he’s staring at, he keeps coming only on my photos. He’s mine because he gravitates towards me and not because I wish to chain him to me, he’s not my dog.
My take on this body image war: come to peace with your healthy lifestyle (eat naturally and work out and supplement lavishly, because food nowadays is more texture and less consistency, just like the Photoshopped images) and feel good showing your skin. Never mind your age, or sizes. Your man will appreciate your confidence, saying to himself, and to you: “Look at her, she’s the Queen of my heart!”
So you see, it’s not just about my freedom to show up my skin but also a good motivation for me to feel comfy in it. Posing nude and comparing your progress, or regress, over time, is a couple therapy worth doing. It helps with building your confidence (you’re doing it willingly and it’s a hobby, right?) and it makes you feel that you are in control of your body image. You and not the commercials. Oh yes, forget the sugar and the burger because bad food creates both addiction and low self-esteem. But hey, don’t overdo the stay-fit mantra (don’t overdo nude posing, keep measure in everything you do). Curvey is fine, your man will agree. Ask to model for him. See what he says…
Live your dreams in your God-given body. Together with your hubby.
Above you can watch a partial nude pastel sketch of me. Don shot this photo almost four years ago. It’s a filtered, blurred and processed sketch because I still don’t want him to publish nude photos of me in their original format. I feel that I’m not ready for this kind of opening. At least not yet. But when the time will come, then au naturel (no make-up and no image editing) photos will go along with other photos that are subject to artistic effects. So you can compare reality with fantasy.