You were definitely expecting some inspirational, wonderful, “be yourself” shenanigans, weren’t you? Sorry. All I’m saying is that the mainstream media, led by fashion magazines and skinny bitches with 8 pounds of makeup, dictates what you wear, how you wear it, and how people perceive your level of attractiveness. The most shameful part of that whole scheme though, is that those models, advertisements, and TV commercials have hordes of stylists, photoshop wizards, and actual wizards working hard to demolish any trace of reality. Take a look at these before and after photos. It’s a little bit disturbing.
I’m sorry, the fact that even this woman’s freckles are eradicated is just absurd. When women are being told on a daily basis that they should be absolutely flawless, with dewy cheeks and glamorous eyes for every moment of every day, but also that looking beautiful will get you raped, I just want to kick over every magazine stand ever.
There’s also the gem of misogyny and racism baked into one tasteless cake called skin-lightening. Studies, and the media, suggest that lighter-skinned individuals are viewed as more attractive. Not only is it suggested that darker-skinned people should endeavor to lighten their skin, but magazines and adds will do it for you! Elle magazine was recently criticized for this picture of Gabourey Sidibe (Precious, 2009):
Her skin tone, naturally quite dark and not at all unappealing, was lightened several shades for the cover on a series of young women who were “changing the world.” Yeah, but she can’t be presented the way she really looks.
So overall, I guess I’m saying be yourself, but don’t be surprised when yourself happens to look like everyone else. Be positive in your own image, and if it happens to represent the fads of the day, oh well. It sucks, it’s often cutthroat and horrible, but until everyone is aware of the travesties, nothing is going to change.