Written By Kath
Katherine is a mom of two girls, a teacher and a self-described dilettante. Join her in Losing It as she shares slices of her hectic life and eclectic interests.Read Her Blog "Losing It!"
This blog started as a weight loss journal, really, so tackling the topic of body image and the media isn’t too far off topic (although it might fairly be considered to be too massive of an undertaking). Enter Filippa Hamilton, recently fired Ralph Lauren model, and the photoshopped image of her that has been spreading virally all over the internet, leading to lawsuits against innocent bloggers and a massive public relations disaster for Ralph Lauren. At first I just followed this story and gaped, in shock, at the sickeningly unrealistic image it featured. Take a look at this:
I’m not even sure where to begin with this. Her body is so unbelievably distorted that she looks like a Bratz doll:
Note the similarities: unnaturally long and skinny limbs, distorted
and a “lollipop head” – likely because it hasn’t been photoshopped,
where the body has been stretched like a gumby doll.
What I want to know is, when did we start letting toy manufacturers dictate the standards of female beauty? My GAWD, I can’t believe I used to complain about Barbie dolls and their impact on female body image way back in the 80s. This babe looks positively normal by comparison:
So anyway. Fashion dolls provide us with an unrealistic ideal of feminine beauty and body image. That’s not news. Girls have been subjected to unrealistic beauty myths for generations (the first Barbie doll was released in 1959, after all). But at least when we were growing up, the impossible ideal was relegated to dolls, which most of us understood (at least intellectually) to be part of the world of fantasy. Models were skinny, yes, but they were real. Fashion photography in the 60s, 70s, 80s and even 90s may have been airbrushed, but that was just to smooth out the wrinkles and take away the blemishes. Look at this ideal of female beauty from my childhood:
But this is what technology can do. It’s truly a double-edged sword. Look at this video, for instance:
I have to admit, when I first watched this video, my thought was, “how can I get that in real life?”
And how sad is that, really?