Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Here in the real world

I was totally stoked to see Jezebel's unveiling of the un-photoshopped Redbook cover, as well as their explanation of why the photoshopping drives them nuts. The thing that makes me so perplexed is the fact that the things that were photoshopped away weren't even flaws, nothing that I'd have even noticed in the original picture. So what's the point? Why do we persist in smoothing out wrinkles and folds that everyone knows about and lives with in their daily life?

A few months ago, I saw a People magazine (maybe?) in the checkout line at the grocery store that featured an article about stars' best and worst beach bodies. I wish I could find the cover, because as far as I could tell, the best and the worst looked EXACTLY THE SAME. I get caught up in the misanthropic thrill of criticizing stars' appearances, but my heart isn't exactly in it. And I'm not sure whose is - if the majority of Americans are overweight or obese, and the vast majority of Americans have muffin tops and pimples and wrinkles and back fat - how are we all getting laid? Clearly, we don't think that we're all as ugly as we say we are.

There are parts of me that have a hard time accepting that anyone could really be attracted to me, when I never see bodies anything like mine in the media. It's hard to feel attractive when you feel invisible. All of this is why I love the project (via Nudemuse), Adipositivity. It's a photographic series aimed at portraying the often beautiful reality of fat bodies. It's so rare that we're exposed to what people really look like that it's rather shocking to see folds of flesh and stretch marks actually on film.

So, really, let's give up this pretending. It might be easy to get worked up into a froth of disgust about fat people when you're talking to them on the internet, but when it's your girlfriend or your sister or your teacher or your nephew, it's a lot harder. Take your nose out of the tabloid, and enjoy what's here in the real world.

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