Women in magazines aren’t real

Published 11:00 pm Thursday, May 2, 2013

I saw the cutest couple of teen girls in the cosmetics section of a local store the other day.

And while the pair was just as pretty as could be, what came out of their mouths was sad.

“I wish my nose was smaller,” one said. The other chimed in, “Yeah, and I have too much fat right here,” as she pointed to her hip area.

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They couldn’t have been more than 13 – bodies still changing, self-esteem still not quite solid.

How could this happen? How could these 13-year-old girls be so critical of themselves?

The truth is, ladies, we do this to each other. We see airbrushed magazine covers that create impossible images we compare ourselves to. Crooked noses are straightened, fat is smoothed and removed, hair is lengthened, pimples are erased, skin tone is darkened, necks are lengthened, eye lashes are made fuller, wrinkles are made to disappear. The women on the cover of magazines and in magazine ads aren’t real. They aren’t.

There, I said it.

And it is what we should be saying to each other. Those women aren’t real. It’s what we should have been saying to each other for a long time now.

Ever wonder why tabloid photos of celebrities look different from their cover shots? Because tabloids don’t make money off of making celebrities look flawless. They make money off of showing the flaws.

Reality verses perception is something women have been struggling with since we were little girls.

Now, I’m not ragging on Barbie. I had Barbies. But Barbie is not shaped like a real woman.

The average American 19-year-old would have to grow two feet taller, extend her neck by 3.2 inches, gain five inches in bust size and lose six inches around the waist to look like Barbie, according to data from the Yale Center for Eating and Weight Disorders.

That sounds more like an anorexic Amazon woman.

Ladies, it’s time to take a stand. Let’s tell each other what we see that is wonderful and should be celebrated. It’s our job to build each other up.

And men, you can help out, too. Tell the ladies in your life they look “beautiful,” not “hot.” Complement them when there is opportunity. For as strong as women are, confidence can be fragile.

Dwelling on imperfections only degrades self-esteem. It’s our differences that make us beautiful. It’s time the world realized that.