Unconventional Reality Check

Posted: April 28, 2010 at 11:20 am

How much do you think the media affects your self confidence and how you perceive your body? I will admit that I didn't feel like it affected me too much. I don't really read magazines anymore or get caught up in the "who has lost weight or who looks fat" games that Hollywood plays.  But then Lisa posted this picture of Britney Spears on her blog about a week ago and my perspective on media immediately shifted.


Imagine if whatever magazine, ad, billboard, or wherever this picture was going simply showed Britney in her natural beauty. Imagine if ALL images weren't photoshopped and we got to see the real deal. I think the self confidence of those exposed to these images (aka all of us) would improve immensely. After all, who can you relate to more of the following images?

[Source 1, Source 2, Source 3]

These are women that are considered incredibly beautiful by society. If the natural states of these women were displayed on magazine covers, I truly believe more women would feel proud of their own looks and have more confidence. Because if Madonna is beautiful and she really looks like that, then I must be pretty beautiful too. 😉

I admit to thinking I wasn't bothered by these things since I don't pay attention to them, but I obviously do. Because I was shocked at the difference between the  images. And it made me think of how many edited to perfection models and celebrities I have seen and how those shaped my own perception of my body and what it needs to look like for me to be 100% confident. These images are subliminally deteriorating our own sense of beauty one shot at a time. And since I don't foresee the media changing how they do things anytime soon, I have started working on taking notice of the real side of other women.

I really think recognizing these things has helped me appreciate my own body more. And I am doing it in a very unconventional way. How many times have you heard people tell you "don't compare yourself to others"?? It is a pretty common piece of advice when discussing ways to feel better about yourself. Well, I don't know if I agree with that anymore. I used to, but the past couple of weeks that has changed. Why? Recognizing that nobody is perfect, but we each are extremely beautiful in our own ways is incredibly empowering.

even this skinny minny has cellulite


Be honest here. How often,  at the gym for example, do you notice other women's bodies and think "oh, she looks so good/fit/strong" or "oh I wish I had her _____"? You know we all do it at least some of the time. Even when I was at my leanest the days before my competition I still had those thoughts. It's a tough habit to break. One that will probably stop when photoshopping women to perfection stops...you know...when this happens:


So instead of trying to overhaul something so big, I have been simply trying to alter it for the better. When I check another woman out, I will be sure I take a reality check. I will recognize maybe that she has a great butt, but maybe isn't as defined in her arms like I am. Or perhaps I notice someone that I think has really nice legs or a great flat stomach, but then when I objectively consider my body I realize it is pretty similar. Or I pay attention to the fact that the super toned chick in my Power class still has some love handles, just like me.

I want to be clear here. I am not talking about degrading and putting down other women. We have to lift each other up and support each other as the wonderful creations God has made us into. What I am proposing, is that we are realistic to the fact that none of us naturally look like the women in magazine ads. And we all have physical qualities that aren't perfect, but we also all have many qualities that others might take notice of and think are incredible, which we should as well. Also, that many of us do not have an accurate perception of our own bodies and unrealistically view other women as perfect and flawless when that is not the case. When I notice that the fellow gym goer I have been eying for her great abs is just as unique and imperfect as I am, I don't discredit her beauty. I will still say she looks awesome and I won't hone in and continue to focus on anything I realize is not as perfect as I previously thought. What does happen, however, is I continue to value her beauty but I grow to appreciate my own as well. An unconventional way of looking at things? Yes. But growing to appreciate yourself and that we are all in this together is never a bad thing in my opinion. So if recognizing her butt isn't as perky as I originally thought, helps me value my badonkadonk so be it. I will still think her abs are hot, but flaunt my junk happily now too. And maybe it will help me not be distracted by, intimidated by, or jealous of  her looks, so I can actually talk to her and get to know the beauty that really matters - the inner kind.

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31 Comments to “Unconventional Reality Check”
  1. Jennifer says:

    Tina, you and me are on the same track. I just did a post last night about this same issue! I stand with you on the fact that we have to support each other as women because we are God’s creation. Check out the photoshop of Kimora on my post. They put her head on another model’s body.

  2. Katie says:

    Amen! I almost cried when I read this post because it is the very message God has put in my heart…and I hope to bring this message to so many girls just as you have! Keep it up girl! 🙂 God is using you!

  3. Wow those pics are unreal. Especially the one of Faith Hill. They airbrushed her arms to twigs!

  4. Heather says:

    crazy…and i’m thankful that i’ve learned to not compare myself to those women on the covers of magazines anymore, but i still compare when i see other women. Jennifer @ Fit at Heart had a great insight to how we are beautifully and wonderfully made…such a great reminder 🙂

  5. Melissa says:

    Oh my gosh…Tina…this was PERFECT. Seriously, one of my favorite posts from anyone in a long time. I don’t think a lot of us have ever seen the untouched photos of these women. I mean, I hate to say it, but Madonna was the best example of this. She’s how old? Almost in her 60s? You can SEE her age in the first photo, and really, that’s a relief, because dang! Half of us wish we could look like what she looks like in the second photo.

    That makes me think of something pretty important: so, even when you’re a top entertainer or a top model, your legs are thinned out, your cellulite is removed, your tummy is flattened, and your wrinkles are removed. How in the WORLD is this good for THEIR self esteem?? I mean, if someone altered my body that much for a magazine cover, I would think, “Wow. Am I even model material at all? Why did they even pick me to do this if they were going to change me so much?” I think my self image would be worse than it already is.

    I may have to link this in my next post, Teens. Thanks a bunch…this was great.

  6. I think it’s so easy to see those celebs and models on mags and just totally forget that, even if they weren’t airbrushed, they still had a whole crew making them look that way for the day!

  7. Kelly says:

    This post made me smile! I will admit that society impacts my way of thinking when it comes to my body! I wish that we lived in a world where it was OKAY to be real and OKAY to have imperfections! I swear…when I am standing in line at the grocery store and I see the “perfect” images on the magazines staring back at me…I can sometimes get a little depressed which then leads to “fat talk” but I am going to remember this post the next time I see those perfect bodies in bathing suits smiling at me! 🙂 Thank you, Tina, for keeping it real! Reality check…done! Confidence booster…done! 🙂

  8. cardiopizza says:

    I look at other women ALL. THE. TIME (I sound like a total perv! I promise I am not! haha). Sometimes, I get motivated by fit women and it inspires me to push harder during a workout or even to eat better. And sometimes I admit that I do get a little self conscious and compare myself.

    The big thing I try to remember with comparing myself to celebrities or even other bloggers is that I don’t know what is going on in their lives and I don’t know how they really achieve they body they have. They could very well be miserable and restrict their intake for all I know.

    I try my best to focus on what I DO have and what I CAN do.

  9. Wow- those pictures are CRAZY! It’s amazing what Photoshop can do for people. I love when celebs allow their real photos to be published as well- like Britney did- it really makes me feel better about myself. It’s so hard to NOT look at covers of magazines & think, “wow- I wish I looked like that” & it is a daily thing!
    Love your way of thinking – about how to turn it into a positive thing. 🙂

  10. lisaou11 says:

    Its amazing how much they change these women–and they all look just fine before! crazy. good thoughts, im with ya!

  11. Vee says:

    Thanks Tina for another wonderful post. I think it’s incredible how different some of those photos are! I had no idea so much ‘airbrushing’ went into it.
    I usually don’t look at other chicks – but I do tend to check out how much they lift or how fast they run. It always inspires me. I like beating my own PBs but I also like to be inspired by other strong and fit women. 🙂

  12. I love this post! You’re so right and I wish more of us could embrace our natural beauty and imperfections–it’s what makes us individually beautiful and who we are. So sick of seeing images of what we all think we should look like when it’s not even real…

  13. Those pictures are crazy! I was looking at Faith Hill’s arm… It’s already skinny and they shrunk it even more! It’s sad actually… I definitely compare myself to magazines. I’d be surprised if someone didn’t. I think it’s so silly to do it though… No one looks like those people on the covers… Not even them!

  14. Jennifer says:

    Hey go to Katie’s latest post on dashingdish.com I think you’ll like the comment I left her.

  15. homecookedem says:

    WOW! Those photo comparisons are all quite shocking and they make me feel really good about myself! I feel the same way about all of this, Tina. Great post to make us all aware!!

  16. I love this post! But I hate that we constantly have to compare ourselves to others (and photoshopped others at that) to feel validated.

  17. britishbride says:

    Loving this post! Timed so aptly for me posting my definately un airbrushed ‘before’ pics on my blog! That’s so much for your beautiful comment too x


  18. Those pictures are super disturbing. It reminds me of when you buy a seemingly healthy packaged/processed food and then you look at the ingredients and see High Fructose Corn Syrup or something! Altering the photo is just like HFCS because it’s tainting something (or in this case, someone) that’s already perfect. All those women are beautiful and do not need to be changed. What a shame that they have been altered though 🙁

  19. Wow those pictures are crazy! It’s true that we know a lot of these media images are photoshopped, but I think we forget what a huge difference airbrushing makes. It’s hard as a women not to compare yourself to others, but it’s so unhealthy!

    BTW, have you done any of the Beth Moore studies? I’m just started Esther and I think she talks about this specifically. I’m really interested to see how she puts it in a biblical perspective! Hope your day is going well! =)

    • Julie says:

      Melissa, I did the Esther study last Fall and it was fantastic. Beth really hits on this subject at one point in either Esther or The Fruit of the Spirit study and we had women of all ages – young to very old, falling on their knees in prayer over this very subject. I was so surprised that even the older women in our group – like in their late 60s and 70s were also still so affected by how they feel about their bodies. It’s like it never ends for us, unless we make it a priority to change our perspective.

      I hope you enjoy the study. I love Beth Moore!

  20. Great post girl – you’re always making me think! Those photos are CRAZY – especially because the befores are FINE! Interesting thoughts on how to put things in perspective without tearing anyone down but with staying true and being true to yourself!

  21. […] came across these pictures today and it reminded me of Tina’s and Jen’s post. Their posts were about the issues of photoshopping and what it does to our […]

  22. […] came across these pictures today and it reminded me of Tina’s and Jen’s post. Their posts were about the issues of photoshopping and what it does to our […]

  23. […] came across these pictures today and it reminded me of Tina’s and Jen’s post. Their posts were about the issues of photoshopping and what it does to our […]

  24. It reminds me of when you buy a seemingly healthy packaged/processed food and then you look at the ingredients and see High Fructose Corn Syrup or something. I had no idea so much ‘airbrushing’ went into it. I usually don’t look at other chicks – but I do tend to check out how much they lift or how fast they run. It always inspires me.

  25. Wow, that airbrushing is unreal! I think it’s criminal that no one spoke about this airbrushing until a few years ago. We thought this is what women really looked like!

    Seriously. We need to campaign for NO airbrushing.

    But you’re right. Appreciating our bodies starts within ourselves.

  26. Becky says:

    I LOVE this post! There’s something really – I think – freeing and liberating about acknowledging my own imperfections and reconciling my opinion of myself with those imperfections. And it’s not “tearing each other down” to be honest that none of us are perfect. Everyone has things they might change about their bodies if they could, but that’s just not realistic. Photoshopping is something that I hope gets enough backlash that it is gone by the time our kids (especially the sweet baby girls like M) are grown. I *hope* so, anyways…keep up the great writing, Tina!!

  27. devan says:

    This is such a powerful post.. thank u

  28. […] In honor of National Eating Disorders Awareness Week, check out this post showing just how much images of woman are manipulated to look FAKE and […]

  29. Groff's Girl says:

    THANK YOU!! This made me really feel better about myself and realize that I am never going to looking like those images…because NOBODY is!! It is a horrible message they are sending, and it is pretty bad that the celebrities are more than willing to be photoshopped when they know how much of an influence they are!! Shame on them, BRAVO to you!!!

  30. Great post. Sometimes I forget just how airbrushed some of those magazine pics are. Crazy! What do these celebs really look like in person?

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