"By the time a girl is 17, she has seen more than 250,000 messages about what she is supposed to look like." [Source]
We grow up surrounded by photographs of women with every flaw carefully photoshopped out - and then are told that we can be as thin as they are, as beautiful as they are, as flawless as they are, if only we try harder.
We are taught that beauty is essential to happiness, to success, to our professional lives. We are taught that weight is the best and most important measure of health.
We are constantly reminded that we are companions, to be admired - the pretty prize the guy strives for, the superheroine with heels and cleavage windows.
We spend all our time creating an outer facade for ourselves, without realizing that as long as you are striving for something that you consider to be better than us, we will never be happy with who we are. We layer ourselves in different shades and different fits, strive to look better and better while inside we feel worse and worse. We grow up staring at these icons of perfection on our television sets and in our magazines, feeling inadequate about our own imperfections that seem to stand out a mile in our bedroom mirrors. It's called, among other things, The Photoshop Effect, propogating the myth of the 'Perfect Woman' through use of shaky media ethics and fragile self-esteem to create, instead, the Perfect Lie.
"Twenty years ago, the average model weighed 8 per cent less than the average woman—but today’s models weigh 23 per cent less." [Source]
It's H&M admitting that they'd been pasting models' faces onto fake computer-generated bodies.
It's the pounds being trimmed off and the wrinkles being smoothed out and the freckles being painted away on the bodies and faces of celebrities in magazine shoots while the text printed next to them preaches natural beauty and self-esteem.
It's body shaming in advertising, in this century and the one before.
It's young girls looking at those photos and feeling their self-confidence shatter because in their minds, they are ugly. And who is going to tell them otherwise? Certainly not the $170 billion dollar beauty industry, or the mainstream media, or our politicians. Certainly not general office culture, where it is accepted practice to demand women wear high heels and makeup (and to fire them if their appearance doesn't match requirements).
“For beautiful eyes, look for the good in others; for beautiful lips, speak only words of kindness; and for poise, walk with the knowledge that you are never alone.” [Audrey Hepburn]
We are just a couple of girls with laptops and our own piles of insecurity. But we want, in our own small way, to speak out. And we are putting together a video.
So here is what we're asking for in the way of contribution.
- Film. WE ARE LOOKING FOR VOLUNTEERS - particularly those who enjoy and have experience using cosmetics - to film themselves going from plain face to fully made up in hopes of driving home the message. We would also, with the volunteers' permission, pick several submissions to put through Photoshop as well, to show the full extent of the transformation. This is not about shaming. This is about saying, 'We are all in this together.' The two of us will be contributing ourselves, and as a show of good faith will be the first faces in the video. [DOVE - MAKEUP VIDEO - 'EVOLUTION']
- Speak. Whether it be through spoken word poetry or just you sitting in your bedroom, talk to us. Tell us about your experiences, your feelings, your body. Why you hate it, or even better, why you love it. Tell us about how you got to where you are in your journey. [KATIE MAKKAI - POETRY SLAM - 'PRETTY']
- Write. Don't want to show your face or record your voice? Take a photo or a video of yourself holding up a sign. It could be something inspirational, or something poignant - doesn't matter.
- Research/Contribute. Don't want to be in the video in any shape or form? No worries! We'd still love to hear from you. Send us facts you've researched or articles you find relevant or ideas for the project. We would love to hear from anyone and everyone. [CONTACT US: EMILY'S EMAIL. IMAAN'S EMAIL. EMILY'S LIVEJOURNAL/TUMBLR/TWITTER. IMAAN'S LIVEJOURNAL/TUMBLR/TWITTER.]
- AND LAST BUT NOT LEAST, PLEASE HELP SPREAD THE WORD. REBLOG, RETWEET, RE-LINK.
And we leave you with this, which always terrifies and inspires us.