Women’s Magazines Making Strides To Banish Unrealistic Body Images
I grew up reading lots of magazines. Ebony and Jet and the defunct magazines Sassy and Mademoiselle were my favorite teenage reads. In fact, the love of magazines is what drew me to a career in journalism.
It was through those glossy pages that I, like many other young impressionable girls, imagined myself in a certain outfit, with a certain hairstyle and with a long, lean body shape.
Unfortunately, many of those girls' bodies had been tugged, taped, airbrushed, painted and then digitally altered to provide the desired effects that sell magazines.
Some of us soon learned that those images weren't realistic, but for many young girls, chasing that image of beauty followed them throughout life, causing low self-esteem, poor body image and/or eating disorders.
This is why I applaud a 14-year-old ballet dancer from Maine, who started an online petition to get the editors of Seventeen to stop manipulating photos of young girls.
The top editor responded with a "body peace treaty" -- a promise to include healthy-looking girls of all shapes and sizes without digital altering.
When photos are altered, they would be identified.
The editor also vowed, in a checklist, to celebrate all kinds of beauty.
Score one for girls and women everywhere. Incidentally, the Tyler Paper does not alter news or sports photo content without telling the reader.
The questionable images in magazines and advertisements are there for one reason and one reason only: to persuade us into believing we're not slim/tanned/fair-skin-ned/buxom/curvy/toned/pretty enough so that we buy those products.
Who doesn't want to look and feel svelte?
We all have flaws, even the "perfect" models. But the priority should be on health -- to walk without wheezing and play without frequent breaks.
If we take the time to stop putting ourselves down for having big legs, muffin tops, wrinkles, a flat chest or frizzy hair, we may just realize we have many more good qualities than bad.
Let's hope that more publications like Seventeen will recognize the beauty of all women representing all colors, shapes and body types. And let's hope we can all be motivated by the benefits of healthy living more than vanity.