Celebrities taking a stand against the media’s obsession with “perfect”

Who would have thought that Britney Spears and Jessica Simpson would be the next wave of celebrities taking a stand against the media and our culture’s obsession with perfection? It seems like whenever there is a big tabloid melee about a certain celebrity’s “fat” swimsuit pictures (Think Tyra Banks and Jennifer Love Hewitt), the celebrity in question always comes out with an article or website post about how they are proud of their curves or how the media has an insane standard of beauty (true). But inevitably, those same celebs a couple months later end up slimming down. Of course, when asked about it, they will all say that they did it for “health” and that it has nothing to do with the media. Now I am not saying that every celeb that slims down does it for the wrong reasons or is being hypocritical, but it seems like too big of a coincidence that shortly after the hoopla about their size they are suddenly smaller.

So imagine my surprise when I was on the internet and came across two surprising stories. One about Jessica Simpson going au natural in a recent magazine shoot, no makeup whatsoever, and the other about Britney Spears demanding that Candies release her untouched photos.  Both celebrities wanted their unedited photos shown alongside their “photo-shopped” ones to show how much photos of celebs get changed.

In Jessica Simpson’s case it makes sense that she would try to change people’s ideas of beauty since her project right now is the VH1 show called “The Price of Beauty”. In her show she travels with her two friends to different countries and goes around interviewing women and men about beauty ideals in their countries. Simpson has definitely had to deal with the media’s unkind scrutiny of her looks and the constant attention of her sometimes fluctuating waist line. And it’s really no surprise that even without photo retouching and professional makeup, Jessica Simpson is beautiful.

I had seen some celebs try and make magazines and ad campaigns run the “untouched” photos instead of Photoshopping out their flaws. Jamie Lee Curtis famously took pictures in unflattering spandex shorts and a sports bra for More magazine showing all of her imperfections. But I have to say that Britney Spears making Candies publish her untouched photos was surprising. Known for her rock hard body back in the day, Spears has also taken quite the beating from the media about her post-babies body. The photos of Spears in a pink bikini highlight the fact that airbrushing takes generous leaps with stars bodies. The untouched photos of her show her cellulite, some bruise and discoloration on her skin, her lower back tattoo, and the fact that her body is not the once-gym-toned-adolescent physique the world is used to seeing all over the media.

Personally, I was a teenager when all of the female pop stars burst on the scene and I’m not saying that there wasn’t pressure in previous generations. But with Britney, Christina, Jessica, and a whole lot of other celebs, there was way more attention paid to thin celebrities. All those magazines, TV shows, movies, and music videos showing you this “perfect” image of female beauty and not only praising thin and perfect but bashing any celeb who doesn’t look perfect and gains an ounce of weight, it is not only unattainable, but completely misrepresents “normal” and gives young girls a false ideal that they try to achieve.

Now being into my 20s and having learned the big secret of stylists and the wonder of Photoshop, I feel I have a somewhat better grasp on the difference between what you see in the magazines or on TV and reality. That being said, I still feel the pressure that our society (helped along by the celeb obsessed media) puts on women to be thin and pretty. Everywhere you look it seems like this idea of what a “beautiful” woman should be confronts you. From Victoria Secrets ads to American Apparel campaigns to all the covers of magazines devoted to the ups and downs of celebrity weight (emphasis on the down), it seems like we are left with the distinct impression of one standard of beauty.

The average women in America wears a 14, a fact that the media has a hard time catching up with, but with stars like Britney and Jessica taking steps to show natural beauty and the skewed version of “perfect” in the media, maybe we are closer to embracing all shapes, sizes, ethnicities, races, and all types of beauty.

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One Comment

  1. Amy Artzner
    Posted May 6, 2010 at 12:02 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Thank you for nailing this point on the head. It’s really too bad that so many people still don’t know about how the photos of models and celebrities are all doctored up and edited. We’ve all been brainwashed into believing what we see in magazines is actually normal or attainable. The pressure on women to look like that is huge. I’d even go so far as to say that most women who have given up on trying to be ultra thin, still are simply not happy with who they are. Turn off the TV and just say no to the magazines and let’s be real.

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