I am participating in Keep It Real, a 3 day challenge to make print magazines pledge to use at least one non-photoshopped image per issue.  Yesterday, the first day, was a twitter campaign aimed at print magazines. I tweeted Flare, Chatelaine and More Magazine.

This challenge is aimed primarily at how the images in print media affect young women and their body image. If I was 18 today I don't know how I would handle all the images coming at me of these "ideal" women who are mostly photoshopped.  The "ideal" we see in print rarely exists in nature.   But I also think that this affects older women too.   There seems to be a lot of societal messages that say older women no longer fit the ideal of beauty - which according to "them" is youth.  So we are supposed to understand that and start to become take a step back and become sort of invisible as we age.  Well I call bullshit!

I don't want women, of any age, being constantly bombarded with photoshopped images.   In the US 42% of first to third grade girls want to be thinner, while 80% of 10 year-old girls are afraid of getting fat (via Dove Real Beauty Campaign 2004).  80% of American 10 year-old girls say they have been on a diet.  I wonder how many diets women in their 40s would report having been on. I wonder how many of us are on one now.    Clearly looking at the 447%  increase of American cosmetic procedures in the past 10 years, we are doing more than dieting to fit the "ideal" (source).  I would expect the Canadian stats are probably not that different.  We have enough pressures in life, we don't need additional pressure to fit some impossible physical mold.

Put pressure on your favourite print magazine to show a more diverse range of models.  And start making a change to their photoshopping policies.  Just one non-photoshopped image a month is a great commitment to start.  And support blogs that show diversity of body types, or at least a body type, age, shape, ethnicity that reflects you.  I find it very reaffirming seeing other women, like me, who are calling bullshit to becoming invisible.  And are embracing themselves as they are, not who they were 20 years ago or who they might be in the future.

Take a look at this 1969 beach calendar shootfeatured on Searching for Style a few days ago.  And I love her comment "p.s. Notice the lack of retouching? It actually makes the photos look nicer!"  The shoot includes a number of young slim models that are certainly illustrated as aspirational. But they also look real.  Bathing suit bottoms dig into their hips.  There are little bellies. There are eyelid creases.  Their arms look like they might actually be able to swim in that ocean.  I've captured a few of the images (and some others) in my Pinterest board Owning Our Beauty.


Watch the Dove commercial that clearly illustrates what happens through make-up, hair, lighting and re-touching so that the beautiful woman at the beginning of the ad is unrecognizable by the end.

Or have an ironic laugh with this fake commercial which says "This commercial isn't real, neither are society's standards of beauty".

Personally I intend to continue to maintain my blog's editorial policy that has existed since the beginning...

I do not write about weight loss specific products,  age-reversing beauty products or plastic surgery.   My blog is about accepting who we are and embracing it.  Not changing it.

Me without make-up or retouching.

So now two questions for you

(1) Which print magazines do you read?  Do you subscribe or pick it up at the news stand?  I want to know which magazines I should continue to nudge to take on the Keep It Real Challenge.

(2) You don't need to answer this one out loud. But ask yourself if the all knowing Genie were to appear tomorrow and grant you 3 wishes. Would losing xx lbs, or looking xx years younger be one of your wishes?  And if you honestly answered yes, then think about how you can start accepting and celebrating your physical self as you are...now...today.   Because that ideal in the media - isn't real.