How Photoshop and the Media Have Made Us Hate Ourselves + A Great Book & 5 Reason to Love Yourself Out of Sheer Rebellion


Photoshopping images, retouching and other digital alterations have always been a sensitive subject for me. Not just because I find it to be counter-productive to completely alter the way someone looks, but also because it’s had a huge contribution on the way we, as women, see ourselves and others and personally, I’m tired of the brainwash.

Now, when I say photo shop, I don’t mean a few spots removed or color correction. I mean, body alteration from fat to thin ( or worse, thin to thinner ) and other “retouches” that literally change the way the person looks altogether. I don’t think there’s much wrong with minor retouching, but I do think there’s a huge problem with going overboard and that kind of thing seems to be the norm in the media.

As seen above, the retouching is obviously out of control, but what gets me is… why is the girl on the left considered more beautiful than the girl on the right? I know they are the same girl, and truthfully both are beautiful, but why do we consider the right to be superior? And more than that, why do the media think it’s okay to do alterations like this in the first place? Have we given them permission subconsciously and silently said to them, “We want thinner models. Thin is in.” ? Because I think they’re the ones creating this ideal, not us. Most of us are not the “ideal” and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that, though media images might tell us otherwise.

Aside from successfully (or so it may seem) convincing us that we are too fat, they’ve also seemingly convinced us that we are too old, wrinkly (word invention?), and ugly so we constantly feel inferior to the rich and famous, despite the fact that it’s now more or less public knowledge that many photos of celebs and models are doctored beyond recognition. I highly recommend checking out the above post from Love & Knuckles because there are tons of photos on there that will make you feel better about yourself and realize that, yes, celebs are actually still human like us. Yay!

Lastly, I would like to say that while I do think health and fitness are important for overall longevity and happy, healthy lives, I also think they are not the end all be all. And, try to ignore crap like BMI’s which really don’t have any actual standing on your fat percentage or health. Seriously. Look up the history of the term BMI and you will be shocked, but that’s for another day. On a last note, I also want to mention that, at least here in the USA, the government has even lowered optimal weight thresholds so that many who were not considered overweight before are now considered overweight. If you ask me, they’ve done it to fuel private interest groups like health food corporations and diet companies ( like weight watchers ) by convincing Americans we’re fatter than ever and we need their products. I’m not saying I don’t believe we need to eat healthier or even that we’re not overweight on a whole, but a crisis? I don’t know if I believe that one and you can learn more about the lowering of the weight threshold issue here. You can also check out several documentaries discussing this topic, if you like. Netflix has some good ones!

Hungry by Crystal Renn

Check this book out on Amazon – here.

Also, this really fantastic book that I recently read about world famous fashion model, Crystal Renn, is fantastic. In it, she discusses her own struggle with body image, weight, healthy eating and exercises, and the pressure of the media and her job. It is truly an excellent book for anyone, young or old, male or female – highly recommend it!

Another really good series that ponders on our ideas of beauty and body image in a less direct way, but is still really great is the Uglies series by Scott Westerfeld. It’s one of my favorites!

Lastly, I hate to end on such a downer note so here are 5 ways to fight back against all the crap the media tries to put in our heads and why flipping the bird to them might be a good idea. 😉

Until my next rage-filled post about media, weight & all that crap, Viva La Resistance! 

5 Reasons to Love Yourself Out of Sheer Rebellion

  1. Ignore the Status Quo & Just Be Yourself. Defying social norms, the status quo, whatever you want to call it really pisses people off and that’s kind of fun when you think about it. Seriously. I have always been kind of “off beat” when it comes to fashion and style, even as far back as grade school. In middle school, a popular girl once approached me asking “So, like, Tianna, what are you???” To which I responded – Hi I’m Tianna. I’m a person and a girl. Nice to meet you. To which she was left speechless. Trust me when I say this sort of attitude is awesome for throwing people off.
  2. Be Confident & Proud of It. As Marianne Williamson preaches, allowing yourself to be confident and shine will subconsciously allow others to do the same. So you will literally help others be more confident by being confident yourself. ( See the Marianne Williamson quote I’m talking about here. )
  3. Be Unique! Not that you aren’t already, but taking a stand against the “ideal” and being content in your own skin inadvertently makes you that much more unique and original. Certainly, we are all individuals, but this will make you stand out more.
  4. Blaze Your Own Trail. I feel like, as a people, we’re often obsessed with trends and even I’m guilty of this. I run a beauty blog and I love seeing and following new trends, but that being said, I also love doing my own thing. I was the 8th grader wearing my mom’s old clothes from the 1980’s before the 80’s look came back. I actually recall a “friend” telling me I should take it off, that I looked stupid. I can fondly remember seeing her in high school a few years later ( when the 80’s trend was in ) sporting all kinds of eighties looking outfits so that bee-yotch can SUCK IT! I was ahead of my time 😉 . The moral of the story? You don’t have to follow others to be cool. You can have your own way and be your own kind of cool that isn’t cool yet. Who cares? 
  5. Your Life Is Easier & Happier. Not only will you not care about starving yourself, you won’t feel the need to. You’ll be happier because you won’t waste time standing in your own way and preventing yourself from living life to the fullest and you also won’t be bothered or feel pressured by the unrealistic standards of the media so you’ll feel less stressed and more content. 

So, that’s all for now. It’s certainly not all I have to say on the subject because that would be a hugely long post that could go on forever and I’d rather not keep you ( or bore you ) so I’ll save it for another day. For now, I just want to say, none of us is perfect and that’s just fine. It’s okay if you want to improve yourself, but make sure it’s in a healthy, productive and realistic way that doesn’t involve self harm or hate because, in the end, it’s just not worth it despite what the media tells you.

What are your thoughts on this topic?

I’d love to chat with you in the comments! 


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12 thoughts on “How Photoshop and the Media Have Made Us Hate Ourselves + A Great Book & 5 Reason to Love Yourself Out of Sheer Rebellion

  1. February 26, 2013 at 10:34 PM

    I regard retouching as applying make-up to the photo. Concealing minor imperfections. However altering a picture is crossing the line. The second Kate Moss picture looks artificial. I would prefer a more gentle retouch. As I am not a fan of that particular “filter.” Subjectively displaying wrinkles aren´t a big deal. We see them every day on the streets.

    1. February 27, 2013 at 7:32 PM

      I agree. I think enhancing is one thing. Changing the way someone looks entirely is another.

      1. February 27, 2013 at 7:40 PM

        Yes that is completely wrong. I think more natural retouched photos are better!

  2. February 26, 2013 at 11:49 PM

    Ah, I think of this all the time. I have a different style and look than most western women, and I’m constantly put down because of that. However, i feel like women should be able to pick their own looks and ways of being themselves. Why do we have to be the same cookie cutter model that is dictated by others?

    1. February 27, 2013 at 7:34 PM

      Definitely. There are many different types and forms of beauty – this difference makes the world a wonderful place and each of us unique. xx

  3. February 27, 2013 at 11:31 AM

    Great post! I absolutely agree with you. I think it’s ok to have some flaws and those so-called ”perfect” images don’t appeal to me at all. Show me a real girl, a girl who has pores, some wrinkles, curves or whatever but it has to be real. Just because a like make-up to enhance my favourite features doesn’t mean I like fake ”beauty”. The one thing that bothers me the most is the whole fat/skinny issue. Don’t most people know that that’s something in the middle of those called normal?

    1. February 27, 2013 at 7:35 PM

      Yeah I totally agree. The photoshopping has just gotten totally out of hand and there is really no representation of the average girl. There’s just 2 extremes.

  4. March 28, 2013 at 7:23 PM

    Awesome post!! I agree 100%

    1. March 28, 2013 at 9:02 PM

      Thanks! I’m really glad you like it <3

  5. March 2, 2016 at 5:34 AM

    Fantastic post. I can’t wait to show this to my daughter. Society as a whole puts to much pressure on people (especially young people) to be what they see in the media and the reality of that media is not even represented. This creates too high of expectations and then more extensive body image issues.
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    1. March 2, 2016 at 8:41 AM

      Thanks so much, Heather! I’m glad you liked my post 🙂 I definitely think society puts so much pressure on people to be the shining examples of what we see in media and ads. I definitely think the reality is almost never represented and if it is, it’s represented in such a way that implies there’s something flawed or “wrong” with it. I definitely think it’s an ongoing issue we all need to tackle and I think it’s so wonderful you take an interest in your daughter. I think it’s so easy to kind of abandon teens and think “they’re old enough” when they really do need guidance at that age. It’s definitely a time where I felt most lost and I think I could’ve benefited greatly from parents telling me I didn’t need to worry about the media or that I was good enough just as I am. Those are things we need to hear any time, but especially during teens and even early 20’s.

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