Turning Women into Cardboard Cutouts…

31 Oct 2013

Laura Willard posted a great video on Upworthy that has since gone viral, entitled See Why We Have An Absolutely Ridiculous Standard Of Beauty In Just 37 Seconds

This is the best example I’ve seen of the destructive power of the endless “Barbie-izing” of women and girls.

Both sexes get an exaggerated and unrealistic vision of what women look like. Who can meet these expectations? This sets us up for failure and disappointment in many areas. In relationship, men may look less favorably at their real options because they have been conditioned to want the fake ones — or at least to think that the illusion actually exists.  Many women damn themselves when they look in the mirror, assuming something must be wrong with them if they can’t match up to an ideal that even the model herself does not approach.

In one example of cosmetic commercials on TV, Diane Keaton, a woman in her sixties, is so blown out and airbrushed, she hasn’t got a line on her face.  No make-up is going to do that for any woman of 66, nor should it.  She is beautiful just as she is. Ms. Keaton should be celebrated for her real looks.

By selling this bill of goods and glamourizing the impossible, we make the possible seem less-than, drab, wrong and not good enough.

Since we can now digitize and airbrush live images, not just magazine photos, this practice has become so pervasive, we are brainwashed into assuming what is false is real. Therefore, when we see something real, we are prone to criticize it because it doesn’t meet these false standards of beauty.

Would we be able to accept people who are not airbrushed?  In time, perhaps, but only if we see and reward enough real images to the point where the phony ones look like the plastic they are.

Since today is Hallowe’en, perhaps it is fitting that we are looking at a woman wearing an airbrushed mask.  Now what do we do about the other 364 days of the year?



  1. Anita,

    What a great article. It is amazing how we continue to do things like this to ourselves as women. We allow the media and society to shape the minds of our daughters.

    • Kelly, thanks so much for your comment. The moer we point this out — especially with visual aids like this one, the better chance we will have of changing the paradigm. But it will b e a very hard shift. Brainwashing like this is so hard to let go of.

  2. Wow! The video is incredibly illustrative and effective at showing the creepy freakishness of all these alterations in the name of “beauty.” Ugh!

    As women we need to say NO! End of discussion. We won’t buy it and we won’t sell it – if this plays any part of the packaging.

    As you say. These kinds of distortions hurt all.

    • The problem is that even if we out here on the ground say no, celebrities and all those being photographed need to say no, too. It’s all in the power of the purse from our end and, ironically, from theirs as well if they feel their livelihood depends on saying yes.

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