Beautiful Women’s Hips Are Thinner Than Their Heads?

Are women more beautiful when they are thin, thin, thin?  Are they more beautiful when their hips are thinner than their heads?

Ralph Lauren apparently thinks so. Check out these images of model, Filippa Hamilton before and after photoshop:


         Before photoshop                       After photoshop           

Ok, I’ve definitely been duped by insane notions of beauty. But these go too far.

I don’t care how much the camera gazes at this eerie image, telling me it’s beautiful, I don’t buy it.

Oddly, this bizarre image is making me rethink the attractiveness of considerably less touched-up photos.

Does Britney Spears really look better thinner? Many will say yes, but (surprising even myself) I don’t. I’m happy to report that I think Britney looks just as beautiful smaller or “bigger” (she’s not really that big).

Google images

Meanwhile, Germany’s most popular women’s magazine, Brigitte, has chosen to stop using professional models, keeping to real, non-starving and non-photoshopped women. What a breath of fresh air! They may be more attractive, taller, and thinner than average, but at least they’re not abnormal.

Click to view image      Click to view image       Click to view image      Click to view image
For more images, see Jezebel 

 
Ok, the one on the left could probably use a coat.

Who’s more beautiful, a Ralph Lauren fake lady or a Brigitte real woman?

I vote for the real woman, any day!

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About BroadBlogs

I have a Ph.D. from UCLA in sociology (emphasis: gender, social psych, women's psych). I currently teach sociology and women's studies at Foothill College in Los Altos Hills, CA. I have also lectured at San Jose State University. And I have blogged for Ms. Magazine, The Good Men Project and Daily Kos.

Posted on November 1, 2010, in body image, feminism, gender, sexism, women and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 35 Comments.

  1. Great Job Georgia- I am so happy to see someone else jumping on this besides me. and I am thrilled to hear about Germany!

  2. Jessica Talavera

    I agree 100% with this article. Women are beautiful and we shouldn’t be photoshopped. If you want us to model for you, then you like us for how we look with out the photoshop so why do they anyway. That just makes young girls feel horrible about how the look and want to look much thiner than what they already are. I think that all magazines should be like “Brigitte” and go for the natural look of the women’s body not the one they want them to have.

  3. I also agree with this article 100%. I think real beauty is key. If we had real women of all sizes and shapes posted all over every where stating how beautiful all women of all sizes were, maybe we wouldn’t have such a big problem with younger girls thinking if your ribs aren’t showing your not skinny enough!! Photoshopping images makes women have these false beliefs that these ladies really look like this everyday of their lives, and it is just not possible!

  4. As feminist, I find it offensive how the media is manipulating the image of beauty through photoshop. It’s also quite degrading because the media is using the notion that not everyone is innately perfect, so using photoshop can fix that genetic handicap. The women in both beauty and fashion magazines are perceived to be perfect in every way, when in real life, they have flaws and imperfections like almost everyone else. Women who read these magazines and children who see these magazines will try to be like the feigned image on the cover page, rather than acknowledging the fact that the models are not perfect as they appear to be. Contrary to popular belief, the negative effects are profoundly harsh on young teens because they are innocent to the concept of true beauty, the real genetic-based phenotypes you inherit from your parents rather than the beauty you get from make-up or photo editing. Personally, beauty magazines should embrace real women, like in “Briggite,” compare to mock-up images of women like in Ralph Lauren.

  5. I actually remember the whole air brushing controversy with model Filippa Hamilton, she was being interviewed about her current complaint about that magazine shoot. She had said that it was disgusting and because of it she would no longer work with Ralph Lauren companies and she was in the middle of a law suit because of that. Seeing her in the interview yes she was pretty thin, but nothing like the photo. At one point in time bigger was better for women, a sign of youth and wealth. Society and the fashion industry have definitely made it harder for average size women to feel average …

  6. I totally agree with this article. The woman that is on the Ralph Lauren photo looks sooooo unhealthy. I know that it’s photoshop and she isn’t really that thin, but there are a lot of girls who might look up to magazines like that. Media tends to favor “thin and beautiful” girls over “fat” girls. Whenever a star, ex: Brittney Spears, gains a couple of pounds-media rips her apart. She would be on every magazine cover with headlines such as “BRITTNEY: PREGNANT AGAIN OR FOOD BABY?” etc. I find that very wrong and disgusting. There’s nothing wrong with gaining/ losing a couple of pounds, but since the media basically tells young women to diet,diet..and diet, of course there are going to be problems with anorexia, bulimia and so like in our society.

  7. Attraction to thinness has no biological predisposition, as far as I’m concerned, and is completely socially conditioned. When seeking out a mate, the natural tendency is to find a person who is healthy and fit to reproduce. A woman with the waist and hips depicted in the extremely photoshopped Ralph Lauren ad probably wouldn’t have room for reproductive organs, let alone the ability to produce a healthy child. A standard of beauty that is literally impossible to achieve exists simply to perpetuate capitalist society. The more inadequate a woman feels compared to these glossy, false images, the more money she will spend in order to improve her self-image. To do so never gets at the root of the problem: society’s manipulation of our mental functioning.

  8. I was impressed when I saw this article. I completely believe that the media should allow the public to see the true beauty in anyone. You don’t need to be photo shopped to look amazing. I think it sad how women are portrayed in such an unrealistic way making so many women and girls feel insecurities when really they should be proud of how they look. Looking at the Ralph Lauren photo, I was disgusted. It’s not even attractive to me to see someone that skinny. Looking at the Britney photo, I wondered why the media would change her so much. To think even she must be changed by photo shop to make her look like she has no cellulite and her behind is that small, when in reality she is considered one of the more attractive people in the celebrity world. It is just sad to see that even people as beautiful as Britney Spears and Filippa Hamilton are not considered “good enough” for the media the way they are.

  9. I will definitely prefer real woman. Today the ultra slim toned body continues to be the dominant image in media. These fake and abnormal “beautiful” ladies are harmful to women and girls of all ages. The prevailing fake “beautiful” ladies convey a message that women are constructed as objects to be desired and imitated. In the pursuit of the “body beautiful”, women and girls of all ages risk their health to have expensive and even dangerous cosmetic surgeries, Botox injections, breast enlargements, and so on. Increasing incidents of anorexia nervosa and bulimia have become a severe social problem. Stop faking and keep real!

  10. I find photoshopping so bizarre. The word model insinuates the idea that these women who are posted all over magazines are “models” of what we should be, what we should look like. So is this what the world wants their women to look like? Emaciated? Sick? On the verge of death? Women’s self esteem will rise in general once we can flip open a magazine, turn on the TV, or look at a billboard and see a model who looks like us (tall, short, fat, skinny). Why is a beautiful woman like Filippa Hamilton, who is in great shape and gorgeous on her own, being shrunken down to the size of near nothingness? These skewed images are affecting women, AND they are affecting men, putting into their minds the idea that this is what women look like. Sorry to break it to you, but we’re not all stick thin, we’re not all six feet tall with legs that go on for days, and we’re not all flawless…we are round and we are skinny, we are black and we are white, we have long hair, and some have short hair, and we’re all different. We need to accept reality and start advertising THAT in our magazines.

  11. Steven K (R.Splitter EWRT 1B)

    Being a photographer, as a hobby, I rarely use any type of application to “modify” any of my pictures. I was always taught to take the right picture the first time rather then heavily “modifying” an image to make it beautiful. I feel shooting portraits fixing some minor things like changing the “red eye” function and maybe changing the settings for the whole picture. My question is where do we draw the line about how much modifications do we make to a person to make them beautiful? How does our society define what is “beautiful” or “sexy.” I feel our society should redefine the meaning of beauty instead of something that is superficial beauty to natural beauty.

  12. I totally agree with this article. The woman on the Ralph Lauren photoshopped picture looks so unrealistic, and I don’t think that’s beautiful. Today, the media, fashion industry, and television commercials all suggest that “thin is better”. The models with their extra thin looks dominate fashion and the media. Actually many models have eating disorder and many other severe health problems. Adolescents, and teens trying to mimic these fashion models are also making themselves ill. Those unrealistic standards contribute to the incidence of eating disorders among young women. It is so good to see those real, non-starving, and non-photoshopped women in Germany’s magazine. I think all sizes are beautiful, as long as you are healthy.

  13. Advertisements like this, despite appearing completely absurd, are incredibly dangerous. The media and society exalt this unrealistic and unobtainable ideal of beauty that women desperately try to seek. Because this “ideal” inundates us everywhere it reinforces this version of beauty gets established as normal, as the goal. And because it’s impossible, due to air-brushing, women are left feeling inadequate. There little girls out there desperately trying to look like Britney Spears but in fact Britney Spears can’t even look like Britney Spears. The vast majority of women look nothing like the super models found in magazines and on runways. But despite large numbers of the average woman the super skinny minority reigns supreme. Advertisements ultimately sell self-loathing more than anything else.

  14. Real women are very beautiful any day of the week and any time of the day. Besides what’s wrong with a woman who has meat on her bones?? You know…in this time, day, and age I never thought that skeletons would be considered attractive.

  15. Dunedainranger33

    Filippa Hamilton in the picture on the left: motherly, mature, healthy, powerful, natural, REAL. Filippa Hamilton in the picture on the right: unable to menstruate, premature, sickly, frail, fabricated, FAKE.

    In many periods and places throughout history, plump women were seen as beautiful and ideal. Even in countries like China, where the traditional view of feminine beauty is thinness, the culture found average and plump women beautiful at one point. Paintings found depicting China’s ancient Tang dynasty show many more plump women than average or thin women. The preference for plump women may have been because these women were seen as great child-bearers during a time when boys were needed to defend and run their country. India beautifies plump women for a few reasons–they are appealing as great child-bearers and they come from well-fed, economically sound families. Coming from a fruitful background shows a woman has been provided for and will be able to provide for her future family. Renaissance women and royal women of early-modern Europe were also preferred to be average or plump for much the same reasons.

    Fast-forward to modern-day: technology has taken over and created new social ideals meant to override biological ideals. Today, the “average” woman from history would be called “fat,” the “thin” woman from history would be “average,” the “ultra-thin” would be “a potential model, if she lost some weight” and the “skin and bones” woman from history is today’s “Top Model.”

    Technology and fashion are only getting more abstract and the media isn’t going to stop. Women must choose to own their bodies and own their ideals–only through these choices will the media be forced to change.

  16. Vita Castaneda-Morgan

    This is such an interesting subject, and it’s in our everyday lives, whether we know it or not. When we see magazines or billboards we aren’t even looking at natural human beings anymore, we are looking at a person who has been modified to look like an ideal. The photoshopped picture of Filippa Hamilton looks so strange she almost looks like an alien. I don’t understand how that is attractive to anyone, she looks inhumane, she was beyond beautiful to begin with. I think its so awesome that Brigitte has decided to put real women i their magazine, if it is a magazine for women, it should have REAL women in it.
    I don’t know if you’ve seen this, but here is a short video that touches on this subject:

  17. Kimberly jane

    Its amazing to me how the media drives the consumers, while these touched up photos look more aesthetically pleasing, the messages being sent to all the young girls out there that turn the pages of the magazines that contain these images is negative at best. It creates these impossible ideals and unattainable bodies that make these young girls believe that that’s what they should look like, and if they dont look like that then they need to try too.

    I can speak on this topic from experience, everyday I struggle with body image issues where I cant accept my own body. I am by no means fat, but I definitely dont fit the image of a model. Growing up I was always thin and petite, now that im in my 20s and i dont have that same metabolism, I cant help but look at these images and feel a sense of sadness that i dont look like that. I can admit that i equate happiness with being skinny, and I know many of my friends that do as well, i only wish i knew how to move away from that.

    Because our culture idealizes these photo shopped images, and dont offer an alternative image, it will be hard for the future generations to gain a different perspective. If more magazines like Briggite were made, then maybe we could see a drop in eating disorders, and a rise in self esteem.

  18. Mileen Zarin

    I can honestly say I was shocked when I saw the before and after photo of the Ralph Lauren catalog cover. Ralph Lauren has always been one of my favorite designers but I couldn’t believe that they made the model look abnormally thin. In the before photo she looks beautiful and healthy while in the after, she looks so unhealthy it almost makes you look twice (which could be apart of their marketing tactics). Regardless, it sends women the wrong message and creates the mentality that beauty (in regards to Ralph Lauren) means looking beautiful in their clothing when you look like the model. The same goes for the Britney Spears before and after. Although the second image may be more pleasing to the eye, the before is a more realistic depiction of a women who has given birth to children and has abused alcohol/drugs, etc. As for the German magazine, it was a breath of fresh air to see models who looked like normal everyday women you would see. They maintained a good physique while not looking unhealthy with their bones and ribs sticking out.

  19. I remember seeing those unretouched photos of Britney a while back and feeling offended. I’ve been a fan of her’s nearly my whole life and now that she’s had several kids and had some emotional problems and gotten older, she’s doesn’t have the “perfect” body she once did. So what? She is still sexy, beautiful, strong, talented, and everything she has always been. But by photoshopping her image, it’s like saying she’s not good enough anymore. She’s not as hot anymore. And that’s wrong. Recent photos I’ve seen in magazine’s of her are also completely Photoshopped to the point where it hardly looks like her anymore. I’d much rather see a natural looking photo of her than see almost a DRAWING of what the world wishes she looked like. Now girls my age will even Photoshop their bodies in their Facebook photos, clearly showing that this has an effect on them. It saddens me to see that happen because if a woman is HEALTHY then they shouldn’t be ashamed of what they look like. I think that everyone should work to be healthy, such as eating healthy foods and doing some exercise and sleeping well, but beyond that, it shouldn’t be so incredible if someone looses weight. I hate that there is so much pressure to look perfect in society. Even at my college, nearly every girl works out every day, is very thin, and dresses up with perfect hair and makeup every day. It makes me feel disgusting some days when I just want to walk around in a baggy sweatshirt and eat bags of candy. We shouldn’t be so caught up in these things- we should be getting caught up in what someone has to offer in terms of their personalities. Cover girls should be cover girls because they are role models and have a great story to tell. It shouldn’t be about how thin they are.

  20. I agree. I believe the media and magazines should go for the natural look like Brigitte does. I was reading People Magazine earlier today and they were showing pictures of celebrities without any make-up on. It was refreshing seeing them go with the natural look. Some of them have always had their make-up done a little heavily so they look better with make-up on. This is why I hardly wear make up. All I use is a little eye line, eye shadow, mascara, and lip gloss..usually no eye liner though. If i need foundation, blush, or concealer to cover up something up I occasionally use it. Most of the time all I need is chapstick. It keeps you looking younger if you don’t use too much make up. You have to drink water, and used some cleansers and sunscreen..especially after you have had make up on in order to open your pores. These are some things the celebrities stated in the magazine.

  21. i think really thin girls like this are gross. Not because i am not thin, but because it looks artificial. Maybe that is the ideal “beauty” but it is definitely a beauty group that i don’t care to join. There was this dove commercial that a really pretty young lady trained for by loosing weight and staying fit. Then once she got there they took her pictures and modified them to make her look “perfect”. It was a cool video clip i watched in high school and really told a lot about how fucked up the advertisement industry is. I wish other young ladies could see threw these fake perfect models and realize that the real beauty is someone who is natural!

  22. I agree the media is slowly trying to do away with individuality and natural beauty. Its funny because even the skinniest of models are still getting touched up, so basically the media is trying to create an image that is impossible and does not exist. The media is really kinda pushing it when it comes to the idea of perfection. I believe that perfection is in someones flaws meaning that the little things like a piercing/tattoo, big thighs, big butt, love handles, etc. things like that are what makes girls who they are. It separates you from anyone else out there in the world and those are the things men fall in love with for real. Studies show that a high percentage of men actually prefer women with some thickness as opposed to bones poking out.

  23. I agree with a lot of what people have said earlier; it’s just crazy how these companies will dramatically change a woman’s appearance to look “sexier.” I’ve seen the video Vita posted before and it comes to illustrate how dramatically different a woman can look after the make-up and photo shopping. All these models are what teen girls usually look up and it distorts their perception of what they should look like to be attractive. It also sets unrealistically high standards for guys as to how their girl should look like. As Smeeta also noted, I feel that these Ralph Lauren models are quite unattractive. Who wants to be thaaat thin? The magazines and advertisements try to fool us! What a scam!

  24. I completely agree with this article. I don’t think its fair that we have to see a distorted image of someone modeling. When models are chosen for an ad campaign i believe it is because they have a certain look about them. Why would you waste your time picking someone just to distort them and take away from their natural beauty. I don’t understand why the fashion industry, modeling or even Hollywood find this so attractive and so appealing when in all reality it isn’t. In the 50′s, 60′s and even before then there was no such thing as photo shop or computers, women where women and people were okay with that. I personally would never compare myself or degrade my self to a photo shop image.

  25. I agree with the Germany-based magazine “Brigitte” because the magazines and issues promulgated in the media tend to influence plenty of women especially the young girls and teenage girls to which are influenced the most; to be sickly thin and make them think that being thin is “sexy, beautiful and excepted in society”. The media outlets in America are usually created to target young women and their message is inculcated everywhere in grocery store checkout lanes, billboards, bus stops, and even at times by their peers and adults. Women need to understand that being healthy to have a long life is essential, but not to be influenced that being abnormally thin is important to life cause that is unhealthy and can lead to plenty of health problems.

  26. Although “Brigitte” says they don’t hire “professional models” the ones selected in the photographs seem to follow a certain formula. The only things they have that could really be considered “flaws” are the wrinkles and freckles on the model on the front page (but I would not consider them as such). The caption says that the magazine is mixing “famous and unknown women” it does not mention picking average women. Also glancing at their website, it seems most (if not all) of their models they use are still slender women with fair complexion. Despite the idea being commendable the execution of the idea falls short. Although on technicality they may be abiding by the “real women rule” I am just slightly disappointed by the variety of women chosen. As for the examples used in this post, I have not noticed other examples of models being photoshopped to minimize the hips, unless it is to alter the image as they in the way Britney Spears’ photograph was changed. The altered image of Filippa Hamilton honestly weirds me out a bit. It almost evokes a child-like feeling from the picture. I am also going to admit that the Britney Spears image doesn’t quite affect me as much. Maybe this is because I was raised with this visualization that to be attractive you had to have no cellulite. Maybe the lack of cellulite could also be associated with youth? Either way, in that example of altered images the cellulite was the thing I noticed the most (aside from the overall darkening of Britney’s skin). As a final note, I personally find more meaning in the “Evolution of Beauty” video that Vita posted than the Jezebel link (I had seen it before, but I had forgotten about it).

  27. What surprised me about the pictures of Brittany, was that I would not have realized how photo-shopped she was without seeing the before. Although, I instinctively know that women do not look like the after naturally, I am so accustomed to seeing that image, that it seemed normal.
    I found the photo-shopping on the Ralph Lauren model even more disturbing though. While Brittany’s image was retouched, she still had healthy proportions. The model, however, looks completely unnatural with her impossibly thin hips. It is disgusting that the media teaches women that this is beauty.

  28. I completely agree with this article, women should be photograph and printed as they are naturally without the help of photo-shopping. Women who come from all shapes and sizes are beautiful exactly the way they are, maybe not to everyone in the world because of this issue, but to some they’re already perfect. Because of photo-shopping men and women have unrealistic ideas about what makes a women’s outside appearance beautiful. This can and most likely does hurt both the men and women of the world. Men who see these photo-shopped women wait around for someone who is equally perfect, as is someone that will never come, leaving them unsatisfied with every other woman whether he chooses to “settle” or not for the “imperfect.” Women will go to extremes to force their bodies to take the shape or size of these perfect images which may be and often is dangerous to their health physically, emotionally, and mentally in order to look the way men want them to.

  29. It’s disgusting. I would never buy this magazine. I have never thought that Photoshop is able to make big changes with body.

    Women should be natural. That’s it! In my opinion, NATURAL BEAUTY – BEST BEAUTY.

    Unfortunately, the word «beauty» is very different to all. Ralph Lauren shows us clearly anorexic girl who is not beautiful for many of us and even ugly.
    This kind of magazines gives us a distorted view of female beauty, which primarily affects the teenage generation, who are trying to copy their idols.

    I totally support that the Brigitte has chosen stop using professional models. Less make up, essential bodies, real faces and smiles – they make sense.

  30. Ashley Steffenson

    This is a deeply rooted issue that can be seen every single day within society, media, and even peers. There’s this obsession with being skinny and this thought that “bigger” is uglier and your value depends on your body and your looks. It’s a saddening shame. And to distort someone’s face or body for the sake of an ad or a product is absolutely appalling. For someone to deem whether or not you’re pretty enough to fire up the market or if judges whether you define sexy or beautiful is gross. Each individual can define that for themselves without messages about starving yourself to look a certain way or compiling all of your self confidence into whether or not you meet the standard of “beauty”. Who made that standard of beauty anyways? Who made that rule? Likely some older white guy made it for you. You make your own rules. You define beauty for yourself. Nobody knows you or your body better than yourself. Not the media or society or important figure heads. The true beauty that lies in people comes from all the differences we have. Setting a standard and expecting us to all be the same is completely silly because we aren’t all the same. We are all different. And we shouldn’t be encouraging young girls who are starving themselves for a ‘thigh gap’ or to be a size zero. We should teach young girls that it’s important to love yourself and respect your body. Photo editing to this degree is sending out the wrong message.

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