If I had I been more spiritually evolved, or more grounded at 22 when I got breast implants, I never would have gotten them. Yes I got lots of attention, sexual attention. And for awhile I enjoyed it. But as the saying goes, be careful what you wish for. It became apparent that the attention I received was not from quality people… Why did I mutilate my body to appease the tastes of SOME men? We were all duped by the media, the medical profession, our low self-esteem. I am now ready to have these D cups removed.
“How to be a Victoria’s Secret Angel” Jezebel’s banner teased. “Not that you can be one. You can’t,” ran the verdict following the hopeful headline.
“What people don’t realize is that they’re rarer by far than superstar athletes,” proclaimed Ed Razek, Limited’s chief marketing officer (they also own VS). “The numbers of people who can do this are probably under 100 in the world.”
After all, angels must be skinny and buxom, but also fit enough looking to believably hold up heavy wings. Hard to do all three at the same time (or even two).
Sometime-angel, Angela Lindvall told the New York Times she jumped rope and ate nothing but spinach, chard and kale to lose 20 pounds, post-pregnancy, to “make weight.” Others hire personal trainers, take many-mile runs, do squats and lunges, and generally “kill ourselves,” as one put it.
This Thanksgiving angel Adriana Lim ate no solid foods — only powdered egg-enriched protein shakes. She then added twice-a-day workouts. Finally, no food at all 12 hours before the show, which helps her lose up to eight pounds.
And the resulting body is what all women are supposed to look like? What sort of completely insane society do we live in?
The models “kill themselves” for a few months to acquire angel status. Yet the message is that all women can look like them by simply dawning VC bras and panties.
Much of advertising works by making people feel inadequate – which comes easily when an unachievable ideal is placed before us. But Victoria’s Secret offers a product to help! Really?
The message must be working. Sales are up.
A little VS can add some fun. But don’t stress if you don’t look like an angel. Most of the time, the angels don’t either.
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 figure 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).
Recently the new Duchess of Cambridge, Catherine Middleton, was photoshopped making her tiny waist appear impossibly thin. Is the new wasp-waist more lovely? I think not.
Fortunately, 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.
I vote for the real woman, any day!
A version of this piece was originally published Nov. 1, 2010.
Bad news to update ladies. Looks like two years late Brigitte recanted their decision. Kinda sucks.
Ask a guy why he looks at porn and he’s likely to say that men are just naturally attracted to women. But the women in porn don’t look too natural.
Actually, women in fashion magazines and billboards don’t look too natural, either.
Women and men both learn to admire a feminine ideal that ends up frustrating both men and women.
Most women have to starve themselves to be ideally skinny. Many models are so thin that they have stopped menstruating. Isn’t the natural instinct to stay alive and well?
And how about fake breasts? If men are naturally drawn to breasts, why do so many women go under the knife and mutilate themselves so that men – and society – will find them attractive?
Then there’s the preference for blondes. Few women past puberty are true blondes. But unnaturally bleached hair is the top color of choice, both for men and for women who want to look beautiful. Well, at least peroxide doesn’t require enormous amounts of money or risk much bodily harm.
So models go through all their pain and suffering, but it’s not quite enough. Next, the malnourished, plastic-chested, bleached out images go to be photoshopped and airbrushed to look even more fake than they already are.
So women try in vain to match ridiculous notions of beauty. Then get depressed because nothing they do seems to work.
But the models don’t look like “themselves,” either!
At the same time, male students have told me that all this hurts them, too. “What’s wrong with me?” they wonder. “Why can’t I get women who look like THAT?”
Well, those “picture perfect” women don’t actually exist.
So women can never achieve the ideal. And men can never have the ideal woman.
Meanwhile, men are left feeling “naturally” attracted to something that isn’t natural.
It had not occurred to me that that wasn’t a possibility. It’s what my culture said I was supposed to look like. What I needed to look like to be truly valued.
Full of contradictions, I began my supermodel project. But in a healthy sort of way, I told myself. Wasn’t going to starve. No anorexia or bulimia for me.
I later came to see that I did end up with an eating disorder.
I became obsessed with food. How much had I eaten that day? Constantly counting calories. My worth depended upon how well I had eaten.
At times I swung between overeating and starving. Very little starving – I wasn’t good at it.
I next developed an exercise obsession. You can’t get too much exercise, right? After developing a knee injury from jogging, I tried Nordic Track. Another knee injury. Next, I began walking three miles a day at a brisk pace. Yet another knee injury. Apparently, you can rub your cartilage too much from over-exercise and lack of rest. My physical therapist told me to start biking instead – and don’t overdo it! No more than four days a week, and no hills.
After all the food and exercise mania, I still looked nothing like a supermodel. One day standing in line at a grocery store I picked up People Magazine and read a story on how supermodels did it. I finally understood why I didn’t look like them, and never would.
Kim Alexis had tried every fad diet and at one point starved herself for four days straight.
Carol Alt went on a fruit-only diet. Later, she drank eight cups of coffee a day, and ate salad for dinner.
Andie Macdowell said many models took drugs to deal with the stress of starving.
What struck me most was when Kim Alexis said,
When I first started out, I was rooming in a New York City hotel with (supermodel) Kelly Emberg. One night I came home, and I was eating only a head of lettuce for dinner. Kelly walked in and said, “You’re eating a whole head of lettuce? How could you?” I cried and said, “But it’s all I’ve had all day. It’s not even 50 calories!”
To which I say, “Are you freaking kidding me?!” That big “cheat” would be insane dieting in my book. In anyone’s book, one would hope.
That’s when my hopes for supermodel slim were dashed.
Yes, I had been insane. But not that insane.
And it’s not just me. It’s society. What kind of crazy culture says women must feel guilty about eating nothing but a head of lettuce to “look good”?
So I determined to gain my mental and physical health back. I’ve had ups and downs, but so far so good.
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