I’ve spent the last 5 Saturdays on an introduction to photography course and it’s been absolutely ace. I love taking pics but until 5 weeks ago was doing it entirely on my iphone….and now I’ve learnt how to use a proper camera. The difference in the picture quality was well worth it!
Today’s lesson was all about photoshop and it’s an incredible tool but some elements of it made me feel deeply uncomfortable. I’m all for sharpening an image and playing with the colour contrast but as I sat today trying to erase a chicken pox scar from this photo of my 14 month old daughter’s beautiful face, I started to think about what high expectations there will be on body image when she and her big bro are growing up.
Will unphotoshopped pictures even exist? I undid my ‘blemish removal’ work pronto and left the tiny scar there in all its glory by the way because I sure as hell don’t want her growing up self conscious about it. It’s barely noticeable anyway.
The 5 pics I submitted to the tutor for printing had nothing erased from them and just a spot of colour touch ups (on the grass or sky) & a wee bit of vignette.
I already have some friends who are really pretty, but joke on social media that they wish snapchat filters could be applied in real life. What the actual? You want to walk around with dog ears? Okaaaaay!
And of course Beyoncé has recently released this casual snap of her with her 1 month old twins. Here it is, compared with a pic of a normal person (me) also with a month old baby.
I’m not saying I look good on my pic, I really don’t, but what you see here is REAL. A seriously saggy tummy that hasn’t quite deflated yet, stretch maternity pants. 1 month in I couldn’t have just popped a pair of bikini bottoms on because I was still wearing heavy duty maternity pads to stem the post partum flow. I’m sorry if that’s too much info, but it’s real life.
I mean, I know she’s a mega star but really?! What kind of message do these heavily photoshopped images send out to her fan base? If you think that stomach hasn’t been tampered with, you are completely delusional.
I want my kids to grow up comfortable in their own skin. It’s taken me 38 years of being somewhat uncomfortable in mine to finally accept it. I’ve lived through a chubby, secret-eating childhood, teenage years being bullied about my size and zero male interest as a result, followed by an entire adult life of being up and down with my weight, I’m still not at my “target weight” but I’m ok with that. My goals are to do with my health not my dress size. I’ll never be skinny but you know what, I tried that look once (or twice) and it doesn’t suit me.
So what I’ve got now is a tummy which will never be flat, but has grown two humans, unsightly purple stretch marks on my hips, and thread veined legs which have carried me round 2 marathons, countless half marathons, 10ks and a handful of triathlons. And I think that’s pretty fabulous. I’m all for eating well and exercising to stay healthy but I wont be photoshopping myself or my family anytime soon, because it’s going to be hard enough to get them growing up confident in their skin with all the filters, contours and blemish removal tweaks going on.
So do one Bey and your weird curtains and veil combo. Twins look cute and congrats and all that, but your tummy being that flat a month later….just not real life. I hope other new mums aren’t feeling the pressure to snap back into shape as a result. Sorry for ranting but I just think it’s a massive shame that real isn’t deemed beautiful or aesthetically pleasing in the public eye anymore!