Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Message in a bottle

Yeah, I know, it's September 11th. I should blog about something deeply, profoundly patriotic, or at least spiritual, since this is not only the 6th anniversary of the fall of the twin towers, but also the 150th anniversary of the Mountain Meadows Massacre. I should, but I'm not going to.

Instead, I'm going to comment on iWNEX studios services. If you want to see a sample of what they do, look at their portfolio of re-touched celebrity photos. I'm not surprised that celebrity pictures are frequently heavily re-touched before being printed in magazines and such (it's expected, in fact), but the extent to which faces and bodies are manipulated is impressive. Eva Longoria (a rather tiny woman in real life) is made skinnier, as is Kelly Clarkson, and just about every other female celebrity pictured. Ever wonder why celebrities often bear only a passing resemblance to themselves on the cover of Cosmo or Vogue? Well, this is probably why.

I wonder at the utility of creating these idealized images for we women to compare ourselves to and chase after. I realize there are whole industries built up around the pursuit of physical perfection (photo re-touching being only one of many), and I realize our physical appearance plays into social hierarchies, but still, how useful is pursuit of an unobtainable ideal? How useful is it that we spend so many resources and so much energy in trying to become something that nobody could actually be?

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