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Christie Brinkley was on the cover of People magazine, and I pointed out the story to the twins: “Can you believe she’s 60?”

“She doesn’t look 60,” the Wolvog agreed despite NEVER being able to judge a person’s age regardless.

“How does a person not look their age?” the ChickieNob asked.

“You have a lot of work done,” I commented.

“You get a job?”

“Well no, it’s just something people say when someone else has had plastic surgery or other treatments to change their skin or hair or body.  I actually don’t know if she’s done anything to enhance herself so I shouldn’t say that*.  But a lot of women do have surgery and then other women compare their natural body to that surgically-enhanced body, but it isn’t a fair comparison.”

“She’s definitely been Photoshopped,” Josh commented.  There was not one blemish on her perfectly smooth, perfectly highlighted legs.

The ChickieNob is taking a digital illustration class utilizing Photoshop so she stared at the picture.  “How was it Photoshopped?”

“Sweetie, when you see pictures of people in magazines, they’ve been digitally altered.  Even in movies, they sometimes digitally alter people’s image sometimes, frame by frame.”

We started showing them videos on YouTube, explaining how images are manipulated until the final result looks nothing like the original model.

Or this one; a little hair and make-up, and a whole lot of Photoshopping:

Later that day, I took the twins to the library to check out books, and while I was talking to the librarian, I noticed that the ChickieNob had wandered over to the magazine rack and was perusing all the covers.  I walked over to look at the pictures with her.

“All these women have been Photoshopped,” she said, running her finger over Rihanna’s nose.  “I don’t think her neck looks that long when she’s singing.”

“No, they probably lengthened it,” I agreed.  “But take a look at the faces of the men.”

She touched the crow’s feet, lining their eyes, and the wrinkles in their foreheads and the stubble along their jaw line.  “They left all the things that make them look old.”

“I’m sure they’ve been Photoshopped too.  But their skin hasn’t been smoothed out and had all the blemishes removed.  They’re still allowed to look a little like a human being.”

You could practically see the little gears in her head turning, and she returned to the topic a few more times since, wondering why women’s bodies are changed and why we can’t just look the way we look and how do women feel when they see themselves Photoshopped and can they ever be happy with how they look after they’re told quite clearly that certain features they possess need changing?  And she wanted to know who came up with the idea of make-up or hair dye.  And who decided that bigger eyes or longer necks were prettier?

And you could see the gears turning and turning and turning.  I just hope they stop somewhere that allows her to laugh at the ridiculousness of others and love herself intensely.

* She has, it turns out, according to the article.  Though nothing invasive… yet.


1 Eric Schwartzman { 03.10.14 at 8:41 am }

My daughter also noticed the coverage of Brinkley at 60. While she does look amazing if you look at many of the pics you will see many lines and crows feet around her eyes showing some signs of her aging. If she had any work done otherwise I can’t say but clearly she has not erased all signs of her maturity.

2 Kasey { 03.10.14 at 9:17 am }

Ohh sweet Chickienob. I love these videos. They are just a wonderful reminder to not compare ourselves to -not only anyone in print- but anyone else for that matter. Everyone holds beauty.

3 Brid { 03.10.14 at 10:39 am }

Sober lesson for IWD…

4 Working mom of two { 03.10.14 at 12:49 pm }

Yeah, that cover and article really made me feel like sh$t about my 45 yo body….

5 Hope { 03.10.14 at 1:36 pm }

Such good questions. I wish all those things for your daughter, too, and for all our daughters!

I’ve been trying to track down an ad I saw recently (but now, of course, I can’t). It showed a group of women in swimsuits back in the age before freakish Photoshopping, maybe in the early 1990s. Although the women were top models, they looked like real people, not illustrations. Their bodies were human-shaped. Their skin had pores.

I lived through the 90s (not that long ago!), so it was shocking how “vintage” the ad looked to me now — not because of dated clothes or hair, but purely because of the above.

6 Lori Lavender Luz { 03.10.14 at 6:27 pm }

This one, especially: “can they ever be happy with how they look after they’re told quite clearly that certain features they possess need changing?”

Sharp one, that ChickieNob.

7 Mali { 03.10.14 at 9:17 pm }

Sigh. This makes me so sad. What a week!

8 Tiara { 03.11.14 at 3:41 pm }

Oh! So many thoughts on this. ChickieNob’s question, “And who decided that bigger eyes or longer necks were prettier?” I want to know the answer to this too. I also think it’s an important lesson for young men to learn because if they desire to meet a mate that looks like these Photoshopped women, how disappointed they will be.

9 Katie { 03.12.14 at 5:14 pm }

Interesting studies on that one, Tiara. They showed hundreds of people different photo-shopped faces in most agreed that “attractive” is actually a uniform construct consisting of symmetrical features with bigger lips and eyes for women. As for the second issue, other studies have shown the men who looked at a lot of “pretty” women and saw other “sexy materials” were much less satisfied with their own spouse and sexual encounters immediately afterwords. I think the big question isn’t how bad it all is, but what we can do to stop it from continuing to progress this way.

10 Aerotropolitan Comitissa { 03.14.14 at 6:17 am }

And the thing is it’s not exactly that men are “allowed to be human”. It’s that we value different things in men vs women. In women, we value innocence and purity (all childishly wide eyes and unblemished everything). In men we still value wisdom and experience (as shown in the carefully-photoshopped laugh lines and sexy facial scars).

Perhaps we need to value women a bit more for their wisdom and experience, and men a bit more for their innocence and vulnerability.

11 Amber { 03.22.14 at 12:54 pm }

Such a great topic to discuss with your daughter, and she is so insightful herself. For some reason, I am unable to view the videos, but I’m thinking I may have seen them before possibly.

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