Real Images of Beauty

Yesterday was day two of the Keep It Real Challenge in which bloggers were asked to post on why it is important to see real images of beauty in magazines. In true Angela fashion, I didn’t find the time to blog in the midst of working out, helping my husband make a hillbilly air conditioner (don’t ask!), and soaking up some sun in a lazy river. However, like I said before, I think that this challenge is amazing, and I think it’s vital that we start seeing real images of beauty in magazines!

During high school I had a subscription to Fitness Magazine. I remember my mom always asking me why I had these magazines when almost each one of them highlighted how to lose ten pounds fast or how to tone up your problem areas. She always, always told me that I was beautiful just the way I was and that I didn’t need to change anything about myself, but for some crazy reason I believed the magazines over her.

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However, whenever she’d ask me those questions I would respond, “These magazines are meant to make you healthier! See, right here, it says what foods are good for you to eat…and right here, it tells you how to maintain a positive attitude!” Looking back, I do feel confident that these magazines had some good messages and good literature, however, next to a relevant column stating how to feel your best there is a photo of a gorgeous woman…fit, slender, tall, and tan. Then I would become more entwined in how I could make myself more like her, and I didn’t pay attention to the information the article.

That model was very beautiful, I’m sure, but she was not real…as are the models in all the photos today. They are photoshopped, what they portray is unattainable, and I wanted to be like them.

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Key word…wanted (past tense).

Now, after years of turmoil turned to growth, I do believe that real is beautiful. But I don’t want another person to put themselves down after having looked at a magazine that is supposed to promote mind, body, and spirit. I don’t want another person to see a photoshopped model and want to look like that. I don’t want another girl to leaf through a magazine and feel depressed, guilty, and shameful.

If magazines would start putting photos of real models, real people, real girls in their magazines, then what message would that put out? That it’s okay to be yourself. That you don’t need to change yourself, you just need to be your best self.

And most importantly, that real is beautiful. (And YOU are beautiful! –had to slip in a little Friday Affirmation!)

When that day comes…that’s when I’ll renew my subscription!

ang

P.S. On this last day of the Keep It Real Challenge, we are asked to share photos of real beauty through instagram. DO IT! (And use hashtag #KeepItRealChallenge)

Fact: I Heart the Keep It Real Challenge

As I was browsing through Facebook status after Facebook status this morning, I stumbled across an interesting looking article posted by the National Eating Disorders Association. The status said, “Stand up to magazines that publish digitally altered photos!” Now, I could go on and on about how I feel disappointed every time I see a magazine promoting how to lose ten pounds in one week, or how sad I feel when some already slender celebrity lost five more pounds for her wedding, or how it disheartening it is to realize most faces and bodies printed in these magazines are, indeed, not real. So, out of curiosity and hopefulness I clicked on the article to see what this was all about.

What I found was nothing short of shocking…

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I read fact after fact, and each time my heart sank just a little bit more. Girls are so affected by the standards that the media sets regarding the way we should look…so much so, that, it seems as if hating and bashing your own body is the norm.

And my heart took a dive deeper into my stomach as I read the line in the article that said, “Eating disorders are the leading cause of death for girls ages 15-24 (National Eating Disorder Organization 2012).” Leading. Cause. Of. Death. These are children, young girls, that are so affected by the unrealistic definition of beautiful, that they will do anything to try to attain it.

As important as it is to teach the world the real impact the media has on poor body image and eating disorders, it’s just as important now to do something to make a change. And that’s exactly what the Keep It Real Challenge is all about.

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One of my favorite quotes from the article is, “Instead of young girls pushing themselves to fit into a swimsuit, this social media campaign will inspire them to challenge the media creators who propagate unrealistic images of young girls and women, and encourage them to enjoy their summer in other more positive ways.”

Inspire.

Challenge.

Encourage.

What if the media set a new standard. Not one that only idolizes women who are touched up with an airbrush, but one that says beautiful is you just the way you are. Dark circles, laugh lines, wrinkles, freckles, curves and all…beauty is what is real.

What’s stopping you? Let’s do this. Check out the Keep It Real Challenge for yourself, share it with your friends and families, share it on Facebook, twitter, and instagram, and participate! Today, right now, 78% of 17 year olds are unhappy with their body, and I’d almost bet that number increases with age. We can totally turn that number around if we all try to make a change. Real is beautiful. Believe it and represent it!

Let’s keep it real!

ang