Friday, February 10

Racing pretty

Each semester in the course I teach, I cover a segment on gender roles. We review the ways in which women's images are photoshopped beyond all reasonableness to make them appear flawless.
Not a pore or blemish to be found!
Beyonce's skin color varies depending on which magazine she's in:
A few of Beyonce's most famous photoshopped images.
Katie Couric drops two dress sizes with the click of a mouse.
Such an amazing weight loss seems almost impossible!
Oh wait. It is impossible. (Image source)
And the most famous Kardashian is touched up to remove all traces of cellulite.

To put the blame where it belongs, I should be clear that these photo edits are often made without the model's knowledge. (PS - Bravo to Kim. When the media started a feeding frenzy over the un-edited photo, Ms. Kardashian replied with: "So what: I have a little cellulite. What curvy girl doesn’t!?")

There are so many examples of photo-editing gone awry that has a whole "photoshop of horrors" documenting the most egregious cases. Models' waists are trimmed to the point that - if they were real - they'd snap in half in a strong wind storm. Legs are slimmed so that they are thinner than arms (or in some cases, removed completely). Wrinkles vanish. Blemishes are zapped.

And it's not just women. On men, muscles are added. Skin tone is enhanced... Even Brad Pitt is not immune:
Pitt's legs are narrower than his neck in this denim ad!
All of these practices set up an unrealistic ideal that people are supposed to be impossibly thin, tanned (but not too tan), and freckle-free. Certainly we can't be seen with a splotchy red face or sweat-matted hair.

The media is full of these impossible images, so I am never at a loss for fresh content for class.

And just as I was putting together material for this semester, I read The Boring Runner's blog post on his favorite glamour-shot race photos.

So I decided to post one of my most realistic race photos.
Just to set the record straight. This is NOT what I look like after a run:
Source: via Laurie on Pinterest

This IS what I look like at mile 12 of a half marathon:

Not a glamorous photo, to be sure.
In fact, my comment to Hubby was "no way THAT one is going on the blog!"

But it makes me smile. Because I know how hard I worked to get there.
And now that photo is also my electronic middle finger to the photo-editors of the world who think people are "prettier" when they're fake.

Have you seen photoshop horrors?
Do you have any others to share?
Are you proud or embarrassed of your "worst" race photos?


  1. Bravo for putting that pic up! You look like you are working your butt off and that's what it's all about! I find that far more attractive than the skinny, photo-shopped peeps on magazines. Strong rules!

  2. Haha love the pic of you racing with that caption. I always say taking a good race photo is like trying to take a good driver's license picture. They all end up looking like mug shots.

    I think the whole photoshopping thing in magazines is fascinating, mostly because I don't understand how some of those get through all of the editors without someone going "you know what, she's missing an arm now, and that doesn't look realistic at all!"

  3. thanks for the brave post, I haven't raced yet so don't have any disastrous photos, I really wish the media wouldn't photoshop everything as it leads to so many people have disotorted views on how women should look and contributes to a lot of bnegative body image that many people exhibit

  4. Bravo! Love this - it's crazy how liberally photoshop is used these days. Leads to such a distorted view of how people should actually look!

    When I look at your pic I see someone working her ass off, which I think is awesome and beautiful...

  5. Wonderful post! Nothing wrong with wanting to look your best in a photo, but the amount of editing is truly ridiculous! I'm always surprised at the amount of photo editing on blogs as well - I truly didn't realize people were doing this.

  6. Vanessa has a good point -- I do want to look my best in photos. (In fact, I make Hubby delete most of the truly awful ones.) But I think photoshopping in the media world has gotten totally out of control.

    As for editing blog photos, I can't say I've never changed a color photo to black-and-white or taken an under-exposed photo and brightened it using a photo editor.

    In fact, I regularly edit to obscure race bib numbers and other personal identifying information. But otherwise, what you see is what you get.

  7. I believe you forgot to give source credit to the photographer of the race photo that makes this blog post...


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