What defines your Self-worth?

Self worth

We live in an increasingly fake world and I feel like it’s getting out of control.

Photoshop – one of the tools contributing to our ever-more counterfeit society.

Staring longingly at the latest cover of Vogue, she reminds herself why she’s putting her finger down her throat.

What if this was your daughter?

Kids, teenagers and adults are continuously bombarded by this ‘fake’ world. And this isn’t confined to females. Publications targeted at men do it too.  Should companies not be held accountable for misrepresentation? Surely if the models themselves don’t actually look the way they’re being portrayed, that’s false advertising?

I for one feel strongly that it has to stop.

Some positive steps

Thankfully some countries, such as Israel and France, have started seeing some sense by introducing measures to prevent models from being underweight. This is a step in the right direction.

Nevertheless, I think we as consumers from a grassroots level need to start holding companies morally accountable for their behaviour.

If you alter in any way, shape or form the way a person’s body or face looks – that’s fraud. Why even use a human model then? Why not simply electronically create the perfect model out of thin terabytes?

I get it – sex sells magazines, articles and products. But at what cost? Forget about teenage eating disorders and suicides; what about the number of adults suffering from depression because they feel they fall hopelessly short of the prescribed ‘look’?

Models have unsustainable routines before photo shoots: regular steam room visits to shed excess water weight; crazy ‘diets’ and pre-photo shoot pump sessions – which all gets airbrushed anyway. All to create a look that no one can sustain.

Even body builders gorge on food laced with oil, sugar and calories post competition – why? Because our bodies are not designed to run on 7% body fat.

Why then, are we relentlessly trying to sell the image that is unattainable? Funnily enough, just as I typed that the answer came to me. It gives companies the perfect combination:

That which is both desirable and unattainable.

Which is – Big. Business. $56.2 billion in the US alone.

fake-photoshopped-social-media-images-6Problem is this is starting to spill over into everyday life. This picture (left) is one of many on this link on how ordinary photos have been retouched to get a sense of why you shouldn’t compare yourself to anything on social media too.

I remember joining a dating website seven years ago and giving it a bash to see if it would work. I had my reservations BUT I truly believe you can’t have an opinion about something until you’ve tried it.

On one meet up I arrived early having finished errands quicker than expected. I glanced around the mostly empty restaurant and surmised that I’d definitely arrived first.

I was wrong.

Looking at the menu I suddenly realised there was an arm waving at me from across the room. It was the woman I was meeting from the dating website. I apologise in advance, as I’m going to be brutal here – but I do believe that one shouldn’t do the crime if you can’t do the time.

She looked like the woman who ate the woman I was supposed to meet.

I have a simple question: why lie?

By posting false pictures of herself she did more damage than owning who she was. One of the sexiest attributes I look for in a woman is confidence.

Truthfully, the website didn’t work for me because I prefer to be intrigued by someone enough to challenge myself to make an introduction and go from there – ask questions about them and who they are; learn about their essence rather than be told we’re a 92% match based on our profiles.

It’s easy to hold my gaze; it’s harder to hold my attention and I live by ‘how you look might attract me; but who you are is what will keep me’.

Can you really blame these women though (and guys for that matter) when so much emphasis is constantly placed on looks?

Where do we go from here?

We all have our own choices to make and when I get chubby around the edges it’s through no one else’s fault but my own. So it’s in my hands to change that. How I look is derived by what makes me comfortable. When I was 18, having a great body was the only way I thought a woman would be interested in me.

How grateful I am I realised what a lie that was.

I’ve never bought a Men’s magazine since.

What can you do for yourself and your children in a society still obsessed with looks and body image? Great question.

  1. Build your self-worth based on who you are inside – not what you look like on the outside.
  2. Avoid beauty magazines at all cost. There are far better places to read articles – trust me.
  3. Be comfortable in your own skin; if you aren’t, think about what (healthy) steps you might be able to take to get there.
  4. Ask yourself: Is there any real benefit to looking different? Is looking different moving in a healthier direction? What type of person are you trying to attract by changing? (If that’s a motive) Does looking a certain way impact on who you’re trying to be as a person?
  5. IF I look a certain way, is my confidence changed to such a degree that I will act in the way I wish I would now? Second to that is ‘can I act that way now simply because I make a decision to do so?’
  6. The overriding question I believe you should ALWAYS ask is: Is this making me a better person? And am I adding more value to those around me (okay that’s two questions, sue me).

Instead of waiting for companies to exercise better ethics – let our own life choices dictate how we’re fulfilled and not allow our self-worth to be shattered at the end of a Photoshopper’s death brush.

 


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