Letting Go of Ideal

February 18, 2014

Have you seen the recent BuzzFeed video, “Photoshopping Real Women Into Cover Models,” yet? I’m a sucker for anything that’s part of redefining our culture’s definition of beauty, so of course I wanted to post it here and share it with you.

In summary: three women had the opportunity to participate in a magazine cover photo shoot. They had their hair and makeup done, their clothes were chosen by stylists, their photos were directed by an amazing photographer, and, yes, their photos were photoshopped. When the women were shown the outcome of the photos, surprisingly, they were all disappointed, as their photos were almost unrecognizable. Without their freckles, curves, natural skin tone, and “imperfections,” they felt like they had been robbed of their identity.

I’d never really thought of it that way, but I think that’s pretty profound. What we look like is part of our identity. Sure, our body shape changes a bit over time with all that life brings us—college, adulthood, marathons, pregnancies, etc—but we generally have the same look about us. I love the way this video highlights the reality that this ideal image we all have of ourselves in our head just doesn’t exist—and it never will.

Rather than waste our time dreaming of looking different, we’d be better off delighting in our own unique beauty. Imagine how much happier we’d all be (and how much more time we’d have on our hands). A friend of mine has a mantra she reminds herself of regularly: made in His image. I love that. As someone who believes that we are all created by God, in His very own image, I think I’ll adopt that as one of my own personal mantras, reminding myself that the way I look is God-given, intentional, and beautiful—no matter what magazine covers tell me.

Do you ever get stuck on an ideal image of yourself?(Confession: I do!)

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  • Reply Katie February 18, 2014 at 8:14 pm

    Great video! Have you seen this one from dove? It’s great. You should check it out!

  • Reply Gina February 24, 2014 at 6:49 am

    This is such a great video… every woman should watch it (I think). I love that you share this type of message so consistently. You are doing something wonderful with your skills, Natalie and I admire you for it!
    XO, Gina

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