Impossibly Beautiful

Dear Straight Dudez:

Next time you have an urge to throw up your hands and say, "All women are crazy!" because your partner is fretting needlessly (in your estimation) about the way she looks, I would like you to remember this actual headline from the Telegraph: Now fashion mags make models 'fatter'.

For reals, Straight Dudez.

If you suspect your female partner is mad, well, she just might be—only it's not something intrinsic to womanhood, I can assure you. It's the constantly moving goalposts of Impossible Beauty, and that shit is some serious crazymaking, unless and until you learn to ignore it—which is not easy.


P.S. Keep reading…


First things first. Let's take a look at a sample image that illustrates what we're dealing with here:

Okay, so, this is what you need to shoot for, girls: Hollowed-out cheeks (but not too hollow!), thin limbs (but not too thin!), hip bones showing (but not too much!), a flat stomach (but not too flat!)…are we clear yet?

The Telegraph article says that this new trend is "a response to critics who blame images of so-called 'size zero' models for the rise in eating disorders in young girls," but I think Ann gets it right here:
At its core, I don't believe this type of Photoshopping is about deflecting criticism that models and celebrities are dangerously thin. I think this is about perpetuating an even more unrealistic beauty standard than unattainable thinness (something I never thought possible): the message is that you should be super, super skinny, borderline skeletal, but without any of the things that come with the territory, like jutting hipbones or small boobs. So even the skinniest celebrities STILL require Photoshopping to meet this standard. You can be less than a size zero and still lose this game. And that's pretty frightening.

And if that doesn't illustrate it's a game none of us should even bother playing, I don't know what will.

[Impossibly Beautiful: Parts One, Two, Three, Four, Five, Six, Seven, Eight, Nine, Ten, Eleven, Twelve, Thirteen, Fourteen.]

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