Monday, May 25, 2009

Au Naturale

Whilst looking for some nice pics of Jasmine Harman for my previous post (a very pleasant way to spend ten minutes) I came across this on-line "news" item – forgive the inverted commas but it is the News Of The World Magazine after all.

It seems Jasmine was given the opportunity to have a Photoshop makeover.

She gave a body beautiful wish-list to some computer graphics geek and - hey presto - he airbrushed and pixel-tweaked a picture of Jasmine to her own vision of perfection. The result can be seen above.

What is interesting about this "experiment" (‘cos it’s not just an excuse to publish a picture of a pretty woman in a bikini, no sirree, absolutely not) is that Jasmine didn’t like the results. She didn't like the perfect version of herself at all but preferred herself as she really is.

How refreshing, because I have to say that so do I. And for the same reasons that Jasmine cites. The perfect version looks unreal. Unnatural.

Now maybe this is just because the graphic artist was piss-poor at his job and his eye for (so called) perfection was as canted as most teenagers who only get to see a woman’s naked body when it has a couple of staples running through the navel or when it’s badly pixellated on porntube.

Or maybe some of us more enlightened folk just prefer the real deal?

There is after all something adolescent and immature about what constitutes (in men’s eyes at least) the “perfect” female body. Pneumatic breasts with nipples that forever point upwards no matter where gravity is pulling them. Washboard stomach as taut as a drum-skin. Thighs as smooth as fleshly applied plaster (by a professional obviously).

Women with those attributes only exist in top shelf magazines and the fashion glossies.

Literally. We all know they’ve been as airbrushed as Jasmine’s picture above (just more insidiously).

They don’t actually exist in the real world.

Such injudicious tweaking gives people – men and women – false expectations of themselves and each other. Well, this is hardly news.

But sadly we now live in a world where even the most outlandish expectation can be met if you have enough wonga to pay for it.

Which got me thinking. How many people who have plastic surgery to marry themselves up to some flawed idea of perfection end up secretly hating the result once the surgery and the healing process is over? Or wishing they could revert back to how they were before?

It’s a very expensive mistake to make. I bet Jasmine is pleased she merely went under a virtual knife than a real one.

As am I. I moved away from the airbrushed woman (homo-airbrushus) in my late teens early twenties. A real woman is always far more attractive and far sexier in my opinion – and yes that includes cellulite and boob-droop and a wobbly belly.

I just hope that all the women that sigh over chesty pin-ups like Daniel Craig and George Clooney secretly feel the same way about us men. Because believe you me, none of us are physically perfect either.

The airbrush doesn’t give a damn about gender… it just wants to sell a little more copy.


The Poet Laura-eate said...

I saw the most inspiring and believe it or not 'foxy' 80 year old lecturing on natural beauty at the Mind, Body & Spirit Festival on Saturday. Ok so I was dragged there by my mother but Eva Fraser (who pioneered facial workouts) was a sensation.

She may not look 20 any more, but if I look half that good when I'm 80, I shall be delighted!

Her message was not that women can stay beautiful, but that they can still look 'pretty alright' whatever their age, and minus surgery.

She spoke like Joanna Lumley's sister and was the epitome of class and elegance.

Steve said...

Good for her - an inspiration to everyone I'm sure, not just women. Us men could learn a thing or two. Anyone who speaks even remotely like Joanna Lumley has a headstart in life in my opnion... ;-)

The Joined up Cook said...

We all try to present ourselves at our best, whether it be posing nicely for a photo, putting on our best clobber for a night out or writing some pithy comment for our blogs.

Power allows people to take to take it to extremes with censorship and the rest. Stalin 'airbrushed' his photos of people after he had them shot or exiled.

It's not just photos. It's any information that is available to the public.

Now technology allows everyone, to an extent, to do what the powerful have always been able to do.

Airbrush the truth out of their lives.

Look at blogs. You touched on 'blogging honesty' in your last post. How much do we reveal and how much do we 'airbrush' out of what we present for public consumption?

Steve said...

AWB: a very thought provoking response as always and one that may warrant a blog post of its own. And you're right of course: we're all guilty of wielding an airbrush from time to time... the airbrush of convenience, the airbrush of ease, the airbrush of cowardice...

The Sagittarian said...

No point gloating that I always add about 15 years to my age just to get the "gee, you don;'t look that old!" response. I am standing here shallow and ashamed.

Anonymous said...

What a great post!

I'm a regular girl married to a regular guy...and we both much prefer the non-airbrushed look.


And you're a cutie Wonderful Steve!

Tristan said...

Just goes to show that we still live in a misogynist society, sadly. Every time I see a teenage boy looking at these kind of images in magazines like FHM or Nuts, I see another generation of men who objectify women.

MommyHeadache said...

Look you know I think you are wonderful but let's call a stretch mark a stretch mark - sexuality is simply something we are born with. Some people are sexually attracted to shoes and some to red hair, yes, some are even attracted to dwarfs, people without limbs etc. That is the same as you - I don't think it is enlightened of you to fancy this Jasmine woman unairbrushed you simply fancy the roly poly type of woman. For example you probably would not find a woman as thin as Kate Moss attractive but that is just the way you are programmed! You see what I mean?

Steve said...

Amanda, I'm sure you don't look as old as you really are... you just need to be confident. And as for shallowness... well, too much depth is down right boring!

Thank you, Mrs Cheeks - I'm as regular as they come and it's taken me a good few years to be happy with that. But I made it in the end!

Tris: true but sadly it's almost a rite of passage... buying (or more often sneaking a peak at) your first top shelf gentleman's magazine. Some do come through it enlightened but most I'm sure stay forever Neanderthal. Makes you wonder what type of woman would settle for a man like that?

Emma: I do see what you mean but much as I think you are wonderful too you are wrong. ;-) I like women of all types and have fancied women of all types in my time (I just didn't get anywhere with most of them) - big, slim, tall, short, brunette, blonde and red head. I refuse to be tied down on what I consider to be attractive. I think a confident personality is the key to making my jingly bits jangle.

The Joined up Cook said...


Emma and Steve, I think, have highlighted the issue.


I find it difficult to get into a hot sweat over mere appearance, contrary to what most women think men are like.

I wonder if Steve is trying to say the same thing.

It's the personality behind the flesh that matters; or maybe the pheromones.

Yes, the intial impact of 'the body' can matter but not always and after that initial impact it's relatively unimportant.

When I was young I thought I was 'hard-wired' to find petite dark haired women attractive. They were my fantasy.

I fell in love with a redhead and am still married to her and, yes, still love her.

I think Steve is enlightened in the sense that he can see beyond the hardwiring.

Not everyone can.

Steve said...

AWB: pheremones and smell have a lot to do with it, as does the way someone moves - their idiosyncrasies - and the way they talk. And what they talk about, of course. The way they think and react. All the things that can't be captured by a camera in a glamour-shot or by the naked eye alone. Instead they must be experienced on a personal level. It's that indefinable "something" that attracts you to a mate - not their hair colour or their bone structure or skin quality...!

French Fancy... said...

I've only popped in quickly to wish you all the best for Saturday. Getting your degree whilst working and having a family must have been enormously difficult sometimes and you have done so very well.

I'm going to contact you on Facebook if that is ok (I won't do it just yet - I'll give you a chance to scream No and run for cover)

French Fancy... said...

s'ok - I'd better say I won't pursue the FB. Mr FF and I had a 'dialogue' about not merging our blogging and FB's identities and I've got to go with it really.

Steve said...

FF: well if you ever change your mind I'd be happy to see you on Facebook - though I don't tend to use it very often. If you do change your mind there should be a link to my Facebook page at the top left of my main blog page! ;-)

Brother Tobias said...

I agree with you entirely. Although I found my ability to freeview stereo aerial photographs hadn't deserted me (it's like riding a bicycle), and the third Jasmine Harman that materialised in the middle was all the better for being in 3D.

Steve said...

Brother T, I'm not quite sure what alien technology you are referring too but anything that presents Jasmine Harman in 3D is fine by me.

MommyHeadache said...

All right I stand corrected - but I still don't think you're enlightened - if you really think beauty is only skin deep you would have dated a fair amount of um, plain or ugly women and I bet you haven't??

MommyHeadache said...

As for myself I do like a good looking guy and absolutely cannot stand any more than maybe five/ten pounds of excess weight on a man - call me superficial if you will - I DO. That said my husband is fairly ordinary looking. What I will say is that looks are definitely fifty per cent of attraction, the other half is brains/personality. But please, no fat!

Steve said...

Emma: I'm not sure other people would necessarily have said all the women I've dated were classically beautiful... I certainly didn't consider them plain or ugly otherwise I wouldn't have dated them. And you're probably right - I'm not really that enlightened but I would like to think I'm more mature in my tastes and expectations than an 18 year old say or even a 25 year old. I guess we all have our key attractions and foibles and some of us even have types that we go for... and physical attraction has certainly got to be a contributing factor not just personality and brains. But it has to be altogether for it to work for me - the physical side alone is not enough. Maybe that's something that we learn with age and experience? Younger people seem more able to sacrifice the personality for looks but not the other way around. Who knows? It's certainly an interesting debate and I'm enjoying the cut and thrust of other people's arguments - and three comments from your-wonderful-self on one of my posts is something I shall treasure! ;-) I shall keep myself lean in your honour (though the cynical might say that's purely down to my metabolism).

Owen said...

Dearest Steve,
As always you get right into the heart, or should I say, the cleavage, of the important issues of our day.

It appears that the key and serious comments have been made already, so perhaps with tongue on cheek, errr, tongue in cheek, or rather, eye on cheeks, I might just add, airbrush or no airbrush, I think the bottom line (no panty-line pun intended), is that you just wanted to let us know that this is what you were secretly wishing your two Mormon visitors the other night had looked like... and that you would have answered the doorbell with pleasure in that case ???

No, seriously, I have trouble understanding why some people won't accept their natural appearance, whatever their age, and feel they need to modify it, sometimes to terrifying extremes, either on a computer screen image, or in reality. I just learned yesterday, to my horror, while reading in David Foster Wallace's book "Consider the Lobster", that there are adjustable breast implants available, to which fluid can be added or removed via valves under the arms, to enlarge or reduce the size at will... I find that utterly (not udderly) astonishing, in a pathetic sense. And I can't imagine how anyone would find that attractive... but someone must, or there wouldn't be a market for them...

What a strange world we live in.

I will let you go back to your airbrushing, having rambled on here...

(and I apologize in advance if I have offended anybody who may have gone for the inflatable implant option, that sort of thing is just not personally my cup of tea, but I respect your freedom to choose what you consider best for your chest)

Steve said...

Owen, I am aghast but not surprised that someone has come up with adjustable inflatable breasts... the ultimate in convenience surgery I guess. No doubt adjustable cocks are only round the corner with a dial that is attached to the man's buttocks so that a female partner may twiddle away to her heart's content until the right spot is hit... In fact I may have to patent that idea myself and make myself a buck or too of "hard" cash. What a sad world we live in where even the sanctity of the human body can be tweaked and modified at whim as if respraying a car...

The Joined up Cook said...

Inflatable breasts. Wow. Can you imagine a leaky valve.

Or when you are filling them up the pump conks out just after you've enlarged the left breast.

Going back to Emma's point. If I was single and had a choice of dating, say, Anne Widdecombe or Jordan aka Katie Price, I'd pick the former. I've said that elsewhere.

In my time I've tended to find that some 'beautiful' people lean towards using it as a substitute for character; or even hide their real personality behind their physical appeal.

I think the younger you are the more you rely on appearance because you have fewer benchmarks to go on re character; the less able you to judge the person under that kin.

It certainly has applied to me.

Moobs said...

You know you are a geek when the thing you are attracted to is the excellent quality of the photoshopping

Steve said...

AWB: "I think the younger you are the more you rely on appearance because you have fewer benchmarks to go on re character" - that's it right there in a nutshell, I reckon!

Moobs: you know you're a real geek when you can recognize the size of the airbrush tool they used just by looking...

Anonymous said...

I have no problem with anyone being overweight but I have to say that I do not find even a small amount of flab sexually attractive at all.

I often ask myself whether, if I started chatting to someone online and kind of got to the point where I was falling in love with them as a person without meeting them, whether I would recoil in horror if it transpired they were overweight. I hope not. Because that would make me horribly shallow, wouldn't it? But I do find it offputting - and that's a gut (!!!) reaction, not something I can deal with logically - it just makes me go "yuck" (in my head - I hasten to say!).

Actually "yuck" is what I tend to say when I catch sight of my own gut these days!! Age is not kind!

Steve said...

Gina: we all have our tastes and preferences but you strike me as someone who recognizes the importance of personality and emotional bonding over and above the physical appearance of a person.

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Steve said...

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